Brachycephalic Breeds’ Snoring Could Require Surgery

When brachycephalic breeds have difficulty breathing, cosmetic surgery is therapeutic, and owners should not worry about the change in the dog’s appearance, but instead focus on the improved health aspects of the procedure, writes veterinarian John De Jong. Born with long soft palates and pushed-in nares, brachycephalic breeds often suffer from respiratory problems; surgery to shorten the soft palate and increase the diameter of the nares can improve their quality of life.

This is common with bulldogs and all short-faced breeds including pugs, boxers, Pekingese, Lhasa apsos and Shih Tzus. These brachycephalic (short-faced) dogs have been designed with these pushed-in faces and short muzzles. The two most common congenital defects are collapsed nostrils (stenotic nares) and elongated soft palates in which the roof of the mouth is too long and catches on the epiglottis. The second condition may also cause occasional gagging noises.

Both conditions are surgically repairable. For the nose, a section of cartilage is removed. In the soft palate, a wedge of tissue is removed from the back of the mouth. While one is cosmetically visible, both relieve the dog of difficulty breathing and stop the snoring as well. In veterinary medicine we do perform some procedures that are cosmetic, but in this case your dog may be well-relieved by the ability to breathe more easily.

Don’t worry about the way he looks but rather about how he breathes. If necessary, go ahead with the surgery. You can always seek a second opinion in person as well.

John de Jong, D.V.M., is the owner/operator of Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and CEO/director at Boston Animal Hospital.

2 Responses to “Brachycephalic Breeds’ Snoring Could Require Surgery”

  1. Richard E Johnson says:

    are Bullmastiff Breeders apart of this program?

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