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Brachycephalic Breeds

Caring for Brachycephalic Dogs

Brachycephalic (short-headed) syndrome is a very real condition affecting certain dog (and cat) breeds, including Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, Boxers, and others. The thing that all of these breeds have in common is a flat face and a short, broad skull that results in a flattened or undersized throat and breathing passage. Some of the main issues these breeds have include:

  • An elongated soft palate
  • Stenotic nares – narrow, malformed nostrils that collapse inward when the dog inhales
  • Everted Laryngeal Saccules – when tissue in the airway partially obstructs airflow through the trachea (windpipe)
  • A collapsed larynx
  • Narrow trachea
  • Gastric reflux
  • Obesity
  • Overheating

Before

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After

Signs Your Dog Has Trouble Breathing

  • It can be easy to overlook certain signs as merely being characteristics of the breed, but these can actually point to a serious health problem. If your dog is having difficulty breathing, they might be:

    • Breathing very noisily
    • Retching or gagging when they swallow
    • Showing intolerance for exercise
    • Snoring loudly and making exaggerated breathing movements while sleeping

    Furthermore, since these breeds are often reluctant to exercise, this can lead to weight gain, which further hinders their breathing ability.

Helping Your Dog Stay Comfortable and Safe

  • There are several things you can do to increase your pet’s quality of life and make them more comfortable overall:

    • Regulated activity that ensures they get much-needed exercise, but without overexertion
    • Keeping your dog indoors when it’s very hot and humid outside—dogs regulate their body temperature by panting, and since brachycephalic breeds cannot breath as efficiently, they are at risk of overheating quickly
    • Managing your pet’s weight with the help of a prescribed diet and frequent, but short, intervals of exercise (talk to us about improving your pet’s lifestyle)

Treatment Options

In addition to helping your pet at home, you can also speak with us about ways we can improve their condition. Our team can provide surgery to correct elongated soft palates and narrow nasal passages, and we can offer further advice for making their life a happier one.

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Consider Getting Pet Health Insurance

Due to their unique head and body shape, brachycephalic breeds are prone to having more medical issues than most other breeds, including the unique airway challenges mentioned above. Pet health insurance can be a life saver should an unforeseen medical problem arise. We recommend learning more about these insurance providers:

Contact us at (770) 479-7141 for more information about your pet’s condition or your pet insurance options. We’re always here to help you!

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