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Health concerns over pedigree pets.

OVER the last several years, concern has been growing within the veterinary profession about the health implications of certain features that can affect the health of certain breeds of dog but there are now concerns that the trend is extending beyond just dogs.

Concerns are growing about the explosion in popularity of pedigree breeds of cat designed to have extreme or unusual features, such as flat faces or folded ears.

This is because the problems associated with these features which may not be immediately obvious, but cause suffering for the cats.

Recent figures suggest that 28% of the flat-faced (brachycephalic) cats seen by vets have had or would benefit from having treatment for conformation-related health or welfare problems.

Surprisingly, only a quarter of flat-faced cat owners were already aware of the potential health issues and just one in twenty were aware of the additional costs associated with the breeds before choosing their pet.

The most common problems in the brachycephalic cat breeds include eye problems, breathing problems, dental problems and skin problems.

The Scottish Fold, thought of as 'cute' because of its folded down ears which give it a round, babylike face, suffers from joint pain because the gene which affects the cartilage to allow the ears to fold forward, also affects cartilage in the joints causing problems such as arthritis in these cats, even from an early age.

I regularly meet owners who have chosen their pets without understanding either the possible welfare implications of their extreme features or the potential cost of treating them.

If you are considering getting a dog, cat or any other pet, discuss your plans with a vet who can advise you on how to get a healthy pet that is well-suited to your lifestyle. Avoid getting dogs or cats with extreme or unusual features and choose a healthier breed or a non-pedigree cat instead.

No owner wants to think that the cat which they love is suffering, and that the person who bred and marketed the breed did not have its best welfare at heart.

However, the reality is that the welfare of the cat is not always the top priority.

I regularly see conformation related problems and, as a vet, we have a variety of ways to help owners to care for them.

The important thing is to recognise the problems and not perpetuate them.

People buying cats can make a difference if they are aware of the issues and vote with their buying power and for cat welfare.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 23, 2018
Words:417
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