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Health Concerns For Brachycephalic Dogs

Posted In: Canine Health & Wellness

Who doesn’t love a smooshed-face dog?! They are adorable and lovable. Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzu’s, oh my! There are quite a few breeds that have a shorter head and a nose that is pushed in. They are actually called ‘brachycephalic’ dogs.

Unfortunately, all this cuteness can come at a price. Many brachycephalic dogs have abnormalities in their upper airway, which can make it difficult for the dog to breathe. They may breathe loudly, snore, and make snorting noises.  More severe symptoms are coughing, gagging, or fainting after exercise or in hot weather.

Some abnormalities that we see in brachycephalic dogs:

-Stenotic nares are narrow or small nostrils. Stenotic nares restrict the air that comes in through the nostrils. Surgery can be very effective, as it can create an unobstructed pathway for the air to flow.

-Most brachycephalic dogs have an elongated soft palate that covers more of the throat than it should. While some dogs with an elongated soft palate snore or pant heavily, some may need surgery to decrease the size.

-Brachycephalic dogs tend to have eyes that stick out farther from their head or have eyelids that don’t completely cover the eye. This could make them vulnerable to vision problems or eye injuries.

-The trachea can be too narrow in some brachycephalic dogs. This makes it difficult to pant, and could lead to heat stroke quickly if the dog cannot cool himself down effectively.

If you have questions about your dog’s breathing, give us a call! We are happy to schedule an examination and discuss options if your dog has an abnormality in his or her airway.

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.