Pet Skull Types Finally Demystified!7 min read
PET SKULL TYPES ARE NUMEROUS
You would think that I would be writing this around Halloween time but this is not about black cats and witches flying off on a broom but to show how varied the animal kingdom is when it comes to pet skull types. I have mentioned to people that physicians treat the same animal around the globe. People are people. Same head type, same physiology, same everything except the obvious differences. Veterinarians have to deal with countless types of animal species in professional school. Do you know what a rat and a horse have in common? Neither has a gall bladder! Do you know that all blood chemistries in species can be and are different? Even as a small animal veterinarian I had to know the quirks of each and every dog or cat breed or their crosses that paraded into my Ohio practice day after day. Did you know that you never give heartworm preventatives containing ivermectins to a Collie dog? It is very toxic in that breed. In regards to ivermectin use in dogs there is a saying in veterinary medicine- WHITE FEET DON’T TREAT. Many herding breeds fall into this category.
Domestic dogs and cats have changed markedly over the years when compared to their wild cousins such as the big cats, wolves and coyotes. Selective breeding has allowed breeders to select for certain traits be it color, personality or whatever genetic feature they wish expressed in the animal’s phenotypeThis refers to the way the genes are organized in the way the animal looks or appears. It is the reason why a German Shepherd looks differently than a Maltese. In the entire dog or cat genome very few genes determine the physical appearance of an animal.. There are always downsides to genetic manipulations. Unintended consequences such as physical and personality disorders are common in many animals when not respecting the gene pool.
There are three types of pet skull types:
I know these terms seem real technical but you will soon understand the method to my madness. From another point of view would you prefer to learn how to spell the above three terms or my last name (Klinefelter)? I would choose the former.
Some psychologists have even suggested that pet skull types often determine the personality of a particular breed of dog or cat. I will leave that conclusion up for you to draw! The only physical findings that I know of related to pet skull types is the cephalic index. It measures the ratio of the width to the front to back length of the skull.
BRACHYCEPHALIC PET SKULL TYPES
Brachycephalic animals have a very short skull. They all have the impression of having a pushed in type of skull with very little space for things to go! Common breeds associated with this skull type are:
- Boston Terrier
- English Bulldog
- Persian Cat
- Scottish Fold Cat
- Himalayan Cat
Many of these breeds are high maintenance animals due to the problems that develop from being associated with this type of skull structure. Dogs in this category have a proliferation of skin folds that can harbor yeast. Those same folds also can lead to corneal ulcersThe cornea is the thin outer protective layer of the eye. It can easily be scratched by protruding hairs caused by skin folds or due to trauma related issues. They are extremely painful and diagnosed by physical exam, history and by flourescein staining of the eye. Treatment is either medical, surgical or a combination of the two., entroprion or ectropion. The sinus cavities in these breeds are tortuous to say the least. It is very difficult for them to breathe even in the best of circumstances. This makes them all extremely intolerant to excessive heat. They will go into heat exhaustion/heat stroke in a nano-second. Always keep them in air conditioned quarters during hot summer months. Read more on this problem in English Bulldogs.
DOLICHOCEPHALIC PET SKULL TYPES
The dolichocephalic skull type is seen in many popular breeds today:
- German Shepherd
- Abyssinian Cat
These breeds of animals are just the opposite of brachycephalic breeds. They have a long muzzle and ample spaces for sinuses to exist making breathing a piece of cake. That long snout can present problems. That flat surface is known as the nasal planum. It is exposed to the perpendicular rays of the sun and prone to sunburn. This radiation can also lead to metastaticThese are cells that are torn between being normal and abnormal. They are in a situation that can best be described as limbo. Depending on the type of cellular damage metastatic cells may remain that way or turn cancerous or even malignant. cancer cells such as squamous cell carcinomas on the skin surface (epidermis).
Many breeds, particularly the Collie, develop “Collie Nose”. It is medically known as nasal solar dermatitis. There is a hypersensitivity to the sun’s rays on areas of the nasal planum (or elsewhere) that are hairless and non pigmented. These must be differentiated from auto-immune disorders such as Lupus or the Pemphigus complex. Biopsies usually provide the diagnosis. Avoiding the sun’s rays helps but many Collies have black pigments tattooed into the affected areas to block the sun’s harmful radiation effects.
MESATICEPHALIC PET SKULL TYPES
The most common type of skull structure is the mesaticephalic. It is the middle of the road type of skull structure. Not too short nor not too long. The majority of dogs fit into this category. A few of the most popular breeds are:
- Domestic Short (Long) Haired Cat
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Russian Blue Cat
- All the retriever dogs
- Bengal Cat
Lucky for this group of animals, there is nothing wrong about having an average skull structure! There are few if any problems within this group since the dimensions or the ratio of length to width of the skull is in the goldilocks zone. Easy to breathe, and with an average length to their nasal planum, very few issues compared to the Collie dog.