Pugs, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, & Boxers all have something in common: that familiar, endearing, smooshed-in face. There’s a name for that adorable face: brachycephalic. These breeds are considered brachycephalic breeds & all possess the flat face, pushed-up 👃 , narrow nostrils, & large 👀 .
Unfortunately, because of this peculiar anatomy, brachycephalic dogs often have a hard time breathing & have respiratory abnormalities. This condition is known as brachycephalic syndrome, & it is characterized by one or more of the following:
- An elongated soft palate
- Stenotic nares
- Everted Laryngeal Saccules
- A narrow trachea
Ever notice that Bulldogs do a lot of snorting? That’s probably due to an elongated soft palate.
The soft palate is the soft part at the back of the roof of the mouth that separates the nasal passages from the mouth. In brachcephalic breeds, the soft palate often extends into the throat & may partially block the trachea, or windpipe.
As bad as those snorts sound, an elongated soft palate actually isn’t usually a big issue & doesn’t generally cause significant respiratory distress. However, lots of barking & panting can cause the tissue to swell, which can lead to breathing problems & respiratory distress. To help correct this problem in excitable dogs that like to bark & pant a lot, the elongated soft palate can be surgically corrected.
Stenotic nares is the medical term referring to narrowing of the nostrils. This can limit the airflow, making breathing through the nose difficult. If the nostrils are extremely narrow & cause significant breathing problems, corrective surgery is possible.