Friday 30 September 2016

Flat-faced cat breeds 'more likely to have breathing difficulties'

Published 09/09/2016 | 12:46

Flat-faced cat breeds such as Persian can be more likely to have breathing difficulties, according to research
Flat-faced cat breeds such as Persian can be more likely to have breathing difficulties, according to research

Pedigree cats bred to have flat faces are more likely to suffer from breathing difficulties, according to a study.

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The research led by the University of Edinburgh found flat-faced cat breeds were more likely to have breathing problems after exercise and while asleep.

Researchers say owners of breeds with flat faces - such as the Persian and Exotic - should be aware of the risks and seek veterinary care if they suspect their pet is in difficulty.

The study - published in the journal PLOS One - saw hundreds of owners submitting photographs of their cats so researchers could measure the faces of the animals.

Owners were asked to complete a detailed health survey about their pets, including questions about lifestyle and breathing patterns.

Impaired breathing is a hallmark condition called brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which can lead to health problems throughout an animal's life.

The difficulties are well-reported in dogs but breathing problems in flat-faced cats have not been fully investigated.

Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore, of the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: "This study demonstrates the need to further understand the genetic basis of brachycephalia in cats.

"Owners worried about their cat's breathing should consult a vet immediately."

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