Mounting Evidence Shows Flat-faced Cats Are Suffering


Evidence is mounting that flat-faced or brachycephalic cats (pictured), including most modern Persians or Exotic Shorthairs, are suffering.

Flat-faced cat breeds, like their canine counterparts, are suffereing from a number of health problems, leading to lifelong health problems as a direct result of being ‘designed’ to have a very flat face. This includes breathing problems, eye inflammation, skin infections and difficulty eating.

Just released is a scientific paper from the University of Edinburgh1 which concludes that flatter-faced cats were more likely to have breathing problems and that the breathing difficulties were also associated with increased tear staining and a more sedentary lifestyle. This comes on top of a recent successful prosecution in Switzerland under the Animal Protection Act, brought against two people who bred extreme bracycephalic cats. The revised animal protection law in Switzerland has strengthened regulations against intentional breeding to produce specific traits that compromise the health and wellbeing of an animal.

Brachycephalic animals have a shortened muzzle which constricts nasal passages and can result in respiratory and feeding problems. In addition, the tear fluid cannot drain normally from the eyes, explaining why such cats have permanent eye discharge and tear staining of the face. The eye and facial abnormalities can result in chronic inflammation of the eyes and problems with skin infections in the folds around the flattened nose and across the face. Many affected cats also have difficulty in picking up food, as the jaw is also malformed, with teeth and jaw being misaligned.

In extreme cases, brachycephalic animals will have serious respiratory disease, causing significant suffering. Shamefully, this is a man-made condition. In pursuit of a look or fashion, breeders of some cats and dogs are selecting ever-shorter muzzles that inevitably result in serious welfare issues. Impaired breathing in these animals – part of a condition called brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) – can lead to health problems throughout animals’ lives and is often life limiting. This has been a common problem in many brachycephalic breeds of dog such as the pug and bulldog, but there have been increasing calls from veterinary and welfare organisations to recognise the suffering this causes in both dogs and cats.

The University of Edinburgh study, published in the journal PLOS ONE – saw hundreds of owners submitting photographs of their cats and completing a detailed health survey so that researchers could measure the facial features of the cats and assess breathing abnormalities (noisy breathing or difficulty breathing after exercise). The research confirmed that flatter-faced cats (of breeds such as the Persian or Exotic Shorthair), were more likely to have breathing problems and that the breathing difficulties were also associated with increased tear staining and a more sedentary lifestyle.

A previous paper, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS)2 showed dramatically, and graphically, how the skulls of brachycephalic cats are actually deformed, especially the nose and jaw. These shocking images demonstrate the altered conformation and are a salutary reminder of how severely the normal skull structure has been changed.

Unfortunately breeds of cat and dog with flat faces are becoming more and more popular, and extremes (of an already abnormal anatomy) can become instant internet celebrities. These breeds and individuals often have large or prominent eyes which are considered by some to be ‘cute’ because they are baby-like, and the flattened face often has an up-turned or down-turned mouth, which gives it a human or cartoon characteristic of smiling or scowling, such as Grumpy Cat.

Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of International Cat Care said: “It is very depressing to see the life which has been deliberately dealt to some breeds of cats because of a human desire to develop a certain look. I urge cat lovers to speak out and help others to understand that this is not something we should be doing to cats, and not something we should be tolerating. One of the best and most beautifully naturally designed animals – the cat – would not normally have any of these problems; we have created them through selective breeding.

“We should not be encouraging people to breed these cats by calling them ‘cute’, by being amused at their facial characteristics, or by the fact that they snore – rather we need to understand that this is human intervention that is wholly detrimental to the welfare of the cats and is simply cruel. International Cat Care takes an ethical view of all cat breeds and our website outlines the problems that exist for some breeds, including very flat-faced cats in the Persians and Exotic breeds. Our stance is that we should never deliberately breed cats for any feature or characteristic that impairs their welfare.”


