Dog Health: Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Dog | Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

An Introduction to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Dr Erin Coomer - Veterinarian (July 2013)

Brachycephalic is a label given to any of the ‘squishy’ faced dogs, like a British Bulldog.

These dogs are adorable, but they certainly have special needs that any owner or potential owner needs to be aware of. 

The label Brachycephalic is for any of the following ‘short faced’ or ‘squishy’ breeds:

  British BulldogFrench Bulldog • PekingesePug • Shih Tzu  Boston Terrier  Boxer

Dog Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome information

Causes of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Affected dogs are born with any or all of the following problems. 

  Stenotic Nares.  This means small nostrils. 

  Elongated Soft Palate.  The soft palate is the tissue in the back of the throat.  These dogs have an excess amount of this tissue, so it hangs down towards the larynx.  A...
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Symptoms of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Symptoms may change depending on the age, exercise demands, and weather conditions.

  Snoring when sleeping

  Snorting/Noisy breathing

  Exercise intolerance


  Panting (more than you’d expect) and overheating

  Retching, vomiting and gagging

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Treatment of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Discuss this syndrome with your Veterinarian.  He/She will help you determine how much of a concern this is for your dog. 

A diagnosis of ‘stenotic nares’ is made by simply looking at your dog.

An oral examination under sedation is required to look at the soft palate and the laryngeal saccules. 

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