Asterix is our Pet Of The Month for August! He is a one year old French Bulldog, and came to see vet Anna Riddoch at the end of June after suffering from breathing difficulties. French Bulldogs are one of several brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds, which unfortunately suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). This is due to them having a compacted skeleton, causing a number of malformations in their airways, spine and their tails - but have normal amounts of skin and soft tissue. Their soft tissue is therefore excessive for their skeleton. This causes skin folds on their faces and bodies, as well as inside the body - causing obstructions in their airway. In Asterix’s case he had been born with stenotic nares, meaning that his nostrils were extremely narrowed and essentially blocked themselves when he attempted to breathe. Surgery can be performed to aid passage of air through the nostrils, by resecting away the excessive tissue and opening up the nares. Asterix’s owner opted to go ahead with the surgery, which was performed by Anna on the 14th August. The surgery involved removing a wedge of tissue from each nostril to open up the airway. He was sent home to recover the same evening and came back to see the vet a week later. At his post-operative check his owner reported that he was breathing much better, also Asterix was sleeping better and snoring a lot less.
Well done to Asterix and his owner for their diligent care of him throughout his recovery, and to the veterinary team that cared for him.
Unfortunately all brachycephalic dogs suffer from BOAS to some degree. Some are more affected than others, with the minimally affected ones often living their entire life without showing much distress. The more affected ones however will show various degrees of respiratory distress or digestive troubles, ranging from being occasionally short of breath to collapsing during exercise. Therefore much consideration and research must be put into deciding whether to get a brachycephalic breed, and it is always worth seeking veterinary advice before purchasing a puppy if you are unsure.