1. Farnworth MJ, et al. Flat feline faces: is brachycephaly associated with respiratory abnormalities in the domestic cat (Felis catus)? PLoS One 2016; 11: e0161777. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161777
2. Schlueter C, Budras KD, Ludewig E, et al. Brachycephalic feline noses: CT and anatomical study of the relationship between head conformation and the nasolacrimal drainage system. J Feline Med Surg 2009; 11: 891–900. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfms.2009.09.010.

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Home Needed For Energetic Older Dog Who Wants To Be In Charge of Walkies!


A dog charity is looking for a new home for an energetic old dog who would like to teach his next owner some new tricks – like exactly when he wants a walk.

Finding Furever Homes (FFH), which sponsors kennels and foster homes for rescue dogs throughout Powys, Shropshire and surrounding areas, is hoping to find a suitable new home for their dog Malik, an 11-year-old black Staffordshire bull terrier, who is being fostered near Shrewsbury.

Malik was signed over to FFH after the family who had him for 11 years had a change in circumstances. Despite his age he still has plenty of energy and enjoys a good walk and to make sure whoever is looking after him does not forget when it is time to take him out.

Andrea Newton, founder of the charity, explains: “Malik is a lovely older dog who has the energy levels of a young animal and really loves his walks. He is such a character that when he is ready for a walk he will sit down towards the door and then he will move closer and closer until you get the hint – if you still don’t get the clue he will sit right by it and have a little moan so there is no danger of you forgetting to take him out.”


To make sure his next home is a lasting one, FFH want to find Malik a new home with experienced, committed owners, in a quiet house, preferably without young children so he can enjoy some quiet time.

Malik is well trained and friendly and knows all the basic commands. He is good with other dogs but as with all their animals FFH is happy to offer the services of a qualified behaviourist if it is needed to help him settle into a new home. In foster, Malik has proved he is well adjusted and sociable with other dogs and has shown no interest in chasing cats.

Although currently in foster in Shropshire, if the right person comes forward FFH are happy to rehome him anywhere in England and Wales.

Andrea added: “Malik is a lovely character who deserves a home of his own for the rest of his life and we would ask anyone interested in taking him on to visit our website and make sure they are ‘rescue ready’ and commit to him forever as he has had a lot of disruption in his life so far and he deserves a secure home.”

For more information about Malik, Finding Furever Homes, or any of the other dogs available for adoption please visit

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The Vet Warns About Dangers to Pets of Second-Hand Smoke

Cats are especially vulnerable to the dangers of passive smoking

Cats are especially vulnerable to the dangers of passive smoking

Smokers should not light up around their pets, as it can cause a host of serious health issues, warns The Vet.

The clinic has issued its stark warning as ‘Stoptober’, the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England, gets underway.

The Vet has seen cases of dogs and cats brought into the clinic with asthma -like breathing problems, which are either caused or exacerbated by passive smoking.

A study by the University of Glasgow has also established a direct link between the effects on pets living in a smoking environment and a higher risk of health problems including some animal cancers, cell damage and weight gain. Previous research, by Tufts University, near Boston, U.S., also found that cats that live with smokers are twice as likely to develop Feline Lymphoma, a serious cancer of the blood and immune system.

Hermann Heyl, Clinical Director at The Vet Waltham Forest, said: “We all know the dangers of smoking and the negative effects of second-hand smoke on those around us. However, many people are not so aware that pets in the household can be badly affected by passive smoking. It’s an issue that has largely been ignored and we felt there was a real need to let people know that pets’ health could be compromised.

“Cats, in particular, are at risk as they self-groom throughout the day, so will ingest dangerous amounts of carcinogens. Smaller animals also can be at great risk too.”

As well as quitting smoking altogether, there are alternative ways people can lessen the harm inflicted on pets and other members of the family by second-hand smoke.

