© Wikimedia Commons
Selective breeding to produce doll-like dogs has resulted in horrific brain problems that researchers are only now just beginning to fully understand.
A new study, published in the latest PLOS One,
finds that the brains of some of these dogs have parts that are pushing up against themselves and the dogs' skulls. The affliction, known as Chiari malformation, could cause the dogs to experience excruciating headaches, problems with walking, and/or paralysis.
"Chiari malformation can be described as trying to fit a big foot into a small shoe," lead author Clare Rusbridge, from the new School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, was quoted as saying in a press release.
"It can be very painful, causing headaches and pressure on the brain and can result in fluid filled cavities in the spinal cord."
The disease affects many toy dog breeds, such as Griffon Bruxellois (also known as the Brussels Griffon), Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas and their crosses.
For the study, Rusbridge and her team took brain, skull and vertebrae measurements of 155 Griffon Bruxellois dogs affected by the condition, and compared the data with measurements taken of normal Griffons.