A Little About Brachycephalic Dogs

When a person refers to ‘brachycephalic’ this refers to dogs bred to have short/flat noses. You will commonly see this in (though not restricted to) breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Boston Terriers and Pekingese. This breed trait can lead to breathing problems due to their face structure being squished and placing pressure on their respiratory system, which in turn reduces their ability to take in air. Also commonly the skin folds of these breeds can create issues requiring surgical correction.

Will My Dog Need Surgical Correction?

Many brachycephalic dogs suffer in some form, however this can be slight enough they go their entire life without too great of issue. In more severe cases you will see your pet in respiratory distress. This can range from being easily short of breath to collapsing from activity. There can also be digestive troubles. If your dog displays loud breathing and snoring it’s a good idea to have them checked by the vet. Also if they are regularly gagging or regurgitating.

If these signs show, typically we will recommend a CT scan to study the structure of the skull and associated soft tissues, with a particular interest in the nasal cavities and soft palate. This will allow the vets to decide if surgically widening the nares and shortening the soft palate (most common surgery) or other options are recommended for your pets health.

Common Signs of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)?

  • Snoring while resting or during exercise
  • Vocal breathing at rest or during exercise
  • Difficulty breathing when exercising or playing
  • Frequent nasal discharge
  • Poor tolerance to heat stress
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Regular regurgitation & vomiting
  • Collapse during or after active behaviours
  • Slow to recover from exercise or playtime

Why Bring my Pet to Veterinary Associates for Investigation & Treatment?

Veterinary Associates Takanini offer the highest quality of care and have  a reputation for doing so at reasonable pricing. Led by Dr Andrew Bootle, the Takanini Vet are committed to servicing their local community with the highest standard of veterinary care. We are well regarded by breeders in the area for these reasons and our surgeons and wider team have a extensive experience in the treatment of dog with BOAS.

Brachycephalic surgery

Here at Veterinary Associates Takanini we take pride in our extensive experience with treating brachycephalic animals (animals with a shortened muzzle) and our staff are experts in catering to their specific needs.

Our veterinarians and nurses have undergone specific training in handling brachycephalic breeds including anaesthetic monitoring and post-surgery care, to ensure your animal is receiving the best treatment.

We also offer a number of surgical services catered towards all brachycephalic breeds including, but not limited to:

  • Nares reconstruction
  • Soft palate correction surgery
  • Everted sacculectomy
  • Luxating Patella surgery
  • Penn Hip scoring
  • Entropion surgery
  • Cherry eye correction
  • Tracheostomy

Soft palate surgery

We see large numbers of brachycephalic animals that have elongated soft palates. Elongated soft palate is a condition where the soft muscular part of the top of the mouth extends past the top of the epiglottis. This can partially block the throat and cause difficulty breathing, loud snoring and feeding-related problems. If left untreated the symptoms can worsen over time and lead to episodes of collapse and even be life threatening. The aim of soft palate surgery is to remove part of the soft palate that is obstructing the air flow and help improve breathing. This helps our patients breathe easier and have happier lives.

Nares reconstruction

Stenotic nares are part of the brachycephalic syndrome and contribute to increased upper respiratory breathing difficulties. As part of the training our vets make a specific point in assessing patients for signs of stenotic nares from an early age. Widening the nares early on can help ease airflow from an early age which will have a positive health effect on your animal. When done early it can help prevent your animal from developing any further breathing problems.

Everted sacculectomy

Everted saccules occur when the soft tissue in front of the vocal folds get swollen and pulled into the airway. This often occurs with stenotic nares and elongated soft palates in brachycephalic syndrome. This causes the airway to be narrowed and increases breathing difficulties and can lead to collapsing larynx and trachea. If the saccules are found to be everted they are removed at the time of soft palate surgery.

Cherry eye correction

Cherry eye (also known as a prolapsed tear gland, prolapsed third eyelid or prolapsed nictitating membrane) is a condition where the tear gland in the third eyelid gets enlarged and flips over. When this happens it can be seen as a round pink to red bubble in front of your pets eye. While this isn’t painful it can easily be rubbed by your pet which can cause damage and/or infection. Surgical correction by replacing the gland is usually required and is done here regularly by our vets.