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Vets urge parents to resist pester power as ‘unhelpful’ pug film hits screens

Vets fear that parents may soon be getting more requests for pet pugs as Disney’s latest film Patrick hits the screens.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is urging parents to resist any pester power prompted by the film because the dogs are prone to painful breed-related deformities.

In an effort to dissuade families from adding a pug to their household, BVA has released new statistics showing that 98 percent of companion animal vets treated brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs for health issues last year. Overall 95 percent of practices treated at least one brachycephalic dog with eye problems, 93 percent treated breathing issues and 89 percent treated skin problems.

BVA launched its #BreedtoBreathe campaign this year to counter ‘cute’ images of flat-faced animals and draw attention to the serious health issues experienced by brachycephalic dogs and cats.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “We know from past films that when a dog takes a starring role their breed often experiences a surge in popularity for years afterwards. That’s why a film featuring a flat-faced pug is unhelpful at a time when vets and other welfare organisations are desperately trying to discourage ownership of these breeds.

“The reality is that thousands of pugs and other flat-faced dogs such as French Bulldogs struggle with serious health problems, which often require invasive and costly surgery to correct. Patrick himself may be healthy, but we know from our survey that almost every vet in the country is seeing pugs in their practice who are not.”

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