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What Are The Most Common Health Conditions To Affect The Pug?

The pug is an instantly recognisable dog breed and one that many people find quite comical, with their flat faces and often quizzical expressions, and the pug is indeed sometimes known as the comedian of the dog world as a result.

This is also a really popular dog breed in the UK, being the third most popular overall; and so, it is one that thousands of new dog owners every year choose as the right pet to join their family.

However, the pug is quite a high profile breed in terms of its health, and there is quite a lot of controversy within the breed as a whole regarding things like breed standards and breeding for exaggerated features, the latter of which can directly cause or worsen congenital health problems.

This means that anyone considering buying or adopting a pug needs to make sure they know what they’re getting into, and the potential issues that can arise within dogs of the breed.

Knowing what type of issues – if any – might affect any given dog isn’t always something that we can predict, but based on data compiled by the Royal Veterinary College on the prevalence of specific health conditions within the pug breed and how often they present, we can provide some pointers.

This data was complied in a format showing the number of pugs out of every thousand to have specific health conditions and that sought treatment for it from a veterinary clinic, in order from the most common to the least common.

With this in mind, this article will tell you the eight most common health conditions in the pug. Read on to learn more.

1. Obesity

Obesity is the number one most common and prevalent health condition within the pug breed, and one that is of course completely preventable too.

Obesity has been recorded in 131.81 pugs out of every thousand, making well over one in ten of the UK’s pugs dangerously obese.

2. Corneal disorders

Corneal disorders come next, affecting 87.22 out of every thousand pugs, or a little under one in ten. Corneal disorders are particularly prevalent in the breed due to the prominence of the pug’s eyes, and breeding pugs with exaggerated flat faces worsens this propensity to problems.

Choosing a pug with a more moderate face helps to reduce the chances of corneal disorders.

3. Otitis externa

Otitis externa, being a condition of the ear that causes inflammation and swelling of the ear canal that is painful and can make your dog quite miserable, is in third place.

Otitis externa affects 75.32 out of every thousand pugs, or a touch under one in ten. Keeping your dog’s ears clean and dry and checking them over regularly can help to prevent this.


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4. Other ear disorders

Ear disorders in pugs are quite common in general, and even discounting cases of otitis externa, 74.33 out of every thousand pugs will suffer from some form of ear problem, which may be a chronic or acute. Combined with the otitis externa figures, this means well over one in ten pugs suffer from some form of ear problem.

5. Anal gland impactions

Anal gland disorders and impactions are the fifth most common and prevalent health issue pugs in the UK see the vet for, and present in 65.41 in every thousand pugs, or over one in twenty.

The unusual construction of the pug tail may contribute to this, as the tail is an extension of the spine, and a very curled, corkscrew tail can cause a number of problems. Feeding a good quality diet and checking for any signs of problems can help to reduce impactions.

6. Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the sixth most prevalent pug problem, affecting 61.45 in every thousand pugs, or over one in twenty. This is an inflammatory gum condition, and one that can be more common in pugs with very flat faces and so, crowded teeth or otherwise unusual dentition. 

However, a lack of dental care is the main cause of periodontal disease in pugs, and so starting off pug ownership brushing your dog’s teeth and generally taking care of preventative healthcare can help to prevent problems later on.

7. Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome or BOAS

Finally, BOAS in pugs affects 51.54 out of every thousand dogs of the breed, or a touch over one in twenty. This condition is directly caused by exaggeratedly flat facial features, and can be incredibly debilitating for affected dogs, making it challenging for them to breathe normally and exercise, and making them very sensitive to the heat as well.

8. Vomiting

Finally, vomiting is the eighth most common pug health issue, affecting 49.55 out of every thousand pugs, or just under one in twenty. Digestive disorders can be caused or worsened by feeding an inappropriate or poor quality diet, and may be worsened by allergies or sensitivities.


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