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Concept: Bulldog

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This study examines genetic diversity among 102 registered English Bulldogs used for breeding based on maternal and paternal haplotypes, allele frequencies in 33 highly polymorphic short tandem repeat (STR) loci on 25 chromosomes, STR-linked dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) class I and II haplotypes, and the number and size of genome-wide runs of homozygosity (ROH) determined from high density SNP arrays. The objective was to assess whether the breed retains enough genetic diversity to correct the genotypic and phenotypic abnormalities associated with poor health, to allow for the elimination of deleterious recessive mutations, or to make further phenotypic changes in body structure or coat. An additional 37 English bulldogs presented to the UC Davis Veterinary Clinical Services for health problems were also genetically compared with the 102 registered dogs based on the perception that sickly English bulldogs are products of commercial breeders or puppy-mills and genetically different and inferior.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Genotype, Allele, Evolution, Genetic genealogy, Bulldog

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The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the results obtained in 353 dogs (420 eyes) using two different surgical techniques for correction of a prolapsed gland of the third eyelid: the Morgan’s pocket technique and a technique combining Morgan’s approach with a slightly modified periosteal anchoring technique of Stanley and Kaswan. The pocket technique was used in 234 eyes and the combined technique in 186 eyes. Successful repositioning was obtained in 95% of all cases, with recurrence occurring in 5%. The recurrence rate in large breed dogs such as the English Bulldog and Boxer was lower with the combined technique than with the pocket technique.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Creativity techniques, Eye, Dog breed, Cherry eye, Molosser, Morgan Stanley, Bulldog

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The domestic dog may be the most morphologically diverse terrestrial mammalian species known to man; pedigree dogs are artificially selected for extreme aesthetics dictated by formal Breed Standards, and breed-related disorders linked to conformation are ubiquitous and diverse. Brachycephaly-foreshortening of the facial skeleton-is a discrete mutation that has been selected for in many popular dog breeds e.g. the Bulldog, Pug, and French Bulldog. A chronic, debilitating respiratory syndrome, whereby soft tissue blocks the airways, predominantly affects dogs with this conformation, and thus is labelled Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). Despite the name of the syndrome, scientific evidence quantitatively linking brachycephaly with BOAS is lacking, but it could aid efforts to select for healthier conformations. Here we show, in (1) an exploratory study of 700 dogs of diverse breeds and conformations, and (2) a confirmatory study of 154 brachycephalic dogs, that BOAS risk increases sharply in a non-linear manner as relative muzzle length shortens. BOAS only occurred in dogs whose muzzles comprised less than half their cranial lengths. Thicker neck girths also increased BOAS risk in both populations: a risk factor for human sleep apnoea and not previously realised in dogs; and obesity was found to further increase BOAS risk. This study provides evidence that breeding for brachycephaly leads to an increased risk of BOAS in dogs, with risk increasing as the morphology becomes more exaggerated. As such, dog breeders and buyers should be aware of this risk when selecting dogs, and breeding organisations should actively discourage exaggeration of this high-risk conformation in breed standards and the show ring.

Concepts: Selective breeding, Dog, Dog breed, Dog health, Breed standard, Purebred, Landrace, Bulldog

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The aims of this observational, analytical, retrospective study were to (i) obtain computed tomographic (CT) cricoid dimensions (height, width, and transverse-sectional area), (ii) compare the cricoid dimensions between brachycephalic and mesaticephalic breeds, and (iii) compare cricoid cartilage dimensions between dogs without and affected with brachycephalic airway syndrome. The study is important to help to further evaluate and understand the anatomical components of brachycephalic airway syndrome. Measurements were performed in 147 brachycephalic and 59 mesaticephalic dogs. The cricoid cartilage was found to be significantly more oval in Pugs and French Bulldogs compared to mesaticephalic breeds. The cricoid cartilage transverse-sectional area was smallest for the Pug and, after adjusting for weight, significantly smaller for Pugs (P < 0.001), Boston Terriers (P = 0.001), and French Bulldogs (P < 0.001) compared to Jack Russell Terriers. The tracheal transverse-sectional area at C4 of English Bulldogs was significantly smaller than for Jack Russell Terriers (P = 0.005) and Labradors (P < 0.001). The cricoid cartilage transverse-sectional area:weight ratio was significantly lower in brachycephalic breeds compared to mesaticephalic breeds (P < 0.001). The cricoid cartilage:trachea at C4 transverse-sectional area for brachycephalic dogs was significantly larger than for mesaticephalic dogs (<0.001), demonstrating that the trachea was the narrowest part of the airway. No significant differences were found for cricoid dimensions between dogs affected with and without brachycephalic airway syndrome. However, large individual variation was found among the brachycephalic breeds and further studies investigating the relationship between cricoid cartilage size, laryngeal collapse, concurrent tracheal hypoplasia, and/or severity of brachycephalic airway syndrome are warranted.

