What is a brachycephalic dog?

Brachycephaly is a greek term used to describe “short”. Brachycephalic dogs have a short face or short muzzle appearance. These dogs have wonderful temperaments and hence, are a commonly chosen breed to have as a pet. However, what is normal for a “brachy” dog is not necessarily normal for a dog in general.

To name a few: Pugs, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, British Bulldogs, Australian Bulldogs, American bully

What is brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) ?

This syndrome has a complex pathophysiology behind it. To the public and owners the most commonly seen trait is the narrow or stenotic nostrils. However, there are many other components to consider as well. These may include a long soft palate, excess tissue at the back of the throat, abnormal development of the bones within the nose, collapse or weakness of the larynx, inflamed/enlarged tonsils, herniation.

What symptoms should I look out for?

  • Reduced exercise tolerance particularly during the warmer months
  • Lots of noise/panting/stertor after exercise
  • Difficulty sleeping and loud snoring
  • Indications of heat stress
  • Vomiting or regurgitation after exercise or eating

When is surgery recommended and what is involved?

We recommend surgery once the dogs are mature. Often this is around 10-12 months of age. Surgery unfortunately, doesn’t cure the problem but will significantly delay the progression and allow these dogs to live a comfortable life.

As a generalisation, most dogs will require widening of the nostrils and shortening of the soft palate. Sometimes excess tissue is removed along with the tonsils. The surgery varies from patient to patient and hence a physical examination and an examination of the airway under sedation is very important for a personalised treatment. In complex cases a CT scan of the head may be needed to assess your dogs anatomy.

Call us on 9673 1106 to discuss further or to arrange a consultation with our experienced vets.

A patient that required bilateral wedge alarplasty (widening of the nostrils)

A patient that required a partial staphylectomy, note the long soft palate that has been shortened