To minimize the risks to pets, The Vet recommends the following measures:

  1. Smoke outside. Smoking only outdoors will prevent a large share of smoke particles from settling into your home or car.
  2. Use a high-quality air purifier in your home to help remove excess toxins.
  3. Change your clothes after smoking, and wash your clothing right away, or at the very least, air clothes outside.
  4. Wash your hands after smoking, and before you touch your pets
  5. Keep ashtrays clean – don’t leave them for your pets to find.

The Vet is a revolutionary new type of veterinary clinic. Currently with six practices in the UK (Bristol, Morden, Nottingham, Waltham Forest, Liverpool, Southampton), The Vet offers the flexibility of a walk-in no appointment service for consultations.

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Keep Your Pooch Safe During Firework Season

SPONSORED POST: From Time for Paws

The winter is fast approaching and soon enough we’ll be reluctantly swapping our sun hats for slipper socks.

But whilst we can wrap up warm and prepare ourselves for the cooler weather, how can we best look after our furry friends and ensure they are protected throughout the colder months?

From fireworks to ice, these top tips will help to keep your dog safe during the winter chill.

Portrait of a dog with knitted scarf tied around the neck walking in blizzard in the forest

Wrap up Warm

We may not realise it but there are certain dog breeds where even a layer of fur isn’t enough to keep them warm.

The breeds most likely to struggle in cooler conditions are short-coated dogs, such as chihuahuas and greyhounds. Ensure your short-coated friends wear a jumper or coat when you take to the outdoors.


Firework Safety


Most people love fireworks, but whilst they generate many “oohs” and “aahs” amongst the crowds, for our furry friends, firework season can be a scary time.

Follow these top tips to keep your pet safe during firework season:

  • Enjoy walkies during daylight hours to prevent your dog being out amongst the loud fireworks.
  • Make sure your dog is in a secure environment that they won’t be able to escape from should they begin to feel scared when the fireworks kick in.
  • Provide a quiet area for your dog before the firework season gets underway – perhaps one of the quietest rooms in your home. Leave toys in this area so your pooch learns to associate this environment with safety and happiness. This may well become the safe place your dog returns to when the fireworks begin.

Foot Care for your canine friend


The winter months are home to many things that look nice on Christmas cards, but can be harmful to our pooches.

The salt and grit found on salted pavements can cause irritation in dog’s footpads. Be sure to give your dog’s paws a good wash after they’ve been out for a walk to avoid irritation.

The colder weather is also home to ice. Ice balls can form between the pads and toes of the feet and can be really painful if left to build up. Avoid this by trimming the hair around your dog’s feet regularly throughout the winter months.

It is also important to keep a close eye on your pooch while you are out and about in the cold weather. If you spot your dog lifting up their paws, stopping more often while you are walking or whining it could be because their feet are too cold and they are struggling. Dog boots may be a solution to help your dog during wintertime.

Protect Your Pooch Today!

Whilst these top tips can’t stop the cold snap from coming, they will help to prepare and protect your beloved best friend and keep them safe this impending winter season.

This post was created by Time for Paws, the UK’s leading online pet supplies store.

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Company Sends Its Premium Treats To Dogs Worldwide To Enjoy

dreamstime_xs_45832728 One of the core messages coming from the prestigious pet trade PATS show this week is that the UK’s premium pet food sector is in good form and leading from the front.

For some years now the UK’s artisan food and drink scene has being seizing the attention of health conscious humans, banging the drum for flavour innovation, ingredient provenance, nutritional depth and label clarity; bold, unwavering messages that don’t simply resonate with the UK’s  increasingly vocal, health conscious consumer, but with a growing chatter of overseas pet lovers looking to embrace British-based goods.

The Dog Treat Company (DTC) is one such family-owned operation enjoying the euphoria of being British, loud and proud.


