RFG scheme

The Respiratory Function Grading (RFG) Scheme

Many (but not all) brachycephalic dogs have health issues related to their appearance and their flatter faces. One of the most distressing conformational related diseases is brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) which occurs when the dogs have too much soft tissue in their airway or areas of the airway that are narrowed. BOAS can be identified as noisy breathing, heat intolerance in the summer, struggling on exercise, sleep disorders, regurgitation (food, saliva or belching) and, in severe cases, collapse. Some dogs of the more common brachycephalic breeds, such as bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs, can, however, breathe easily.

We have devised a health screening test for BOAS, the RFG scheme. This can be done without sedation or anaesthetic by listening to the dogs before and after a short exercise test. We launched this as a health Scheme in 2019, licensed by the Kennel Club/ University of Cambridge. For more details on the RFG Scheme please follow this link.

This health test should be used by breeders of brachycephalic breeds to ensure they are breeding healthy dogs. It is also available to people who have bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs and wish to check if their pets are healthy.

Dogs can be tested from 12 months of age and, if tested, the results will be submitted to the Kennel Club. A test certificate is valid for 24 months and we advise that dogs are tested throughout their lives.

If you would like to book and appointment for the RFG Scheme at Granta or would like a more detailed assessment, including the “breathing chamber”, simply email us on hello@grantavets.com and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time.

If you believe that your dog has BOAS and you wish it to be assessed for treatment, please ask your vet to refer you to Granta.

If you are considering buying a brachycephalic dog, particularly a bulldog, French bulldog or pug, please ensure that you buy your puppy from a Kennel Club Assured breeder or health focussed breeder and check the RFG scores of the parents.

For more information on BOAS, including our research papers, conformational risk factors and more detail on pathophysiology and treatment click here.

For more information on health issues that may occur in brachycephalic dogs and some of the strategies that are being developed to improve quality of life in these dogs, please look at the Brachycephalic Working Group.