Pembrokeshire SA61 1BN
Over the last few years there has been a significant shift in the UK’s most popular dog breed from Labrador to the French bulldog, and other brachycephalic (literally meaning short-headed) breeds such as Pugs and British bulldogs.
As vets, the increasing number of these breeds has been matched by seeing more of their characteristic problems, specifically the range of breathing problems they get, collectively known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).
Inevitably we do more and more corrective surgery, but are also seeing significant research and better understanding of the BOAS problems and solutions. This research is let by Cambridge Vet school, their website has details, pictures and information far beyond the scope of this blog! See here: www.vet.cam.ac.uk/boas
Signs of concern include noisy breathing, lying or resting with head in odd positions, increased breathing effort, especially breathing in where you may see the abdominal muscles working hard, shortness of breath, panting, and limited ability to exercise or even collapsing. Abnormal breathing can also lead to gastro-intestinal problems such as difficulty eating, regurgitating or vomiting.
The main problems encountered are narrow nostrils, an excessively long soft palate, and problems with the larynx.
Weight control and preventing overheating are significant factors in managing BOAS as these delicate areas of soft tissue are highly sensitive.
The take-home message is to be aware of the syndrome, alert to signs of breathing problems, keep your dog in lean condition and seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns.
Fenton Veterinary Practice
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