Brachycephalic dogs more affected by many conditions

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

An analysis of Nationwide’s pet insurance claims reveals that dogs of brachycephalic breeds—those having a broad, short skull—are more often affected than other dogs are by many common conditions, even after excluding conditions related to brachycephaly.

Nationwide study coverNationwide released the Brachycephalic Breed Disease Prevalence Study on March 8 at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. The analysis excluded conditions related to brachycephaly such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, entropion, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca and excluded conditions unrelated to anatomy, such as accidents and infectious diseases.

Brachycephalic dogs were more likely than other dogs to have certain ophthalmologic issues:

  • Corneal ulcers, 6.34 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 1.4 percent of others.
  • Ocular trauma, 2.15 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 0.92 percent of others.
  • Conjunctivitis, 10.81 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 7.76 percent of others.

Brachycephalic dogs also were more likely than other dogs to have certain dermatologic issues, including the following:

  • Malignant skin neoplasia, 0.46 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 0.25 percent of others.
  • Fungal skin disease, 3.07 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 1.61 percent of others.
  • Pyoderma, 18.93 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 14 percent of others.
  • Otitis externa, 25.32 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 19.34 percent of others.
  • Allergic dermatitis, 18.55 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 14.02 percent of others.

Among other conditions seen more frequently in brachycephalic dogs, pneumonia had a prevalence of 1.60 percent in brachycephalic dogs, compared with 0.77 percent in others. The prevalence of hyperthermia was 0.26 percent in brachycephalic dogs, compared with 0.11 percent in others.

According to the report summary: “By examining the issues of brachycephalic dogs from a different angle—analyzing common conditions, not brachycephalic-specific ones—Nationwide has expanded the field of inquiry and set a foundation for further study. In so doing, the company is assisting veterinarians, pet owners, breed associations and other stakeholders in the common goal of working together to improve the health of these popular dogs.”

The report is available at

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA passes policy on responsible pet breeding (March 1, 2017)

Brachycephalic dogs more likely than others to die during air transport (Sept. 1, 2010)