Does your dog wake you up at night with his snoring? Does your dog get tired easily and seem to have trouble breathing after exercising? Does your dog have a flat face? If you answered yes to all three questions, they’ll all related. In fact, there is a name for what your dog is experiencing.
Brachycephalic Syndrome is the term given to a set of conditions that can, and often do occur in the brachycephalic breeds. Brachycephalic (brake’-ee-sef-al’-ik) means: short, wide-headed. Examples include Boston Terriers, Boxers, Pekingeses, English Bulldogs, Shih Tzus and Pugs.
The three most common physical abnormalities that contribute to a flat-faced dog’s ability to breath are stenotic nares (pinched nose), an elongated soft palate, and everted laryngeal saccules.
For dogs with stenotic nares, they have trouble breathing in enough air through their noses. Imagine having to breath only through a coffee straw!
Dogs with an elongated soft palate sometimes struggle to breath and often snore very loudly because of the extra tissue that is occupying the space that they need to breathe in the back of their throat.
Eversion of thelaryngeal saccules is the least common of the three components of brachycephalic syndrome, but when it occurs, the extra tissue in the airway reduces the amount of air that the dog can take in, especially when the dog is exercising.
All of these conditions are surgically correctable. A surgical laser is very helpful for dogs with a long soft palate, in particular. For the dogs that struggle with one or more of these conditions, surgical correction significantly improves the quality of their life because they can breathe easier with every single breath.
If your dog seems to have difficulty breathing, or if they are breathing very noisily, let’s talk about what can be done to make their life easier and more comfortable.