How common are eye problems in pugs, and what are the most common pug eye conditions?

How common are eye problems in pugs, and what are the most common pug eye conditions?

Health & Safety

The pug is one of the UK’s most popular dog breeds, and they’re a really common sight these days too; in fact, this is the third most popular dog breed in the UK overall. It is often said about pug-appeal that people come for the quirky looks but stay for the quirky personality, and this is most definitely a breed that has lots of character and that is great fun to have around.

When it comes to the pug’s looks, on the other hand, these can be somewhat polarising. Some people are directly drawn to the breed thanks to their looks, whilst others find it almost repellent.

What is true regardless of whether or not you think pugs look cute, however, is that some of the facets of their conformation are problematic in terms of breed health, and don’t represent healthy norms for dogs as a species. The construction of the pug’s face is one of these, and that signature flatness is known as being brachycephalic, and results in an abnormally short muzzle and elongated soft palate, both of which can cause functional problems.

As a result of their face shape, the pug’s eyes are also more prominent than in a normal standard length muzzle too, and this means that they can be at higher risk of attaining injuries to the eyes; and of developing eye problems resulting from their unusual conformation.

But how common are eye problems in pugs really, and what pug eye conditions are the most common?

Well, based on data collated from 89 veterinary clinics over a four-year period by the Royal Veterinary College, we may be able to answer this with some accuracy. The RVC data sought to identify why dogs of the breed visited one of the participating clinics during the given time period, and then ranked the conditions they presented with in order from most to least common, explained as the number of dogs per thousand presenting with the condition.

With this in mind, this article will tell you first of all roughly how many pugs in every 1,000 have some sort of eye problem based on these statistics, and outline the five most common pug eye problems as per the study too. Read on to learn more.

What percentage of pugs have eye problems?

Based on the RVC data for a representative sample of pugs taken over a four-year period, 185.3 out of a thousand pugs who visit a vet do so due to eye problems.

This is almost one in five, or over 18%. Next, we’ll outline which five pug eye problems were the most common, and how many dogs in every thousand were affected by each.

Number 1: Corneal disorders

Corneal disorders were found in 87.22 out of 1,000 pugs, or a shade under one in ten. Corneal disorders can come in many different forms, including diseases that affect the cornea, and also damage to the eyes.

Pugs are particularly prone to corneal disorders as their eyes are prominent.

Number 2: Discharge from the eye

Eye discharge in pugs was recorded in 21.80 out of every 1,000 dogs in the study, or just over one in fifty. Eye discharges can of course be caused by all manner of things, from an infection to poor tear duct drainage to a foreign body in the eye, but once more the prominence of the eyes and shape of the tear ducts make the pug more prone to problems.

Number 3: Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis in pugs is the third most frequently diagnosed eye condition within the breed, and based on the study’s findings that this was the reason for treatment for 18.83 in every thousand dogs, or just under one in fifty.

Once more, the anatomy of the pug eye makes them predisposed to issues of this type.

Number 4: Dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or to give it a more common and easier to pronounce term, dry eye in pugs, was the fourth most common pug eye issue in dogs that were examined during the study.

Dry eye in pugs was found as the cause of the veterinary visit for 18.83 out of every 1,000 dogs once more, again making this a problem that affects just a touch under one in fifty dogs of the breed.

Dry eye can result in permanent blindness if left untreated.

Number 5: Ophthalmic (eye) abnormalities

The fifth most common eye disorder in pugs was found to be ophthalmic abnormalities or more simply, abnormalities of the eye. This is once more something of a catch-all encompassing potentially many different health issues affecting the eyes, the main part of which relate to developmental abnormalities, due to the conformation of the pug’s face.

Eye abnormalities in the pug were found in 11.89 out of every 1,000 dogs, or just over one in a hundred pugs overall.




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