The development of BOAS in brachycephalic breeds may be the result of the exaggerated head dimensions, which are detrimental to respiratory and thermoregulatory function. We hypothesize that a few skull measurements may serve as predictors for the development of the respiratory symptoms. Importantly, we can investigate in a quantitative manner the relationship between these phenotypic measurements and the genetic network underlying the condition. With this information we can then propose new breeding strategies that preserve the unique character of brachycephalic dogs while decreasing the incidence of BOAS.
At the Queen's Veterinary School Hospital we perform skull measurements using a variety of imaging techniques, including photographs, radiographs and CT scans, as well as soft tape measurements. We are currently examining the relationship between these measurements and the respiratory function of brachycephalic dogs, as quantified non-invasively with whole-body barometric plethysmography. Our preliminary results indicate that there are associations between the skull dimensions and the respiratory function of our patients, and that such associations are breed-specific.
Although our preliminary results are promising, we need your help to complete our study. In particular, we are interested in brachycephalic dogs that do not suffer from BOAS and can serve as controls in our research. If you own a brachycephalic dog with no apparent respiratory problems, we would love to meet him/her at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital. Please contact us.