DTC’s founder Joe Halliwell explained: “In the same we put our trust in Japanese innovation and Germany’s precision engineering, the UK is establishing an unrivalled reputation for ingredient integrity.  Whether its companionship – completing the family, post-divorce camaraderie, or ‘empty nester’ rapport – a willing jogging buddy or the last piece in the family jigsaw, dogs are being pampered and appreciated like never before.”

With overseas orders and enquiries now accounting for a significant number of DTC’s sales: Australia, Norway, Italy, The United States, South Korea, Germany and Holland (to name but a few), there’s now a fantastic opportunity for the UK’s peerless pet food fraternity to truly make its mark in a post Brexit world.

It seems that different markets embrace our Dog Treats for a variety of distinct reasons – for some it’s the quirkiness of our tongue-in-cheek tone of voice and packaging, whilst for others it’s our uncompromising insistence on only using free-range chicken, eggs and beneficial herbs.

In the United States and Norway they are ahead of the curve regarding why pet food must include health assisting ingredients like turmeric and black pepper, whilst elsewhere in Italy, Germany and Holland (like Britain before) many family units no longer seem complete without the presence of a four legged friend.  Further afield, pet pampering sits at the very heart of South Korea’s blossoming fascination with small, low maintenance, urban dogs.

Whatever the individual market reasons for DTC’s growing overseas appeal, the underlining message is unquestionably that of a proud British pet food pioneer that has taken the trouble to understand its diverse yet flourishing customer base.

More info:

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Police Issue Fresh Appeal For Stolen Puppy

A week after she was taken from outside her home in East Haddon, Northamptonshire Police have re-issued an appeal for help in finding Cocker spaniel, Poppy.

The chocolate brown puppy disappeared just before 4.30pm on Wednesday 21st September. Police believe she may have been taken to the Harlow area of Essex later that day but a week later she could be anywhere in the country.

“I can’t describe how awful the last few days have been,” says Poppy’s owner, Gilly. “We miss Poppy desperately. There’s a huge, gaping hole in our lives at the moment. All we care about is getting Poppy home where she belongs. There is a no-questions-asked reward for Poppy’s safe return.”

A Facebook page was started within hours of Poppy’s disappearance. It has been visited by millions and the pinned post describing Poppy’s appearance has been shared 55,000 times.

“Amid the despair and sadness we feel, I can’t describe how touched we’ve been by the response to Poppy being taken,” says Gilly. “The kindness of people, many of whom are complete strangers, has been truly humbling.”

Poppy is nearly six months old but small for her age. She is microchipped and docked. She has a few white hairs under her bottom lip and was wearing a red collar when she disappeared.

The family are appealing for anybody with any information, however insignificant they believe it might be, to please come forward.

“We’d also ask that whoever has Poppy now – even if you bought her in good faith – to please leave her somewhere safe, such as a vets, or to get in touch with us. We don’t care about the who or the why she was taken, we just need Poppy back home with her family,” says James, Gilly’s partner.

The Find Poppy Facebook page can be found at

Twitter @FindPoppyCocker

Northamptonshire’s Police appeal can be seen at:!/News/28808

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Corrie’s Ozzy Death Set To Devastate Soap Fans This Week

Corrie star Samia Smith aka Maria Connor with her on screen dog Ozzy

Corrie star Samia Smith aka Maria Connor with her on screen dog Ozzy

Soaps’ biggest pet star since Schmeichel, Ozzy, Maria Connor’s black Labrador, has filmed his last scenes and is due to leave Coronation Street this week in one of 2016’s saddest soap storylines.

The loss of Ozzy, who has been charming his way into the hearts of viewers over the past nine years, will be felt by his co-stars.

Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria said: “I’ve been recording one of the saddest scenes I’ve ever done in my 17 years at Corrie. We say a sad goodbye to a well-loved member of the cast.

“When I first read the scripts I was in tears so getting to film them has just sent me off. You may need your tissues when they air.”

However, the emotional effects will also be felt by the nation too and the loss of a pet is not to be underestimated. In a report* by Pets at Home, 40% of Brits said they would ask their boss for a day off work to grieve over the death of a pet.

