If you are a dog lover, chances are you are also a pug lover. There is something about their snorting, gurgling, high energy demeanor that just makes them irresistible. Unfortunately, they are one of nine breeds that are prone to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS), a series of factors that cause chronic partial blockage of the airway. The other eight breeds include: Boston Terriers, English and French Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Shar-peis, English Mastiffs, Shih Tzus and Pekingese. But do not fret, there are steps you can take to help them lead more comfortable lives.
What is BAS?
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome encompasses several factors that inhibit free flow of air through the nose and trachea. These include stenotic nares, hypoplastic trachea, everted laryngeal saccule, and elongated soft palate.
This is referring to the decreased size of the nostril. In some cases, the nostrils collapse inward during inhalation, not allowing adequate air into the airway.
With this condition, the trachea (windpipe) is narrowed due to abnormal growth of the cartilaginous rings within the trachea.
Everted Laryngeal Saccule:
When tissue from the airway directly before the vocal cords gets sucked into the trachea and partially inhibits airflow.
Elongated Soft Palate:
The epiglottis is a flap that blocks off the airway while swallowing. Normally, the soft palate ends just before the epiglottis. But with this condition, the soft palate extends past the epiglottis and partially blocks the airway.
Luckily, surgical procedures exist to correct the conditions above. If you are getting your brachycephalic baby spayed/neutered, this is a great time to think about said procedures if they have been diagnosed with any of the conditions above. These surgeries are almost always referred out to veterinary surgeons, however it is always good to ask your regular veterinarian for their advice.
For the correction of stenotic nares, there are a few different options cosmetically. Most involve the resection of the outer portion of the nostril. Elongated soft palate and everted laryngeal saccules can also be surgically corrected by shortening soft palate and removing saccules. The recovery time for these procedures is typically 1-2 weeks. You can also help your pet at home by keeping exercise and stress levels down in higher temperatures and keeping them at a healthy weight. Both heat and obesity worsen symptoms.
Elongated soft palate
Everted laryngeal saccules