SLU news

Three million for research to help flat-faced dogs and cats

Published: 23 April 2024
A short nosed dog at the vet

Flat-faced dogs and cats often suffer from health conditions caused by their flat head shape, negatively affecting their quality of life. Now, the Swedish Animal Welfare Association is contributing an additional three million to important research on how issues can be prevented, as well as how to best diagnose and treat affected animals.

Flat-faced dogs such as French and English Bulldogs, as well as Pugs, can suffer from respiratory problems leading to difficulty breathing, lack of energy, temperature regulation issues, and sleep disturbances. Cats like Persians and Exotics have problems with narrow nostrils, tight tear ducts, eyelid issues, and hydrocephalus. Health problems are typically categorized as Brachycephalic-related conditions in dogs and cats and are abbreviated as BOAS.

The Swedish Animal Welfare Association Svenska Djurskyddsföreningen, which previously supported two years of salary funding for Maria Dimopoulous's ongoing doctoral project in BOAS research, is now providing an additional three million to strengthen and expand the research for better animal health. Also involved in the project are Ingrid Ljungvall, Åke Hedhammar, Göran Andersson, and Jane Ladlow.

"BOAS is an animal welfare problem that causes significant suffering and has a major impact on the health and welfare of animals. It is important for us and our members to contribute to research that maps out the condition and also demonstrates how it can be prevented," says Lillemor Wodmar, chairperson of Svenska Djurskyddsföreningen.

Eva Skiöldebrand, professor at SLU, is very grateful for the generous support from the Swedish Animal Welfare Association:

"The donation enables Maria Dimopoulou, a doctoral student at the Department of Clinical Sciences, together with the rest of the BOAS research group, to take a thorough approach to this research question, which is very extensive and so important for the future welfare of short-nosed dog breeds."

The goal of the research is not only better preventative work to reduce the occurrence of the disease but also better treatment of affected cats and dogs. With the support, the researchers aim to increase knowledge exchange and dissemination of information about brachycephalic-related health problems.