Unravelling the health status of brachycephalic dogs in the UK using multivariable analysis

O’Neill, D G and Pegram, C and Crocker, P and Brodbelt, D C and Church, D B and Packer, R M A (2020) Unravelling the health status of brachycephalic dogs in the UK using multivariable analysis. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73088-y


Brachycephalic dog breeds are regularly asserted as being less healthy than non-brachycephalic breeds. Using primary-care veterinary clinical data, this study aimed to identify predispositions and protections in brachycephalic dogs and explore differing inferences between univariable and multivariable results. All disorders during 2016 were extracted from a random sample of 22,333 dogs within the VetCompass Programme from a sampling frame of 955,554 dogs under UK veterinary care in 2016. Univariable and multivariable binary logistic regression modelling explored brachycephaly as a risk factor for each of a series of common disorders. Brachycephalic dogs were younger, lighter and less likely to be neutered than mesocephalic, dolichocephalic and crossbred dogs. Brachycephalic differed to non-brachycephalic types in their odds for 10/30 (33.33%) common disorders. Of these, brachycephalic types were predisposed for eight disorders and were protected for two disorders. Univariable and multivariable analyses generated differing inference for 11/30 (30.67%) disorders. This study provides strong evidence that brachycephalic breeds are generally less healthy than their non-brachycephalic counterparts. Results from studies that report only univariable methods should be treated with extreme caution due to potential confounding effects that have not been accounted for during univariable study design or analysis.

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