French Bulldogs and more: Taking the temperature on brachycephalic health

brachycelphalic health study

We asked a simple question in our Nationwide® Brachycephalic Breed Disease Prevalence Study: Are Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and other such brachycelphalic breeds as healthy, more healthy or less healthy than other dogs across a range of conditions common to all dogs?

The answer, in brief, is less healthy, based on an analysis of Nationwide’s pet health insurance data over a nine-year period.

The claims of more than 1.27 million dogs — brachycephalic and others — make for a very robust analysis, which we’re again able to share freely with the veterinary community and with pet-lovers who own or are interested in owning one of these popular dogs.

The Nationwide® Brachycephalic Breed Disease Prevalence Study is the second of our medical analyses (our Nationwide® Osteosarcoma: Prevalence and Influences  was the first), and the latest in a series of economic and medical analysis based on our  peerless database of pet health insurance claims.

Our goal, as always, is to advance important conversations among pet-lovers everywhere, which we believe will have the result of better care and healthier lives for our companion animals.

This latest study is no different.

Bulldog healthThe health of the brachycephalic breeds has been a matter of hot debate for some time now, especially as the popularity of these dogs has grown. These charming dogs are popular for many reasons, and in our own offices when we have our regular “take your pets to work days” I can visit with any number of lovable Pugs, Mastiffs and Bulldogs.

As much as we love these dogs, though, it’s important to know what problems there may or may not be, so owners are better prepared to care for their pets.

As with any good study, we didn’t know what the answers would be when we set our  medical biostatisticians loose on the data. We believed — and still do — that we could add some light to the heat of these discussions, and give everyone some good data to use in the important discussions of better health and better lives for all pets.

In brief, our methodology:

  • Divide the canine claims database into brachycephalic (24 breeds) and non-brachycephalic (all dogs minus dogs in those 24 breeds).
  • Take a list of our common claims and remove most brachycephalic conditions. Then remove claims for accidents (i.e., hit by car, poisoning). This left 17 conditions.
  • Establish and compare prevalence rates.

This morning I’m presenting the results of our Nationwide® Brachycephalic Breed Disease Prevalence Study  in open sessions at the 89th WVC annual conference.  I’m also presenting our first medical study,  the Nationwide® Osteosarcoma: Prevalence and Influence study, and our Dr. Kerry O’Hara is presenting the latest Nationwide® | Purdue Veterinary Price Index (now approaching it’s sixth semi-annual refresh!). If you’re at WVC, I hope you’ll join us starting at 9 a.m. in South Seas Room D.

All our studies can be downloaded for free from the Studies and Research tab above, or by clicking on any of the study names above. As always, your comments are welcome!

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