A Veterinary Update: Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome
The difference in soft palate thickness between average and short nosed breeds
We have found that just shortening the soft palate does not always fully resolve the problems the dog is having. A newer surgical technique has been designed to treat both the excessive length and thickness of the palate - the ‘folding flap palatoplasty’. This surgery is a little more difficult but by removing the thick portion of the palate helps to reduce even more of the obstruction and gives us better post-operative outcomes. At Massey we have been using this technique for the last five years and are really pleased with our results. At the same time as this surgery we would also treat stenotic nostrils if necessary.
If we have assessed a patient to have grade 2 or 3 digestive signs we will start treatment for reflux before any airway surgery. This would normally involve taking antacid medication for 2 weeks before surgery. We advise omeprazole (Losec) given once a day. The dose required depends on the dog’s weight and can be given each morning with breakfast. This reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach and therefore reduced the irritation and feelings of heart burn. A prescription from your vet would be needed to start this treatment.
- Key Points
- Bulldogs, pugs and other short nosed breeds should be able to exercise normally and tolerate hot days.
- Airway problems can be made worse by concurrent reflux or heart burn.
- A new surgical procedure to treat the long and thick soft palate is giving great results and better quality of life.
- Treatment of reflux is easy and if often required at the time of airway treatment for best results.
- We are also doing further research to study:
- How to measure the airway without the need for sedation or anaesthesia.
- Why the palate is so thick as well as long.
- How gastric reflux affects the soft tissues of the throat.
As well as clinical cases we would also be interested in examining dogs who are able to exercise well and do not have any airway problems so we can start to identify the important differences between normal and clinically affected dogs.
If you have any questions or are interested in discussing your dog with us please contact Kat or Jon at Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital - (06) 350 5329 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you.Kat Crosse and Jonathan Bray Companion Animal Surgery Department, Massey University