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#BreedtoBreathe: 10-point plan for veterinary practices

06 Feb 2020 | Hayley Atkin


We know that vets and vet nurses improve the welfare of many brachycephalic dogs on a day-to-day basis through the diagnosis and treatment of problems linked to brachycephaly. To support the profession to take wider action, we’ve developed the #BreedtoBreathe 10-point plan for veterinary practices.

Follow our 10-point practice plan to improve the health and welfare of brachycephalic dogs and promote responsible pet ownership

Offer pre-purchase consultations

You can use the the PDSA “Which pet?” consultation framework, with prospective dog owners. The potential health problems of brachycephalic conformation can be clearly outlined in these consultations

Strongly advise against breeding if a dog is suffering from BOAS or requires conformation altering surgery

If a dog is suffering from BOAS or requires conformation altering surgery – Consider neutering (where best practice allows) to prevent further litters with extremes of conformation that negatively impact on their health and welfare’

Promote the Puppy Contract

The Puppy Contract (comprising the Puppy Information Pack and contract for sale) can be promoted through the practice communication channels, eg. website, social media, waiting room displays, newsletters, and in local print and broadcast media

Promote and actively participate in available health schemes

These can include the BVA/KC Health Schemes but also those for brachycephalic breeds that currently exist amongst Bulldog, French bulldog and Pug breed clubs

Carry out exercise tolerance tests (ETT) and functional grading

ETT and functional grading can be conducted for brachycephalic breeds as part of their annual health assessment

Enrol the practice in clinical surveillance programmes

So as to contribute to data gathering and evidence generation. Examples include VetCompass and SAVSNET

Develop a practice communication strategy

Make sure to repeatedly, clearly, and consistently communicate the health problems experienced by dogs with brachycephalic conformation through the practice communication channels

Maintain discipline in your practice communication strategy

Develop practice policy to ensure that practice communication channels (particularly social media and advertising materials) do not portray dogs with brachycephalic conformation as cute, humorous or appealing

Ensure practice policy supports staff

Everyone needs to appropriately convey evidence-based information and advice to owners of dogs with brachycephalic conformation

Support local breed clubs and representatives

Primarily in the development and implementation of plans to improve the health of dogs with brachycephalic conformation


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