Jun 19 2014

Precious Pugs!

Kiwi teaches us lessons about responsible ownership.

Meet our nurse Michelle’s 8 month old pup Kiwi!

Who can say no to that face?!

Well, it is a good thing Michelle can’t, because as it turns out Kiwi developed a number of health issues common to pugs. These conditions affect quality of life if not corrected.  Of course Michelle wants to do what is best for Kiwi.  So what did Kiwi need?


As a ‘brachycephalic’ dog, Kiwi’s face is flatter than most breeds.  Unfortunately, this wreaks havoc on her teeth. You just can’t squeeze a full set of teeth into such a small mouth without overcrowding and improper development of adult teeth. Dr. Kraft advised dental radiographs and selective tooth extraction at the time her spay (whilst she was under anesthesia). This would allow the proper development of adult teeth, and slow tartar buildup and periodontal disease in areas of crowding.  Dental disease causes infection and pain. We can prevent this with careful evaluation and oral surgery early in life.

Kiwi’s assessment revealed EIGHT teeth that required extraction.



Kiwi has multiple genetic-based malformations of her respiratory system, making it difficult for her to breathe normally. Unfortunately, these are very common in brachycephalic breeds. Dr. Kraft advised surgical reconstruction of her narrow nostrils (‘nares’), as well as surgical correction of an elongated soft palate within her oral cavity to help her breathe better.  Michelle and Dr. Kraft both want Kiwi to be able to rocket around like a normal puppy, without respiratory distress and danger of heatstroke due to reduced ability to move air in and out of her lungs.  Her respiratory system surgeries were also done at the time of her spay.


Read more on the types of RESPIRATORY MALFORMATIONS brachycephalic dogs can suffer from. 


Dr. Kraft also noted that Kiwi had an umbilical hernia. This is a defect (hole) in the abdominal wall allowing out-pocketing of fat and in rare instances abdominal contents into the skin.  Usually this poses a minimal health threat, however surgical correction is advised. Dr. Kraft repaired this at the time of Kiwi’s spay as well.  Read more about UMBILICAL HERNIAS and why they should be surgically corrected. 

All in all, Kiwi’s spay, hernia repair, respiratory corrections, and dental exam/oral surgery took several hours. However, Kiwi was monitored very closely under her anesthesia and kept very comfortable with our multi-modal approach to pain control. She recovered like a champ!

When we welcome a new pet into our lives, it comes both with great joy but also great responsibility. This includes knowing the breed you are adopting and their potential health issues, as Michelle did.

Accepting this responsibility for an individual animal is one thing. A step above includes voicing concerns you have to the breeder (if adopting through one). Unfortunately, there are many people still breeding brachycephalic dogs with a focus on aesthetics – what makes them ‘cute’ – but not life quality.  We believe health is more important than looks; if you feel the same, do not be afraid to voice it!

As for Kiwi, she is now both adorably cute and her health as a brachycephalic much improved.  Thanks to her dedicated mom Michelle and her healthcare team, she will live a far better life than if the above issues had not been corrected.


Kiwi recovering from her surgery! What a cutie!


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