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Brachycephalic Syndrome in Dogs.

When it comes to discussing brachycephalic syndrome (BOAS) in dogs, we here at IndulgeYourPet are a bit torn.  You see, brachycephalic syndrome is a medical term used to define the a “pathological” condition that typically affects “short” nosed dogs.

The problem is…

That most of the dog breeds that are affected by brachycephalic syndrome, are affected by it specifically because the affected breed has been bred to have a “short” nose!

And if you’re like us…

Many of the dog breeds that are affected by brachycephalic syndrome just happen to be some of our favorites!

For example, breeds that commonly suffer from this “syndrome” will include:

  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Bull Mastiffs
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chihuahuas
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Chow Chows
  • English Bulldog
  • English Toy Spaniels
  • French Bulldog
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Pekingnese
  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu

But it’s important to point out that…

Dogs aren’t the only ones affected by brachycephalic syndrome, some cat breeds may also suffer from this condition as well.

Cat breed that are at an increased risk will include:

  • Himalayans
  • Ragdolls
  • And Persians.

So, at this point…

Now that we’ve pretty much pointed out that a lot of our favorite dog and cat breeds are at risk for developing brachycephalic syndrome, we might as well take a moment and describe what this syndrome actually is and what if anything we can do to prevent it in our furry family members.

Brachycephalic syndrome

Brachycephalic syndrome (BOAS) is a term used to describe a host of potential issues that could affect certain dog breeds that have been breed to have a short nose and a high “domed” forehead.

Brachycephalic Syndrome…

Is not a medical condition that occurs by accident.  Instead, it is the direct result of specific breeding designed to create a desired appearance which includes a short nose and a somewhat “squished face”.

As a result…

These dogs tend to have an “excess” of soft tissues in their upper airways.  Which causes these dogs to experience difficulty breathing normally.

Upper airway abnormalities that may occur can include:

  • Stenotic nares.
    • Nostrils that are pinched or narrowed.
  • Elongated soft palate.
  • Hypoplastic trachea.
    • Which could lead to laryngeal collapse.
  • Everted laryngeal saccules or everted larynx.
  • Complications with the arytenoid cartilage.

Clinical signs and symptoms of brachycephalic obstruction airway syndrome

Will often include:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Noisy or labored breathing.
  • Snoring and/or grunting.
  • Exercise intolerant.
  • Heat and/or stress intolerant.

Now it should be pointed out that while most brachycephalic dog breeds will suffer from this syndrome to some extent, certain dog breeds such as English Bulldogs and Pugs will tend to exhibit more severe symptoms than say a Boxer or a Chow Chow.


Even within certain breeds, the severity of this syndrome can very significantly from one dog to another.

This is why…

If you are considering adopting or purchasing a dog that is theoretically considered a brachycephalic dog breed, be sure to work only with a reputable dog breeder that is aware of this condition and “breeds” accordingly.  It would also be a good idea to avoid adopting any dog when you’re not able to physically exam that puppy’s parents to visually rule out any obvious health concerns.

This is because…

The only true way to avoid or prevent brachycephalic syndrome from occurring is either to stop breeding these breeds entirely, or choose to breed them responsibly to at least minimize this syndromes affect that it will have on each future generation.

Treatment for brachycephalic syndrome in dogs.

Other than performing a surgical correction designed to remove any excess soft tissue or stenotic nare issues, there really isn’t all that much that one can do to improve a dog’s situation if they do in fact suffer from a server case of brachycephalic syndrome.

The good news is…

That if your dog does require a surgery to improve his or her airway, most of these surgical procedures are pretty easy to perform and don’t represent to great a risk to the health (or life) of your loved one.

That said however…

We should probably point out that anytime you start including surgical procedures to the care of your animal, you can bet that the cost of your vet visit is going to rise!  And in the case of surgically treating your dog’s brachycephalic syndrome, that cost could potentially run up to and around $1500 dollars.

Now at this point…

We generally like to remind all of our readers that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not medical professionals, and we’re certainly not veterinarians.  All we are is a bunch of folks who really love animals and want to make sure that anyone thinking about adopting an animal anytime soon fully understands that seriousness of this commitment and everything that it entails!

This is why…

We like to write articles like these so that folks can appreciate all of the potential issues that their dog (or cat) may have in the future and understand that in addition to caring for their loved one, they may also be on the hook for paying for their medical bills as well.

It’s also why…

We like to encourage anyone who is thinking about adopting a new pet to at least take a moment and see what a pet insurance policy might cost you so that if your pet does suffer from some type of illness or injury, you won’t have to burden the cost of their care on your own.  Instead, you can use your insurance to help mitigate your expenses!

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