Flat-faced dogs and cats charm us with their doll-like looks. The same goes for animals with abnormally shortened legs or dwarf-like bodies. But such anatomic defects also increase the risk of significant health problems.
Flattening of the face can cause serious breathing difficulties. An associated underbite and protruding teeth can also interfere with eating and lead to dental problems. Even deformed tear ducts can result in chronic tearing.
Some breeds have such small skulls that they suffer from repeated headaches and seizures. And those with abnormally short, curved legs may have chronic joint problems.
Many of these animals have sweet temperaments, making them all the more endearing. But when people opt for cute pets without researching underlying health risks, they may be setting themselves up for heartbreak.