Common pug health problems

With their soulful eyes and affectionate demeanour, it’s not hard to see why pugs make such a popular breed for those wanting a smaller dog

What they lack in stature, they more than makeup for in personality. Unfortunately, the characteristics that make them so distinctive, have been selectively bred into them to the point they often cause health problems. Responsible breeders are trying to undo some of the damage done by those not so responsible over the years but there are still several areas you need to be aware of before you bring your new pug home.

What does brachycephalic mean?

The most distinctive characteristic of the pug is its flat face and short nose. Brachycephalic means flat-faced breeds and whilst dogs like the pug and bulldog are usually the first that comes to mind, this term can apply to cats and rabbits too.

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is the general term to cover several specific breathing problems flat-faced pets might encounter as a result of their short snout. Unfortunately, it’s become so common to see flat-faced dogs wheezing these days, it’s almost normal but any dog suffering from BOAS could find:

· They’re not getting enough air every time they breathe which becomes especially dangerous when it’s hot or they’ve been exercising.

· Their windpipes aren’t wide enough to ensure a sufficient supply of oxygen gets into their lungs.

· If they’re not getting enough oxygen into their lungs, they’re not getting enough oxygen into their blood which puts pressure on their hearts.

· Unfortunately, if a pug can’t exercise enough because it can’t draw enough breath it can lead to weight gain which then puts even more pressure on their hearts.

Any dog experiencing any of these symptoms should never be considered ‘normal’ and breathing problems should always be examined by a vet. Although surgery is a more extreme option, operations to open their nostrils or shorten their soft pallet could be an option if less invasive options haven’t been successful.

Pug eye problems

As pugs have smaller heads, their eye sockets tend to be shallower which is why their eyes can look so large compared to their size. As unpleasant as it sounds, this means pugs are actually at risk of their eyes popping out their sockets.

Another problem some pugs experience due to their head shape is an inability to completely close their eyelids. This can lead to dry eyes which can not only be very painful but result in blindness.

Making sure you notice any change in your pug’s eyes is essential, symptoms like cloudy or milky eyes, excessive blinking or discharge should always be checked out by your vet.

Pug spinal problems

As the curled tail is a kennel club breed standard, this has led to a propensity towards a spinal disease caused by hemivertebrae. The gene responsible for the coil in the tail causes vertebrae

abnormalities in other parts of the spine. These deformed vertebrae put pressure on the spinal cord which can lead to back pain, incontinence and even paralysis.

Sometimes surgery is possible to release the pressure on the spinal cord but this also comes with its own set of risks.

It’s because of all these reasons that pugs can be expensive to insure and even more expensive not to insure. By keeping a close eye on your pug you can make sure you’re aware of any change in behaviour that could signal a need to visit your vet.

How Petcover can help your pet

Petcover specialises in offering quality, straightforward pet insurance with a range of policy options that suit your needs. Whether your pet is big or small, furry or scaly our range of cover options are packed with added benefits. Accidents can happen at any time and the reality of veterinary costs can come a quite a shock. With our range of cover levels for dogscats, and horses why not get a quote today.