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Viral MRI photo sparks conversation on pug breeding ethics

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Posted at 3:44 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 16:44:13-05

For many, a pug for Christmas would top our wishlist.

However, while "we" may struggle to breathe in our excitement on Dec 25... for many pugs, this breathing difficulty can last a lifetime

For pugs, bulldogs, and other breeds with wide, flat snouts; their compressed skulls often have shorter airways and narrower nasal slits. However, despite their smaller, more "adorable" noses, they still retain all their internal soft tissue. This is the reason for their sneezing, wheezing, and snoring moments.

Actor Andy Richter posted this MRI photo above via Twitter, captioning, "My friend's pug went to the vet", and received over 127,000 likes, going viral last December. Leaving some pug fans in disarray, over the shocking genetic display underneath all the fluff.

As brachycephalic dogs, they are often bred to have shallower eye sockets, causing their eyeballs to protrude and expose their cornea. While this 'baby doll' look is often cue for our fawning, it also sets the right conditions for bacteria and yeast to grow on the dog's face; the resulting continuous skin infection, Pyoderma, can affect the dog their entire lifetime.

Years of selective breeding have resulted in a physical form,
'far different, than these descendants of wolves once had in nature. Pugs' known medical history of spinal problems, seizures, and other medical difficulties have to lead to the creation of organization such as Love is Blind. A non-profit dedicated to informing potential pet owners of what medical conditions they may need to prepare for in the future.

For more information on how to adopt a local dog, visit the Texas A&M Humane Society page here.