Lovers of purebred dogs know that each breed carries a wide variety of desirable traits that can make them the perfect addition to your family. But, while each pedigree carries a host of advantages, there are also a number of potential concerns that need to be considered.
Some of the most common purebred health concerns are breathing issues. Breathing problems affect dogs from many brachycephalic breeds, which have relatively broad, short skulls — such as bulldogs, pugs, and boxers. Thankfully, genetic testing can not only help breeders detect the potential for these problems in advance, but it can also help owners know what to expect from their pets.
Why Do Dogs Have Breathing Issues?
Like any mammal, healthy breathing is an absolutely essential part of a dog’s health. Unlike most other species, however, selective breeding and other practices have made breathing issues in dogs a prominent feature of many common breeds. There are a wide variety of reasons why canines can struggle with breathing. Of course, some of these problems are the result of viruses and other transmissible illnesses. But many are congenital and related to breed characteristics.
As we mentioned above, breathing issues in dogs are most common with breeds that have historically been prized for having wide, flat faces. Some dogs suffer from narrowed nostrils and elongated soft palates. Others — usually smaller breeds like Yorkshire terriers, Italian greyhounds, poodles, and Pomeranians — are predisposed to tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, and chronic mitral valve disease, which can have an impact on respiratory function.
Other common genetic causes for breathing issues in dogs include Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and tumors around the lungs.
Testing and Treatment
Thankfully for lovers of brachycephalic dogs and other breeds known to have breathing struggles, genetic tests can screen for the presence of common risk markers in specific breeds. For instance, Orivet’s recently-released ADAMT3 test examines the ADAMTS3 gene, which has been identified as a marker for Airway Distress Syndrome in Norwich terriers. Tests like this one and others from Orivet help breeders, vets, and owners alike understand what hereditary factors may be at play and empower treatment before they become a more serious problem.
Treatment for breathing issues in dogs differs depending on the problem’s root cause. Some issues can be alleviated with corrective surgeries. Others, like COPD, can be managed using a mixture of preventative and palliative measures, including antibiotics, bronchodilators, and chest physiotherapy.
Orivet Genetic Pet Care
No matter what your concerns are, having your dog tested is absolutely essential to ensuring that you can provide them with the best possible care throughout their lives.
A leader in genetic testing for dogs and cats, Orivet offers a range of genetic services to owners, breeders, and veterinarians, including screening of genetic diseases, coat colors, traits, parentage confirmation, and much more. Whether you’re a first-time pet owner or a seasoned breeder, Orivet’s at-home testing kits provide a surefire way to better understand your dog’s breeding and lifestyle needs.
To learn more and see the full range of available testing kits, head to orivet.com.