Dogs have hearts of gold – but put them into an MRI machine and they turn into ‘demons’.
People have been left in stitches after actor and comedian Andy Richter shared an MRI scan of his friend’s pug.
With users claiming it to be “simultaneously the cutest and most terrifying thing” they’ve ever seen, the picture has been shared more than 14,400 times on Twitter.
One user said: “This made me laugh uncontrollably for two minutes straight.”
Another user added: “Amazing. Pugs may be the only creature to look exactly the same in X-Ray as in visible light.”
A third user, who was unsure about the image, said: “Thank you for the happy nightmares this image will bring me tonight.”
While most users laughed at the poor pug, a vets said it highlights the concerns about selective breeding, which has been having detrimental impacts on the health of the breed.
Rory Cowlam, a vet based in London, told the Independent that although most MRI images, including those taken of humans, would look unusual to the untrained eye, he conceded the pug’s snapshot was ‘pretty odd looking’
Dr Cowlam said: “Their faces have been shortened due to intensive breeding by humans, unfortunately.
“They have these massive eyes, bunched up noses – the condition is called brachycephalism.
“We have, through human selection, bred them to look more like a human baby because we find that cute, but unfortunately that cute look is not very good for the animal.”
With other breeds including French bulldogs and Shih Tzus also suffering from the same condition, Dr Cowlam said he would ‘actively encourage’ prospective owners to think again about buying animals with brachycephalism.
Earlier this year, the RSPCA launched a Save Our Breath campaign urging the public not to buy breeds who cannot live normal lives due to the irresponsible way they’ve been selectively bred.
The number of British bulldog puppies being registered with the Kennel Club increased 149 per cent, between 2011 and 2020, while the number of French bulldogs registered soared by 1,317 per cent.
This is also reflected in the number of Frenchies who are coming into RSPCA care having been abandoned or signed over, usually due to the cost of their veterinary needs.
While Staffies still account for the largest proportion of dogs coming into the RSPCA, their numbers are steadily declining, while the number of Frenchies increased by 1,567 per cent from three in 2015 to 50 in 2020.
Brachycephaly isn’t exclusive to dogs, it’s also a growing problem in cats, rabbits and horses.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Sadly we are now seeing this desirability for short noses and flat faces in cats and rabbits despite the severe health issues that result from this type of breeding.
“For years we have deliberately been breeding dogs in our pursuit for extreme body shapes including shorter, flatter faces.
“We’ve created generations who struggle to breathe, struggle with heat regulation, are chronically tired and can’t exercise without collapsing, and have to sleep with their head propped up on a pillow or with a toy in their mouth, just to help them breathe.
“In dogs, particularly, this has become such a huge welfare concern that we are left with only one option; to urge people not to buy them at all.
“Unfortunately, it is too risky to buy these pets because it is practically impossible to find a healthy one. This is a growing animal crisis and urgent intervention is required.”