Leading international psychologist, Wendy Dignan, who practices in Harley Street and Wilmslow explained: “We emotionally engage with dogs on TV as we know that they are more authentic than a person playing a part – especially a dog on screen which appears frequently and over a long period of time.

“People are emotional stakeholders of the soaps they immerse themselves in, so the loss of a dog on a TV show will feel surprisingly very real.

“Part of the unique attachment we form to pets – dogs in particular – is because we feel that they have ‘no agenda’. A dog’s love is given unconditionally and endlessly. Research shows that we view the bond with a dog as more authentic or truthful than those we form with humans. When people watch shows with dogs, we don’t have the same filter we do with humans who are merely acting, as we perceive dogs to be more ‘honest’.”

Dr. Maeve Moorcroft, Veterinary Advisor for Pets at Home, said: “Owners who experience the loss of a pet should take time to grieve and not rush into replacing their pet straight away. Allowing yourself to go through the grieving process is really important and if that means asking for a day off to grieve and make necessary arrangements such as burial or cremation then so be it.”

On a more positive note, the passing of a pet can actually prepare children for loss of people close to them in later life. A third of parents (33%) questioned in the study** said that their child’s experience of a pet passing away had helped them come to terms with the death of a family member or friend.

*Pet Report of 3,000 people in the UK commissioned by Pets at Home and carried out by ONEPoll 2011
**Pet Report of 4,321 people in the UK commissioned by Pets at Home in 2015

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Chico, The dog With A ‘Spare’ Rib

Chico with vet Emily Frazer and the rib bone he swallowed

Chico with vet Emily Frazer and the rib bone he swallowed

PDSA vets were gobsmacked that Chico, a one-year-old Mastiff-type, had managed to wolf down a spare rib bone without causing himself an injury.

The x-ray below of mischievous Chico appears to show a ‘spare rib’. But the anomaly was actually down to the greedy pet swallowing a six-inch cow rib bone whole.


Susie Hermit, Senior Vet at PDSA’s Glasgow Shamrock Street Pet Hospital, said: “I’ve never seen an x-ray like it before, the position of the bone really did look like Chico had an extra rib!

“Amazingly he’d managed to swallow the bone whole but didn’t seem to be in any pain. However, we knew we had to carry out emergency surgery to remove it because it could have caused a life-threatening tear to his stomach or intestines.”

Chico’s owner, Craig Anderson (41), from Newlands, Glasgow, said he had bought the rib bone as a treat for his beloved pet.

“I thought if I supervised him it would be fine but he literally swallowed it in one mouthful.

“He seemed fine but I knew he wouldn’t be able to digest it properly so I took him straight to PDSA.”

Thankfully, Chico has gone on to make a full recovery, although bones are now firmly off the menu.

Craig added: “I was so worried while he was in the operating theatre. It’s a miracle the bone didn’t cause any damage. I’m so grateful to PDSA for the amazing care they gave to Chico, it’s something I’ll never forget.

“It goes without saying but I don’t give bones to him anymore after this. It’s definitely a case of once bitten twice shy.”

Susie added: “Chico is very lucky. We don’t recommend bones to be given as treats because they can cause digestive tract damage and blockages. Surgery is usually needed to remove the blockage and, in some cases, the damage is so serious that it can be fatal.”

Thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PDSA is educating pet owners about pets eating inappropriate foods and objects, and how to keep their animals safe.

Bones were the most common items removed from pets’ stomachs by PDSA vets last year, with 59 cases seen. Other strange items swallowed by pets include stones (28 cases) and corn on the cob (29).

PDSA vets say training pets from a young age in basic commands like ‘drop’ and ‘leave’ can help to get them to let go of inappropriate objects if you catch them in the act.

