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Pug’s MRI Scan Is Creepy, Funny, And Also A Sad Reminder Of Damaging Breeding

Although I'm firm in my opinion that all doggos are wonderful and beautiful in their own unique ways, I also know a few special breeds are considered "fan favorites," so to speak. And pugs are definitely a top contender.

We all know someone who's obsessed with these pint-sized, googly-eyed pups. They've quickly become the go-to breed for anyone looking to invite a dog into their home, largely because they're both a manageable size and because they're just so darn cute.

But after seeing this nightmare-inducing MRI scan of a pug, I think it's safe to say their cuteness is strictly superficial because yikes.

Last month, comedian Andy Richter shared an MRI scan of his friend's pug, and it definitely got the internet's attention.

The admittedly horrifying snap quickly went viral, racking up over 131,000 likes and nearly 16,000 retweets.

The pup's bulging eyes and reptilian face was enough to startle the people of Twitter who definitely weren't expecting to ever see this side of a pug in their lifetime.

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For the most part, people seemed amused, if not slightly terrified, by the unflattering scan.

"ET is sick I think," one cheeky user quipped, while another added, "Why does this look like a scan of Darth Vader?"

Some even maintained that the scanned pug is still adorable despite its inherent monochromatic creepiness, as this user wrote: "He's cute even in an x-ray."

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As funny as it is, animal experts say this MRI scan actually serves as a reminder of the damaging effects of human breeding.

Dr. Rory Cowlam, a UK-based veterinarian, told the Independent that what we see in this viral photo is a concerning look inside the body of an animal that humans have selectively bred for years in an effort to create the "cutest" pug possible.

"We have, through human selection, bred them to look more like a human baby because we find that cute," Dr. Cowlam said. "But, unfortunately that cute look is not very good for the animal."

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Indeed, the MRI image shows that these flat-nosed, wide-eyed dogs have been unnaturally bred to the point of having serious health issues.

Unsplash | Colin Horn

Dr. Cowlam explained their "odd-looking" appearance is due to a condition called "brachycephalism" which can be found in other similar breeds, like French bulldogs and Shi Tzus.

Brachycephalic dogs suffer from a wide range of medical conditions as a result of their altered physiology, including spinal problems and difficulty breathing.

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Pugs snore and wheeze regularly because their squashed noses have made breathing extremely laborious for their tiny bodies.

Unsplash | JC Gellidon

Dr. Cowlam cautioned people from going to breeders to adopt a pug or other brachycephalic dog and encouraged those adamant on having a pug to "do real research into the breeding."

There are some specialist breeders now who are actively trying to undo some of the pug's most serious health problems by lengthening their snouts.

"But," Dr. Cowlam said, "there are lots of irresponsible breeders out there just looking for a quick buck."

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For anyone concerned about the specific pug in Richter's post, he later shared an update to qualm any fears.

He assured the dog's fans that this particular pug "has a clean bill of health," and even included a snap of the doggo in question enjoying some afternoon sunshine and looking awfully nonplussed about its newfound viral stardom.

h/t: Independent

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