November 8, 2017
A 15-month-old English Bulldog, named Ivy, who was found abandoned on the streets in Brent, North West London, by a local dog warden, was recently brought in to Mayhew with painful eye problems.
Unfortunately Ivy is one of many brachycephalic pets that, due to ill health, can end up abandoned and in our care.
In the last few years there has been a huge surge in the popularity of brachycephalic pets such as Pugs and Bulldogs, with more and more being available to buy. The French Bulldog was even named as London’s favourite breed of dog in 2017, according to The Kennel Club.
Mayhew’s Head Vet, Dr. Ursula Goetz, said: “Brachycephalic breeds are animals that are bred to have a flat face, which causes their muzzle and nasal aspect to be short, creating a perceived appearance of cuteness. Unfortunately a high percentage of them will have health problems throughout their lives, including eye problems, breathing problems, skin diseases, neurological and dental problems. This can result in a poorer quality of life and will often require veterinary intervention.”
“We don’t know how long poor Ivy had been on the streets for, but when she first arrived at the Home, she had very sore and inflamed eyes. She was obviously in a lot of discomfort, so we immediately checked her over.”
Mayhew’s Vet, Emma Robinson, explained: “Poor Ivy has had a couple of eye problems that can be more commonly seen in brachycephalic breeds such as English Bulldogs and Boxers. One of these problems was Cherry Eye, which is when the gland within the third eyelid that produces a component of tears, prolapses out of the eye, causing the pink tissue to become inflamed and dry.”
“We performed surgery to replace the gland to its normal position at the base of the third eyelid where it can function normally. Unfortunately for Ivy, this problem commonly occurs in both eyes and sure enough her other eye developed Cherry Eye as the other one was healing. Once the second Cherry Eye was fixed, she still wasn’t free from irritated, itchy eyes, as she was found to also suffer from distichiasis. Distichiasis is a condition where the eyelashes grow from the wrong part of the eyelid, meaning that they rub on the eyeball.”
“They commonly appear around six to 18 months of age. It’s possible to medically manage some cases of distichiasis by plucking the errant hairs. However, Ivy’s distichiasis regrew after plucking and because she had it on all four eyelids; we decided to perform surgery on both eyes to remove a piece of skin, so that the eyelashes would no longer roll inwards, irritating her eyes.”
“After a few weeks recovering from the surgery, Ivy was back on her paws, running around and getting up to mischief in no time.”
After receiving medical attention and care from our Vet Team, including vaccinations and neutering, our staff put Ivy on foster with one of our experienced carers, so she could enjoy a loving home environment whilst she recovered.
As soon as our Vet Team was satisfied she was in good health, Ivy was put up for adoption and now ready to find the pawfect home.
Dr. Ursula Goetz added: “If you are thinking of getting a dog that belongs to a breed that is brachycephalic, it is very important to do your research first, because these are breeds with a special physiology that you should be aware of. At Mayhew we are here to assist and give you advice on the best course of action for your pet.”
If you are interested in adopting Ivy or any dogs in our care, please visit our adoption page at or call on 020 8962 8000.
Every year our Animal Welfare Officers and Community Vet Clinic respond to hundreds of animals in need. Please consider a donation to help them help even more animals like Ivy.