Breathing Problems in Brachycephalic Dog Breeds
Table of Contents
"Flat faced brachycephalic dog breeds such
as bulldogs suffer from multiple medical problems due to preferences
for dogs with a flatter face and pushed-in noses. One of the most
prevalent problems are breathing issues
referred to as brachycephalic airway syndrome. Brachycephalic airway
syndrome (BAS) refers to several
respiratory problems that affect the dog's mouth, throat and nose.
One way to reduce or prevent breathing related problems is by keeping
flat faced breeds at a healthy
weight. This can ease breathing related difficulties and can help to
avoid surgery in mild cases.
Early diagnosis and treatment an result in a better outcome. Most dogs have multiple breathing problems that need to be corrected. If there is only one defect, such as a narrowing of the nostrils (called stenotic nares), the better the prognosis. The prognosis for dogs under 2 is higher than for older dogs. Surgical correction can result in a much better quality of life for the dog.
Brachycephalic dogs can be prone to eye problems, dry eye, eye irritation and eyes that appear to pop out (proptosis). They are also prone to panting due to heat stress.
Examples of Flat-faced Brachycephalic Breeds. The term brachycephalic is a Greek term for "shortened head." These breeds are known for their shortened facial bones that give the face a pushed-in appearance. The shorter bone structure results in proportionately excessive amount of soft tissue in and around their throats and noses, causing dog breathing problems such as heavy breathing or panting.
Brachycephalic Syndromes can lead to sudden death due to acute airway collapse that results from airway obstruction due to many of the issues described below (see bottom of page for free brochures on the condition).