Concepts: Tomographic reconstruction, Dog breed, Jack Russell Terrier, Cricoid cartilage, Dog breeds, Cephalic index, Pug, Bulldog

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Anatomic variations in skull morphology have been previously described for brachycephalic dogs; however there is little published information on interbreed variations in tympanic bulla morphology. This retrospective observational study aimed to (1) provide detailed descriptions of the computed tomographic (CT) morphology of tympanic bullae in a sample of dogs representing four brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, French Bulldogs, English Bulldog, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) versus two mesaticephalic breeds (Labrador retrievers and Jack Russell Terriers); and (2) test associations between tympanic bulla morphology and presence of middle ear effusion. Archived head CT scans for the above dog breeds were retrieved and a single observer measured tympanic bulla shape (width:height ratio), wall thickness, position relative to the temporomandibular joint, and relative volume (volume:body weight ratio). A total of 127 dogs were sampled. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels had significantly flatter tympanic bullae (greater width:height ratios) versus Pugs, English Bulldogs, Labrador retrievers, and Jack Russell terriers. French Bulldogs and Pugs had significantly more overlap between tympanic bullae and temporomandibular joints versus other breeds. All brachycephalic breeds had significantly lower tympanic bulla volume:weight ratios versus Labrador retrievers. Soft tissue attenuating material (middle ear effusion) was present in the middle ear of 48/100 (48%) of brachycephalic breeds, but no significant association was found between tympanic bulla CT measurements and presence of this material. Findings indicated that there are significant interbreed variations in tympanic bulla morphology, however no significant relationship between tympanic bulla morphology and presence of middle ear effusion could be identified.

Concepts: Joint, Dog breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, King Charles Spaniel, Jack Russell Terrier, Dog breeds, Companion dog, Bulldog

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The aim of this cross-sectional study was to observe whether environmental factors and phenotypic traits are associated with owner-reported skin problems and with veterinary diagnosed canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). Data were collected using the validated online DOGRISK questionnaire. Out of the data that the questionnaire provides for analysis, focus was first turned towards addressing questions regarding ‘Atopy/allergy (skin symptoms)’ using a total of 8643 dogs: 1585 dogs with owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms and 7058 dogs without. A subsequent analysis compared dogs with veterinary-verified CAD (n = 322) as a case group against the 7058 dogs without owner-reported skin symptoms. The association between 21 factors related to the environment, canine phenotypes and breed groups within both populations were analysed using univariable and multivariable logistic regression. The environmental factors that showed a significant inverse association with the risk of owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms were as following: whether the dog was living in a detached house, whether there were other dogs in the household, and whether the dog was born in the current household. Having over 50% white colour in the coat and living in an extremely clean household were significantly associated with an increased risk of owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms. The five breeds demonstrating the highest proportion of owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms were West Highland white terrier, Boxer, English bulldog, Dalmatian and French bulldog. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale dog breed groups 3 (Terriers) and 6 (Scent hounds and related breeds) showed a significantly higher risk for owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms than mixed breed dogs. In the second population, the inverse association was observed between the risk of CAD and the presence of other dogs in the household, and whether the dog had been born in the current household. The results indicate that some environmental factors and canine phenotypes are associated with CAD and owner-reported skin symptoms, but they still do not prove causality.

Concepts: Selective breeding, Dog, Dog breed, West Highland White Terrier, Dog breeds, Non-Sporting Group, Bulldog, Utility Group

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This study aimed to evaluate the two-dimensional and Doppler ultrasonographic features of bitches' uteri according to breed, cycle phase, parity and fertility during the follicular and early diestrus phases. Thirty-nine pubertal bitches were divided into groups according to breed, parity, and fertility. Sonographic assessments started from the first day of vaginal bleeding and were performed weekly for a month. The diameter of the uterine body was measured longitudinally and the uterine characteristics observed sonographically were evaluated. The resistivity index (RI) and pulsatility index (PI) of the uterine artery were calculated and the spectral morphology analyzed subjectively. The uterine diameter increased from proestrus to the diestrus regardless of the breed or parity. Multiparous bitches of both breeds had higher uterine diameters than nulliparous bitches, except Fila Brasileiro bitches in estrus. In diestrus and proestrus, the uterine diameters were significantly the largest for multiparous bitches, followed by the primiparous bitches and smallest for nulliparous bitches. The uterine diameter was larger in Fila Brasileiro females than in French Bulldogs during estrus and diestrus. The RI did not differ during the different phases of the cycle for the same breed. However, the RI was higher in nulliparous and primiparous Fila Brasileiro females compared to French Bulldog females. Within Fila Brasileiro, multiparous bitches showed lower RI than nulliparous and primiparous bitches. Higher PI values were found during proestrus. All multiparous French Bulldog bitches had greater PI than nulliparous bitches, while multiparous Fila bitches had lower PI. Nulliparous and primiparous Fila bitches had larger PI larger than bitches with the same reproductive status of the breed French Bulldog. Infertile bitches had higher RI and PI than bitches considered fertile during the initial estrus and diestrus. Triphasic and types A, C, and D spectral morphologies were found in females who did not gestate; while pregnant females showed spectral morphologies of type B, C and D. Hence, it was concluded that the breed, the phase of estrus cycle and pregnancy history should be considered when studies the uterine artery flow during estrus and early diestrus using investigations such as Doppler assessment, which can be an important tool in diagnosing fertility in dogs.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Uterus, Fertility, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Vagina, Dog breed, Bulldog