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Newest Political Puss Adopted By Defra Minister George Eustice MP

George Eustice MP with Gus. Credit: Anna Branthwaite

George Eustice MP with Gus. Credit: Anna Branthwaite

Black-and-white puss Gus has become the latest in a long line of political cats after being adopted from Cats Protection by Government Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, George Eustice MP.

The three-year-old caught the eye of the politician and wife Katy when they visited the charity’s Mitcham Homing Centre in Surrey to find a new pet.

Gus, who was handed into the charity because his owner was moving and could no longer keep him, is now settling into his new home with the Minister and his wife.

The long-haired moggy joins an illustrious list to bring a feline touch to political households, including Downing Street’s Larry, former Chancellor George Osborne’s Freya, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s El Gato and resident mousers Gladstone and Palmerston, now living at the Treasury and Foreign Office respectively.

Mr Eustice, MP for Camborne, Redruth & Hayle, said: “Gus, the newest addition to our family, took all of twenty minutes to settle into his new home and stretch out on the sofa. All the team at Cats Protection were fabulous and the rehoming centre was immaculate. Charities like this do great work.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity, helping over 500 cats and kittens per day through its national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.

Cats Protection’s Mitcham Homing Centre’s Deputy Manager Rosie King said it was clear that Gus would make a perfect pet for George and Katy.

gus-the-cat-credit-anna-branthwaiteShe said: “Gus has such a lovely temperament and he made a beeline for George and his wife as soon as he saw them. Within five minutes, he had plonked himself on their laps and was purring away. In hindsight, I think it was more a case of Gus choosing them than the other way round!

“George and Katy went away overnight to think it over but were back in the morning to collect Gus – he had certainly left an impression.

“Like many cats, Gus has a lovely, calming presence so we know he will be well suited to a political household. We’re thrilled they’ve found each other, and wish Gus all the best in his new life.”

Cats Protection’s Advocacy Manager Jacqui Cuff said the charity works closely with Government on issues affecting cat welfare in the UK, in particular Defra, which has responsibility for animal welfare issues.

She said: “We’re thrilled George has decided to adopt from Cats Protection, and we wish his family and Gus all the best as they get to know each other. Cats Protection has thousands of cats in its care across the UK, all waiting for their second chance in life, so we hope lovely Gus will inspire more potential owners to adopt from us.

“Cats are much-loved pets and form a vital part of households across the UK, with around a quarter of households owning one. Yet despite their popularity, charities such as ours see growing numbers of unwanted or abandoned cats, as well as very sick kittens being sold online.

“We always encourage prospective owners to consider adopting from a charity such as Cats Protection, and in particular to consider an adult cat such as Gus. Whilst kittens are always popular, there are many benefits to adopting an adult cat rather than a kitten – they are normally calmer, more settled and as their character is fully formed, you can see how well they would fit in with the household.”

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New Study: 1 In 60 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Affected By Serious Brain Disease

cavaliers-groupCavalier King Charles Spaniels are sweet and adorable little dogs that are loved by the general public, with one currently even starring in ITV’s Victoria. A new veterinary research initiative at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has for the first time revealed that one in 60 Cavaliers are affected by an inherited condition called syringomyelia.

Cavaliers are especially predisposed to this potentially debilitating, painful and life-limiting spinal cord condition. Syringomyelia is characterised by fluid filled cavities called syrinxes within the spinal cord which, as they grow, cause pain and neurological deficits. Dog breeds that are miniaturised and short-nosed are more prone to syringomyelia, but Cavaliers are believed to be the most commonly affected breed.

Until now, there has been little reliable evidence on the frequency and severity of syringomyelia in the overall dog population and this has limited vets’ ability to diagnose and manage this condition.

However, an initiative called VetCompass from the RVC has now revolutionised the ability of scientists to investigate the health of companion animals. VetCompass collects anonymised clinical data from first opinion veterinary clinics across the UK. These data can be analysed to answer a wide variety of health questions that have been unanswerable until now.

