Brachycephalic syndrome is a condition seen in short muzzle pets (Bull dogs, Pug, Pekinese, Persian cats) that present to the veterinarians for increased upper respiratory noises (noisy breathing), and respiratory difficulties. The condition is a syndrome because involves a combination of problems, which include a long palate, a malformed nose (stenotic nares), vocal box collapse (laryngeal collapse), small wind pipe (tracheal hypoplasia), and prolapse of the saccules around the vocal box (eversion of the laryngeal saccules).
HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY PET HAS BRACHYCEPHALIC SYNDROME?
The diagnosis of brachycephalic syndrome can be obtained by the history of the patient. Most common clinical signs include noisy breathing, collapse and blue tongue (due to a decrease oxygen to the brain), and exercise intolerance. Most often to improve the flow of air into the airway, some of the patients prefer to sleep on their back. Additionally, scoping the airways by the primary care veterinarian under sedation allows to diagnose the long soft palate, everted saccules and the small trachea. Chest x-rays are also recommended to make sure that pet does not have pneumonia.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR BRACHYCEPHALIC SYNDROME?
The gold standard of care in brachycephalic patients, to prevent life threatening conditions is to shorten the soft palate with a blade (not recommended due to swelling) or laser (best). The prolapse of the saccules is corrected with laser as well. Lastly, the pinched nose (stenotic nares) can be fixed by widening the opening of the nostrils.
WHAT IS THE OUTCOME AFTER SURGERY?
The outcome after surgery is excellent in young patients, and poor in older dogs due to the collapse of the vocal box. Due to the worsening of the clinical signs i, if the syndrome is left untreated the best recommendation is to do surgery ASAP. It is very important that the patients are not stressed during the recovery, and the anxiety level should be minimized 100% to prevent swelling in the back of their mouth. t We recommend the procedure to be performed as outpatient.