We were lucky enough to meet the gorgeous Pugley when he came in for corrective surgery with our staff surgeon as he was suffering from Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome.
Brachycephalic dogs such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Pekingese can suffer from this syndrome as they have been purposely bred to have 'pushed in' or short faces. In pursuit of this cosmetic appearance, they can unfortunately suffer from a combination of compromising problems associated with redundant tissue in the airways, which means that these dogs are at risk of airway obstruction and heat stress.
The different aspects of the syndrome include:
- Stenotic nares: This is when the dog’s nostrils are severely narrowed leaving only a small opening. Surgery can be performed to widen the nostrils.
- Elongated soft palate: This is when the soft palate, which separates the nasal passage from the oral cavity, extends too far down the back of the throat, creating snorting and snoring sounds. Panting and excessive barking can result in swelling of the tissues in the throat which can worsen the obstruction. The soft palate can be surgically trimmed.
- Everted saccules: This is a secondary problem that occurs when a dog has had an increased effort in breathing over a period of time. The larynx has two small pockets called ventricles or saccules that will actually turn inside out due to negative pressure within the airways. When this occurs, the everted saccules need to be surgically snipped.
- Laryngeal collapse: This is another secondary problem in which the whole larynx collapses in response to prolonged and excessive negative pressure within the airway. This condition is very difficult to treat surgically, so it is important that owners are aware of their dog’s syndrome and have their dog’s airways assessed and operated on to prevent this from occurring.
- Tracheal stenosis: This is where the dog's windpipe may be dangerously narrowed in places. This condition is life threatening and should be ruled out by chest radiographs prior to any surgical procedures.
During the Pugley's procedure, our surgeon widened his nostrils, elongated the soft palate, and removed the saccules.
As we are now coming into the warmer months, it is particularly important to keep these dogs in mind. Brachycephalic dogs are predisposed to heat stress as these upper respiratory obstructions cause the dog to pant inefficiently (panting is the cooling mechanism in the dog). These dogs are also at risk of the airways becoming inflamed and swollen from all of the extra work required to breathe. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further over-heating. Being overweight can even further compromise the airways.
Pugley is recovering well from his surgery and is looking forward to breathing easy this coming summer.
If you have any health concerns about your pet, please contact us on 9489 2195.