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A recent Veterinary Times carries the tale of vet nurse Lucy Gunn's experience with her Pug, Lola.
"Lola was a healthy little thing when I got her, having had her vaccinations. But at about six months of age, she started snoring more and her breathing became louder. She would go for a little walk, then struggle for breath and collapse. I knew something wasn’t right, so took her to see the vet where I worked."
It was the start of a health nightmare. Lola had a soft-palate resection. It helped for a few weeks, but then her breathing got worse again. She had another soft-palate resection. Again, it helped her for a while - but then she deteriorated again. Finally, she had a tracheotomy. It was either that or euthanasia, Lucy was told by the referral vet.
Lola was still only 10 months old.
Ms Gunn continues:
"Lola did very well for at least 18 months post-surgery. She was almost back to “normal” and was exercising well with no dyspnoeic episodes. However, following this great spell, the BAOS symptoms slowly started to appear again and it was not long before she became dyspnoeic during and after exercise and was also turning cyanotic during these episodes. So, I decided to return to the referral vets to see what they advised.
"The vet decided because Lola was growing and a pug, the extra skin folds around her neck were causing an issue with her stoma, which is relatively small – about the size of a thumbnail. It was decided the best way to correct this was to have a skin lift – effectively, a nip and tuck.
"Lola ended up having surgery in which a 16cm length of skin was excised from the back of her neck, allowing the excess skin to be removed and hopefully solving the issue. She has a rather impressive scar to show for it – I say it is one of her many war wounds. Postoperatively, all went well and Lola recovered as well as was to be expected.
In a separate condition, she developed bilateral eye ulcers. Fortunately, it was caught early and I treated her successfully with ophthalmic drops.
"Following this, she started showing symptoms of hip and spinal pain. This meant another anaesthetic and further investigation. Radiographs indicated hemivertebrae and it was decided to try long-term NSAID medication. Initially, due to her other health issues, we decided not to do anything surgically, but to treat medically and reassess symptoms regularly.
"This treatment continued for 12 months, at which point Lola developed a gastric ulcer from the use of long-term NSAID medication. This meant another visit to a referral specialist and a two-week stay on medication to treat her symptoms.
Lola has recently had another surgery – a mast cell tumour removed on her stifle. Again, she recovered well and is now back to normal."
And at the end of that, what does Ms Gunn conclude?
"Lola has not discouraged me from owning pugs and I’ll doubtless get another when the time comes. Pugs as a breed have a great determination and true spirit. Lola has had many issues, but has taken it all in her stride and being a pug she’s got great comedy value. She’s so silly at times – especially when racing around the garden doing the “pug run”. I would not be without her – she’s a huge part of the family and we adore her."Ms Gunn... let me put this as nicely as I can.
You are not a hero. You are a stupid, unthinking, cruelty-promoting idiot.
Seriously, I know that's rude but can't you see?
Dogs shouldn't have to have "great determination" or "true spirit" in order to endure what we have forced on them. That Lola and other Pugs cope with this awfulness isn't a tribute to her or them. It's a terrible, terrible indictment on you and us.