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Thousands of Dogs Suffering Due to their Breed

27 August 2014
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UK - Bentley the Shar Pei is just one of thousands of dogs across the UK who could be suffering from painful and serious conditions due to their breed.

The young dog was brought to PDSA after he was adopted earlier this year by his current owner Chantelle Meloy. She immediately noticed that there was a real problem with his eyes and knew that he had to be checked over by PDSA vets

Chantelle said: “When I took Bentley on he wasn’t in a great way and clearly had some health problems.”

Not only were Bentley’s eyelids turned inwards but excess skin also hung over his eyes, which meant he couldn’t see.

Bentley with PDSA Head Nurse Michael De Lacy Costello
Bentley with PDSA Head Nurse Michael De Lacy Costello

The eye condition he was suffering from, known as entropion, is a deformity of the eyelids causing them to roll inwards and is common in some breeds such as the Shar Pei.

It can cause serious irritation and the permanent rubbing of eyelashes against the eye can be very painful. If pets don’t receive treatment the condition can cause chronic damage to the eye, leading to discomfort and pain throughout their lives.

Chantelle was advised that the only way to stop these problems permanently was for Bentley to undergo an operation to remove the excess skin from the top of his head and to have his eyelids corrected. He underwent this delicate surgery in February 2014, and his story has been featured on the BBC’s Young Vets programme.

PDSA vets say some serious health conditions are associated with certain breeds, which can cause pain and distress; in some cases affected pets require surgery or long term medication. Vets encourage anyone thinking of purchasing or acquiring a pet to carry out thorough research first.

Michael De Lacy Costello, Head Nurse at PDSA New Cross, where Bentley was treated, said the pet was one of the lucky ones as his new owner Chantelle had taken quick, positive action to help him and stop him from suffering.

He said: “When our vets examined Bentley it was clear the excess of skin on his forehead was causing serious drooping over his eyes – effectively blinding him. This was having a detrimental effect on both his health and overall quality of life. Chantelle did exactly the right thing – bringing her dog to us to see how we could help him.”

PDSA vets advised Chantelle that the only way to stop these problems permanently was for Bentley to undergo an operation to remove the excess skin from the top of his head and to have his eyelids corrected. He underwent this delicate surgery in February 2014, and his story has been featured on the BBC’s Young Vets programme.

Chantelle said she was extremely grateful to PDSA for the treatment Bentley received and said it had made a huge difference to his quality of life.

She said: “He needed regular check-ups for quite a while, so it was hard work for us and Bentley – I felt so sorry for him. But he’s like a different dog now, he can run, play fetch, and has even learnt to catch a big ball. It’s completely changed his life! I’m so grateful to PDSA for doing this surgery and can’t thank them enough. He was blind but now he can see again.”

PDSA vet, Paul Manktelow, said that many people were unaware of the serious conditions that some pets can develop due to breeding issues.

He said: “This was absolutely a welfare operation and not a cosmetic procedure. The Shar Pei breed is seen as being very appealing due to the large, loose folds of skin. However they can be particularly prone to skin infections and entropion, where the eyelids fold inwards, and research shows that they’re about 130 times more likely to have this condition than other breeds or crossbreeds.*

“We’d always advise owners getting any type of dog to discuss this with their vet before they purchase or adopt one. Owners have to do the right research before getting a pet.”

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