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Dystocia can represent a major welfare issue for dogs of certain breeds and morphologies. First-opinion emergency-care veterinary caseloads represent a useful data resource for epidemiological research because dystocia can often result in emergency veterinary care. The study analysed a merged database of clinical records from 50 first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices participating in the VetCompass Programme. Multivariable logistic regression modelling was used for risk factors analysis. There were 701 dystocia cases recorded among 18,758 entire female dogs, resulting in a dystocia prevalence of 3.7 per cent (95 per cent CI 3.5-4.0 per cent). Breeds with the highest odds of dystocia compared with crossbred bitches were French Bulldog (OR: 15.9, 95 per cent CI 9.3 to 27.2, P<0.001), Boston Terrier (OR: 12.9, 95 per cent CI 5.6 to 29.3, P<0.001), Chihuahua (OR: 10.4, 95 per cent CI 7.0 to 15.7, P<0.001) and Pug (OR: 11.3, 95 per cent CI 7.1 to 17.9, P<0.001). Bitches aged between 3.0 and 5.9 years had 3.1 (95 per cent CI 2.6 to 3.7, P<0.001) times the odds of dystocia compared with bitches aged under 3.0years. Certain breeds, including some brachycephalic and toy breeds, appeared at high risk of dystocia. Opportunities to improve this situation are discussed.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Dog, Dog breed, Bitch, Toy dog, Companion dog, Companion Group, Bulldog

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Congenital vertebral malformations are common incidental findings in small breed dogs. This retrospective observational study evaluated the type and prevalence of thoracic vertebral malformations in 171 neurologically normal and 10 neurologically abnormal screw-tailed brachycephalic dogs. Neurologically normal dogs underwent CT for reasons unrelated to spinal disease, while affected dogs underwent MRI. Imaging studies were reviewed and vertebral malformations including hemivertebrae, block vertebrae, transitional vertebrae, and spina bifida were documented. The group of clinically normal dogs consisted of 62 French bulldogs, 68 Pugs and 41 English bulldogs. The group of affected dogs consisted of one French bulldog and nine Pugs. Overall, 80.7% of neurologically normal animals were affected by at least one vertebral malformation. There was a significant influence of breed, with thoracic vertebral malformations occurring more often in neurologically normal French bulldogs (P <0.0001) and English bulldogs (P = 0.002). Compared to other breeds, hemivertebrae occurred more often in neurologically normal French bulldogs (93.5%; P < 0.0001 vs. Pugs; P = 0.004 vs. English bulldogs) and less often in neurologically normal Pugs (17.6%; P = 0.004 vs. English bulldogs). Neurologically normal Pugs were more often diagnosed with transitional vertebrae and spina bifida compared to other breeds (P <0.0001 for both malformations). Of Pugs included in the study, 4.7% were diagnosed with clinically relevant thoracic vertebral malformations. When compared to the general veterinary hospital population, this was significantly more than the other two breeds (P = 0.006). This study indicates that thoracic vertebral malformations occur commonly in neurologically normal screw-tailed brachycephalic dogs. While hemivertebrae are often interpreted as incidental diagnostic findings, they appear to be of greater clinical importance in Pugs compared to other screw-tailed brachycephalic breeds.

Concepts: Observational study, Vertebral column, Scoliosis, Congenital disorder, Dog breed, Congenital disorders, Bulldog, French Bulldog

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Autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis in the American bulldog is characterized by generalized scaling and erythema with adherent scale on the glabrous skin. We had previously linked this disorder to NIPAL4, which encodes the protein ichthyin. Sequencing of NIPAL4 revealed a homozygous single base deletion (CanFam3.1 canine reference genome sequence NC_06586.3 g.52737379del), the 157th base (cytosine) in exon 6 of NIPAL4 as the most likely causative variant in affected dogs. This frameshift deletion results in a premature stop codon producing a truncated and defective NIPAL4 (ichthyin) protein of 248 amino acids instead of the wild-type length of 404. Obligate carriers were confirmed to be heterozygous for this variant, and 150 clinically non-affected dogs of other breeds were homozygous for the wild-type gene. Among 800 American bulldogs tested, 34% of clinically healthy dogs were discovered to be heterozygous for the defective allele. More importantly, the development of this canine model of autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis will provide insight into the development of new treatments across species.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Allele, Amino acid, Genetic code, Stop codon, Bulldog