Respiratory Problems in Short Nose Dog Breeds

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Someone, who has never heard of the term short nose dog before, would assume that these are dogs with some sort of rare canine disease. However, these are very common and beloved dog breeds, pets to numerous households across the world. Here is all you need to know about these adorable creatures

What are short nose dog breeds?

Scientifically termed as Brachycephalic Dogs, these are canine breeds having extremely shortened snouts. Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus are some of the most popular breeds of Brachycephalic Dogs. This term can also be used to describe mixed breeds, which have inherited this feature from their short nosed ancestors. The differentiating factor of brachycephalic dogs from breeds that simply have smaller snouts is that their extremely short snouts, makes them look like they are completely flat-faced.

Disorders unique to short nose dog breeds

Having extremely short snouts puts these breeds at a high risk of developing a disorder termed brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). The different afflictions commonly observed in BOAS are:

A hypoplastic trachea – In this case, the trachea or windpipe of the animal, is of a smaller diameter than normal, restricting the quantity of air that can pass through the trachea at any given point of time, which also restricts the proper functioning of the respiratory system of the animal.

Stenotic Nares – In this condition, the nostrils of the animal are very narrow and small, which again restricts the amount of air that reaches the respiratory system of the animal.

Elongated Soft Palate – The soft tissues located on the roof of the mouth, is termed as the soft palate. In this case, the soft palate is too long for the length of the mouth, blocking the windpipe and restricting the passage of air in the windpipe.

Everted laryngeal saccules – Laryngeal saccules are small sacs located in the larynx of canines. In canine suffering from BOAS, these sacs can restrict airflow by turning outwards from the larynx, or being sucked into the airway owing to the extra effort put in by the animal to respire. This extra respiratory effort is a result of the animal trying to move air past their Everted laryngeal saccules or Elongated Soft Palate.

Canine suffering from BOAS can be suffering from one or more of the above-mentioned disorders.

Care for brachycephalic dogs

A brachycephalic dog should never take part in vigorous exercise, which can lead to aggravation of its existing symptoms. It is very important to keep them out of the heat, as they are susceptible to heat exhaustion and stroke, which can lead to collapse. It is important to follow a well-balanced diet in order to avoid obesity.