Certain breeds of dogs and cats are prone to difficult, obstructive breathing because of the shape of their head, muzzle and throat. The most common dogs affected are the “brachycephalic” breeds. Brachycephalic means “short-headed.” Common examples of brachycephalic dog breeds include the English bulldog, French bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, and Boston terrier. These dogs have been bred to have relatively short muzzles and noses and, because of this, the throat and breathing passages in these dogs are frequently undersized or flattened.
Dottie is a pug that her owners reported was struggling to breath was becoming reluctant to exercise . On her clinical exam Dottie was found to have very little airflow through her left nostril (we call it a stenotic or narrowed nostril or nares).
The term Brachycephalic Syndrome (BOAS) refers to the combination of elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and everted laryngeal saccules, Elongated soft palate is a condition where the soft palate is too long so that the tip of it protrudes into the airway and interferes with movement of air into the lungs.
Stenotic Nares are malformed nostrils that are narrow or collapse inward during inhalation, making it difficult for the dog to breathe through its nose.
Everted Laryngeal Saccules is a condition in which tissue within the airway, just in front of the vocal cords, is pulled into the trachea (windpipe) and partially obstructs airflow.
Some dogs with brachycephalic syndrome may also have a narrow trachea (windpipe), collapse of the larynx (the cartilages that open and close the upper airway), or paralysis of the laryngeal cartilages.
However in a conscious animal it is very difficult to assess the other conditions but equally having these conditions can make anaesthesia very difficult so we thought we would utilise the skills of Catherine Sturgeon roving soft tissue specialist. Luckily Catherine was able to make Dottie’s nostrils bigger. The surgery in general can have post op complications including swelling but just two days post op Dottie was doing well and there was less swelling than expected.
Dottie needed her stitches removed under sedation a couple of weeks later and her owners were thrilled with how well she was doing already back bossing everyone around! The photo does her no favours the way she is being held makes her look very grumpy!