Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
During recent years throughout the UK an increasing number of dogs have required veterinary treatment in order to ease or correct their airways and improve overall respiratory health.
BOAS is a ‘condition’ predominantly affecting selected breeds which we identify here. If you are an owner and you or your vet believes that BOAS is impacting the health and welfare of your dog, Garston Veterinary Group is now able to offer a three-part corrective procedure.
This leaflet provides further background, and details the options that are available. As always any procedure is only recommended following a thorough examination and further discussion and agreement with the owner.
What is BOAS?
Dogs with a flat, wide shaped head are said to be brachycephalic (‘brachy’ meaning short, and ‘cephalic’, meaning head). The soft tissue in the nose and throat of some brachycephalic dogs may be excessive for the airways, partially obstructing the airway and making it difficult for them to breathe normally (causing heavy panting or noisy breathing). This condition is known as BOAS and is a progressive disorder that can impair a dog’s ability to:
- exercise and play - reduced ability, slow, may appear lazy or less inclined to go for a walk,
- eat - frequently regurgitate,
- sleep - excessive snoring and may wake themselves up when they can’t catch a breath properly.
Some dogs may seem to cope well, or perhaps it would be considered “normal for the breed”, but these dogs features have been selected and bred over the years for their cute looks, rather than for their ability to breathe easily.
The condition may deteriorate with time, so the sooner something can be done to help, the better the expected outcome. Also, the general anaesthesia and surgery is far less risky with respect to maintaining an open airway if the symptoms are only mild or caught early.
Which breeds are brachycephalic?
Popular brachycephalic breeds include, amongst others:
- French Bulldogs
- Boston Terriers
- Shih Tzus
Garston Veterinary Group is committed to improving the health of dogs affected by BOAS.
We offer a free health assessment by specially trained vets to give help and guidance, and identify those which may benefit from corrective surgery. The operation involves all, or some of the following:
widening the nostrils (Fig. 1)
shortening an elongated soft palate - excessive soft tissue that hangs down from roof of mouth at the back of the throat (Fig. 2)
removing saccules in the larynx - excessive soft tissue in the opening of the windpipe, if they are causing an obstruction (Fig. 3)
We have been developing the safest and most up to date procedure possible with our Nursing and Veterinary Team to ensure your pet is cared for in the most calm and secure manner. Your pet will be monitored constantly from the time of premedication, throughout surgery, and post-operatively until they have recovered and are breathing well.
Your pet will go home when we are happy that they are breathing easily and are able to swallow food. The sutures we use are absorbable and do not need removal. They will have a short course of pain relief and 2 post-operative check ups. After 10 days, they have usually recovered well and can go back to exercise, to enjoy a better quality of life being able to breathe much more easily!
How much does it cost?
Specific surgical techniques and specialised equipment are required to perform BOAS surgery.
Post operatively, your pet will have intensive close monitoring with a dedicated nurse and a vet on hand should any complications arise.
The cost of the procedure is £2,000 (incl. VAT). This cost includes:
- Surgical equipment and time
- Pre and post-operative critical care monitoring
- Overnight hospitalisation (if appropriate)
- Drugs and medications
- Interventions in the immediate post-operative period if required
- Post-operative check ups
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) procedures are performed at our Frome surgery only.