With the warm weather upon us we are now seeing dogs, especially French Bulldogs, Bulldogs and Pugs, struggling with the heat. In hot weather dogs pant to cool themselves but because flat-faced dogs don’t pant efficiently, some are prone to overheating.
Coco' Courtesy of Paul Holmes and Annabel Davis 

French bulldogs and Pugs often suffer from "BOAS"
The medical term for flat-faced is “brachycephalic” from the Greek meaning ‘short head’. Brachycephalic dogs that snore, snort or honk do so because the flow of air through their upper airways is obstructed, usually by a combination of narrow nostrils and a too long soft palate. Frenchies, Pugs and Bulldogs with this anatomical “accident” have “brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome” or “BOAS”. Dogs with BOAS are very susceptible to overheating and developing potentially serious breathing difficulties, especially in hot conditions.

Dogs with BOAS breathe loudly, may pant or drool or find it difficult to sleep soundly and have reduced tolerance for vigorous exercise. Regurgitating or vomiting are other common conditions that dogs with BOAS suffer from.

We get so used to Pugs, Frenchies and Bulldogs breathing and sleeping loudly we think of it as normal but it isn’t. It’s obstructive airway disease or “BOAS” and it can be fixed through relative simple surgery. 

Narrowed nostrils
Dogs with narrowed nostrils (stenotic nares) often breathe through their mouths. The four classifications of nostril shape are: 

Open nostrils - wide opening.

Mild stenosis - Slight narrowing of the nostrils. 

Moderate stenosis - The top part of the nostrils are closed, only the bottom of the nostrils allow air to pass through. During exercise the nostrils cannot open so there may be nasal flaring (the facial muscles try to enlarge the nostrils). 

Severe stenosis - Nostrils are almost closed. Dogs may switch to open mouth breathing with very gentle exercise or stress. 

Dogs with moderate to severe nostril narrowing benefit from having their nostrils reshaped back to normal. Removing a little cartilage from each nostril immediately improves airflow.

Reference: Liu N-C, Troconis  EL, Kalmar L, Price DJ, Wright HE, Adams VJ, et al. (2017). Conformational risk factors of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) in pugs, French bulldogs and bulldogs, PLoS ONE 12(8): e0181928.

Overlong soft palate
An overlong soft palate dangles down at the back of the throat and obstructs air getting into the windpipe. This obstruction causes a dog to make a greater effort to breathe and in turn this causes inflammation of the throat and sometimes the windpipe. 

Surgically removing the excess flap of soft palate and by doing so converting the soft palate to a normal shape results in an immediate reduction in airway obstruction.

Happy Hugo
Hugo came in to London Vet Clinic in May after his owner suspected he had BOAS. He has always made loud snoring noises and struggled to breathe quietly when he was excited, playing or exercising. In hot weather, Hugo’s level of activity dropped. After a full assessment Hugo had surgery to widen his nostrils and shorten his overly long soft palate.

Hugo’s moderately stenosed nostrils were widened.


Hugo 10 days later

Hugo after op.jpg


“Hugo was immediately breathing significantly better straight out of surgery. He is no longer snoring nor battling in the heat. It is truly amazing and has improved his quality of life no end. This is a must for any Frenchies that have breathing issues. Jo did an incredible job, so neat, and Hugo hasn’t been in pain at all

David Jacobs 27/06/2019

Homepage  •   Contact   •   Privacy Notice   •   Terms & Conditions   •   Sitemap

Website by: