Pugs, bulldogs and Pekingese will be among those to benefit from a specialist clinic for brachycephalic dog breeds, being opened by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) at its Queen Mother Hospital in Hertfordshire.
The Brachycephaly Clinic will open on July 1, 2014, and is the first of its kind in the country exclusively specialising in the health of short-nosed dog breeds. These breeds include some of the most popular pet choices in the UK, but the breeding of brachycephalic dogs – famous for their short muzzles – has led to a variety of health issues for the animals.
Brachycephalic dogs have a compressed skull in the front and in the back, which results in the soft tissues being crammed within and around the skull. This means the animals are at especially high risk of developing respiratory problems such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS).
Other health issues can include heart problems, skin infections, ear and hearing issues, and complications with the animal’s bones and gait.
If a dog was brought to a standard veterinary clinic, it may have to see several different specialists at different times. The aim of the RVC’s new multidisciplinary clinic is to bring a “transdisciplinary” approach to caring for brachycephalic dogs – bringing all clinical services together ensuring the animals get the best holistic and individualised patient care.
Clinic lead Dr Gert Ter Haar, RVC’s senior lecturer in soft tissue surgery, said: “Veterinary medicine has been following in the footsteps of human medicine for many years. But as doctors specialise they can lose sight of the big picture, only focusing on their own area of expertise.
“This can lead to a patient being passed from specialist to specialist with the root symptoms never really being found, or with inefficient use of time and money and the need for repetitive anaesthetic procedures. This can also happen in animal care, especially with animals with a complex set of symptoms, like those often associated with short-muzzled breeds.
“Therefore at RVC we have found the most effective way to treat an animal is our transdisciplinary approach. This means at our clinic we will have all the specialities under one roof so the patient and their owner can be rest assured they are receiving the best possible bespoke care, all during the same visit.”