Dr Matus Gulf News
Dr Matus Ubrezi, Veterinary Surgeon, Blue Oasis Veterinary Clinic Image Credit: Supplied

Brachycephalic dog breeds are increasingly popular in the UAE, like elsewhere in the world, thanks to their adorable appearance. However, there’s a downside to their cute looks:

Flat-faced breeds such as French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, and Boxers, bred over time for short noses and small, round faces, often suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) due to their head shape and narrowed upper airways.

The compact muzzle with extra tissue in the oropharynx obstructs breathing, leading to typical snoring noises and reduced air intake. This results in a chronic lack of oxygen in the blood and can cause various complications over time, including collapsing trachea, larynx paralysis, and cardiovascular stress leading to heart failure. These risks are particularly heightened in hot climates like the UAE.

Owners of brachycephalic breeds should be vigilant for signs of fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loud snoring.

Here are ways to make life easier for your brachycephalic dog:

Maintain a healthy weight: Prevent obesity as it significantly worsens the condition.

Optimal exercise times: Walk them during cooler morning and evening hours to avoid overheating.

Exercise caution during play: Be mindful of fetch and catch games to prevent overexertion.

As veterinarians, here’s what we can do:

After evaluating your dog’s general health and assessing the size and thickness of their airways and soft palate, we’ll confirm the diagnosis of BOAS. This examination may require sedation.

If BOAS is confirmed and your dog is fit for anesthesia after a comprehensive clinical exam, blood work, and coagulation tests, we’ll recommend surgical intervention.

This surgery involves shortening the soft palate and enlarging the nasal openings, performed by our oropharyngeal surgeon with the assistance of our experienced nursing team.

Following surgery, your pet will need a soft diet and a protective collar for a few days.

This surgical intervention significantly enhances your dog’s breathing ability, leading to a less stressful, happier, and safer life. However, it’s essential to note that surgery can only alleviate congenital conditions; it cannot cure them.

If you suspect your dog has BOAS, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.