A recent VetCompass study published in the Veterinary Record journal highlights for the first time the frequency and severity of syringomyelia seen in general practice in the UK. At an overall dog population level, syringomyelia is not that common, affecting just one in 2,000 dogs. But among Cavaliers, the frequency of syringomyelia is much higher, affecting one in every 60 of the breed. VetCompass data reveals that almost 2,000 Cavaliers suffer from clinical syringomyelia in the UK at any one time.

For many years, scientists have struggled to identify the true extent and severity of diseases seen in the wider general dog population because the main source of veterinary health data on dogs has come from universities and referral hospitals.

While this referral data is useful, the types of animals and conditions that are referred to these referral centres is unrepresentative of the wider dog population so it is very difficult to extrapolate any findings to the general population. It is mainly complex conditions and severely affected individuals that get referred. In contrast, the vast majority of animals are managed perfectly well by the primary vet practitioners without ever being referred or even being ill at any one time. VetCompass has revolutionised the way this first opinion veterinary data is collected and investigated.

Syringomyelia is a severe condition for affected dogs, with the VetCompass study showing that 72% of affected dogs were recorded as showing pain. The study showed that these dogs would often yelp or scream when they were picked up or when their necks were touched. Many of them also showed ‘phantom scratching’ where they would try to scratch at their necks with their hindlegs but without ever even making contact with the skin. Some people refer to this action as ‘playing an air guitar’.

There are now effective painkillers and other treatments that can make the lives of affected dogs much better, so earlier diagnosis can make a huge difference to the quality of life of these adorable little dogs.

The RVC is urging owners and vets alike to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical advice if their Cavalier is showing signs typical of syringomyelia, so that clinically affected dogs can be recognised and treated earlier and better. Symptoms include:

· Sensitivity around the head and neck area

· Sleeping with the head raised

· Scratching or pawing the head or neck region

· Weak limbs

· Deafness

Dr Dan O’Neill, Companion Animal Epidemiologist at the RVC, said:

“I loved being a first opinion practice vet for over 20 years where I could help animals on a one-by-one basis. But now, with VetCompass, we can help animals by their thousands. An example is this syringomyelia study which may lead to many affected dogs getting treatment much earlier and therefore making their lives so much better.”

Professor Holger Volk, Professor of Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery, said:

“These VetCompass data are an eye-opener; we very frequently see Cavaliers with clinical signs of syringomyelia at RVC’s referral hospital but now we know how common it is in the real world, outside of the referral world.”

Dr Ludovic Pelligand, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology and Anaesthesia, said:

“VetCompass allows us to identify how Cavalier King Charles affected by syringomyelia are treated for pain every day, nationwide. This will help us to understand optimal management and we are currently working on new ways to monitor pain and working towards developing new treatment options to further improve their pain relief and quality of life in the future”.

Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi, Head of Health and Research at The Kennel Club, said:

“VetCompass demonstrates the importance of good quality data collection to help identify the impact of health conditions in companion animals, and demonstrates one of the many ways that the veterinary community can support dog health.

“Raising awareness in the veterinary community and the wider public of important diseases, and steps they can take to reduce the risk of these diseases, is key to tackling them in a collaborative way. Whether a dog is Kennel Club registered or not, there are resources out there to support good breeding practices, such as screening for Chiari Malformation / Syringomyelia (CM/SM) under the British Veterinary Association and Kennel Club’s CM/SM scheme before using a dog for breeding.”

Tania Ledger, owner of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a founder of Cavalier Matters said:

“My experience is that dogs with syringomyelia can live relatively normal lives provided they are managed carefully. This means having an understanding of the disease and what role the medication and lifestyle plays. With increased awareness of the condition by owners and vets, the lives of these special little dogs can be helped immeasurably. I set up Cavalier Matters to simply try and help where we can. We work tirelessly to raise both funds and awareness of syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.”

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