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Dogs charity warns potential buyers of flat-faced breeds about health problems as 17 animals seized from puppy farm

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A French bulldog with her litter were among 17 dogs seized from an illegal puppy farm. Photo: Fran Veale

A French bulldog with her litter were among 17 dogs seized from an illegal puppy farm. Photo: Fran Veale

A French bulldog with her litter were among 17 dogs seized from an illegal puppy farm. Photo: Fran Veale

Dogs Trust Ireland has issued a stark warning about the risks associated with buying flat-faced breeds.

It comes after the recent seizure by a local authority of 17 dogs from an illegal puppy farm.

French bulldogs, pugs and Cavalier King Charles spaniels are among the brachycephalic breeds
that have become increasingly popular in recent years.

The charity said French bulldogs were especially susceptible to multiple health conditions, especially severe breathing difficulties, due to the way they had been bred to produce a relatively broad or short skull.

Dogs Trust was asked to help by taking in the seized animals from the illegal puppy farm.

A vet who examined them decided one needed surgery to widen its nostrils so it could breathe more comfortably.

“Another one of the dogs, called Prudy, had been excessively bred from. Scar tissue provided evidence that she had undergone caesarean sections – another risk associated with breeding French bulldogs,” the charity said.

Niamh Curran-Kelly, Dogs Trust Ireland’s veterinary and welfare manager, said that due to their large heads and broad chests it can be common for these puppies “not to fit through the birth canal and the mum has to undergo a C-section to deliver them”.

She added: “In addition to that, these breeds are often afflicted with a condition called Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome, or BOAS as it’s more commonly known.

“To put this in context, it can be akin to hiking up a mountain while trying to breathe through a straw.”

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Ms Curran-Kelly urged people who might want to buy this breed of dog to consult a vet first.

“Brachycephalic breeds can endure all sorts of medical issues over the course of their life, resulting in a poorer quality of life for the dog and high veterinary bills for their owner,” she said.

“We understand that people buying these breeds may be totally unaware of their potential suffering, so we are pleading with anybody considering a flat-faced dog to please speak to their local vet first.”

As well as reconstructive surgery on one dog’s nostrils, the charity also had to cover the cost for neutering 12 of the 17 that were seized.

The dogs also needed to be wormed, vaccinated and microchipped, as well as being fed and cared for while the charity found them homes.

All 17 have since been adopted.


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