Researchers find breathing problems in dogs is linked to DNA mutation

Research shows it's not just flat-faced dogs that may suffer from breathing issues (PA/SWNS)
Research shows it’s not just flat-faced dogs that may suffer from breathing issues (PA/SWNS)

Popular dog breeds often suffer with breathing issues, something that could be down to their genetics.

A particular DNA mutation linked to breathing problems has been found by researchers.

And while the problems are often associated with flat-faced breeds – like pugs – the team say the mutation is also carried by other dog breeds with proportional faces.

The scientists believe their finding could raise the prospect of genetic tests to identify at-risk animals and help breeders avoid producing affected pups.

Breeds such as French and English bulldogs and pugs are commonly affected by a condition called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), which leaves dogs gasping for breath. It was thought that their short faces were the only explanation for their breathing problems, but Norwich terriers – which have proportional noses – suffer from a similar breathing problem called Upper Airway Syndrome.
A pug waits for one of its 'dog friends' to turm up for dinner. A study of 2,000 dog owners has found that they have each met an average of four people while taking their dog for a walk or attending puppy training classes. See SWNS story SWBRdogs. Having a dog is good for your social life ??? as almost half of owners have made friends while on their ???walkies???. A study of 2,000 dog owners found they have met an average of four new people though their pet while out for walks or at puppy training classes. Similarly, this has led to the dogs themselves having a vast social life too, with 60 per cent of owners believing their pet has ???dog friends???. In fact, the average pooch is considered to have three friends, with more than one quarter even having a ???walking buddy???, often going out with the same canine and owner. And eight in 10 believe it is ???important??? for dogs to have friends, which they regularly see.
Pugs can suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) (Nic Serpell-Rand/SWNS.COM)
The team led by The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, studied DNA from more than 400 Norwich terriers, while vets carried out clinical examinations. The researchers pinpointed a DNA mutation in a gene called ADAMTS3, which is not linked to skull shape and has previously been found to cause fluid retention and swelling.

Train your pet to understand obedience. Dogs should at least understand basic direction like “sit” and “stay.” In an emergency situation these cues could save your pet’s life.

The mutated version of the gene was also found to be common in French and English bulldogs, which the team said may help to explain why those breeds can develop breathing problems and complications after surgery to treat them.

The institute’s Dr Jeffrey Schoenebeck, who led the study, said: ‘BOAS is a complex disease. Although skull shape remains an important risk factor, our study suggests that the status of ADAMTS3 should be considered as well.

‘More studies are needed to dissect the complex nature of this devastating disease.’

The study, published in PLOS Genetics, also involved experts from the Royal Veterinary College and the University of Bern in Switzerland.