BRACHYCEPHALIC SYNDROME TREATMENTVeterinary surgical treatment can help dogs that are experiencing difficulty breathing.
Brachycephalic syndrome refers to a variety of respiratory conditions that result in difficulty breathing. This disorder affects Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers.
Pet owners will notice loud snoring and snorting that worsens with exercise. However, even mild cases should be monitored as dogs may worsen with time.
Upon examination from your surgeon, dogs may exhibit one or more of the following conditions:
- Elongated soft palate
- Stenotic nares (narrow nasal passages)
- Everted laryngeal saccules
- Hypoplastic (reduced size) trachea
- Laryngeal collapse
The combined effect of these symptoms is difficulty breathing. In severe cases, labored breathing may lead to swelling in the throat area causing further obstruction. This results in cyanosis (a purple or blue tongue indicating a lack of sufficient oxygen), fainting, heat stroke, or death.
Dogs with moderate to severe symptoms should be treated surgically; stenotic nares, elongated soft palate and everted laryngeal saccules can be partially removed.
This resulting larger opening allows air to pass more easily through the upper respiratory tract. Dogs are usually hospitalized one night and discharged the following day. They need to be kept relatively confined for two weeks and eat soft foods for at least one week. Risks of surgery are rare but include anesthesia, aspiration, pneumonia, and continued progression of disease resulting in laryngeal collapse. Despite these risks, surgical treatment can prevent a respiratory crisis and improve quality life.
WestVet surgeons have a great deal of experience with treating brachycephalic syndrome and other upper respiratory malfunctions.
Hypoplastic trachea is usually not a major contributor to respiratory compromise and cannot be treated surgically.
Laryngeal collapse is a complex process that results in the cartilages of the larynx becoming soft and uncoordinated over time; the resulting collapse can result in severe respiratory problems. While some experimental work is being done in this area, one of the most common treatments for this problem is permanent tracheostomy. Laryngeal collapse can occur as a secondary result of other brachycephalic syndrome conditions.
Please see your family veterinarian for a referral for a consultation with a WestVet surgeon, feel to contact us with any questions at 208.375.1600.