Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) in Dogs

During recent years, an increasing number of dogs throughout the UK have required veterinary treatment in order to ease or correct problems with their airways and improve their overall respiratory health. Garston Vets is able to offer a three-part corrective procedure for the breeds most commonly affected by this condition.

If you are concerned that restricted airways are impacting the health and welfare of your dog, we would recommended a thorough examination and discussion with one of our vets that perform these operations.


Call us to make a ‘Breathe Easy’ appointment


What is BOAS?

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is a recognised condition predominantly affecting certain dog breeds with shorter muzzles, flatter noses and wide shaped heads, known as brachycephalic breeds (‘brachy’ meaning short, and ‘cephalic’, meaning head).

The soft tissues of the nose and throat in some brachycephalic dogs may be excessive and can lead to a partial obstruction of their airways. This makes it difficult for these dogs to breathe normally, causing noisy breathing and often heavy panting. This condition 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 regurgitates
  • Sleep – excessive snoring and may wake themselves up when they can’t catch a breath properly

Some dogs may seem to cope quite well, or perhaps people consider the issue “normal for the breed”, but dogs with these features have been selectively bred over the years for their appearance, 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, general anaesthesia and surgery are far less risky in terms of maintaining an open airway if the symptoms are only mild or caught early.


Which dog breeds are brachycephalic?

Some of the most popular brachycephalic dog breeds include French Bulldogs, Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Boxers, and Pekingese.


Breathe Easy BOAS Procedures at Garston Vets

We offer a health assessment by specially trained vets at Garston Vets in Frome to give owners help and guidance and identify those dogs which may benefit from corrective surgery. If your pet subsequently requires surgery the cost of this initial consultation will be-reimbursed. Clients of Garston Vets may call us to book their pets initial consultation, however, patients registered elsewhere must be referred to us by their own veterinary surgeon via email.

The operation involves all or some of the following:

  1. Widening the nostrils (Fig. 1)
  2. Shortening an elongated soft palate – excessive soft tissue that hangs down from the roof of the mouth at the back of the throat (Fig. 2)
  3. Removing saccules in the larynx – excessive soft tissue in the opening of the windpipe – if they are causing an obstruction (Fig. 3)


brachycephalic dog breed nostrills

brachycephalic dog breed head

brachycephalic dog breed airway


Breathe Easy BOAS Procedure Safety

At Garston Vets in Frome, we have been developing the safest and most up-to-date procedure possible with our veterinary team to ensure your dog is cared for in the calmest and most secure manner. We have state-of-the-art sterile operating theatres and equipment, and excellent veterinary facilities.

Your dog will be monitored constantly from the time of premedication, throughout surgery, and postoperatively during recovery – they will go home when we are happy that they are breathing easily and able to swallow food. The sutures we use are absorbable and do not need removing.

Your dog will have a short course of pain relief and 2 post-operative check-ups. After 10 days, dogs have usually recovered well and can go back to exercise. Post-op, BOAS patients should go on to enjoy a better quality of life being able to breathe much more easily.

BOAS corrective surgery costs

Specific surgical techniques and specialised equipment are required to perform BOAS surgery on dogs. Postoperatively, your pet will have intensive close monitoring with a dedicated nurse and a vet on hand should any complications arise.

The cost of the BOAS procedure is £2,800 (incl. VAT) for dogs under 15kg, and £2,950 for dogs over 15kg.  This cost includes:

  • Anaesthesia
  • Surgical equipment and time
  • Pre and post-operative critical care monitoring
  • Overnight hospitalisation (if appropriate)
  • Drugs and medications
  • Interventions in the immediate postoperative period if required
  • Post-operative check-ups

Breathe Easy BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome) procedures are performed at our Frome veterinary surgery where we are staffed 24 hours a day.

You may also wish to discuss with your Pet Insurance company if they cover this type of procedure.