Does Your Dog Have Breathing Troubles

Does Your Dog Have Breathing Troubles

Does your dog snore, snuffle, snort and have a history of noisy breathing? Does it not cope well with exercise? Does it sometimes have difficulty breathing when it is worked up or hot? If this is the case for your pet then it may have Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome.

This common condition tends to affect short-nosed (or “brachycephalic”) breeds of dog. It is most prevalent in the French Bulldog, English Bulldog, Pug, Pekingese and Boston Terrier breeds of dog.

This syndrome is caused by a combination of, or all of, the following abnormalities in these particular breeds.

- Stenotic nares

Stenotic nares are nostrils which are too narrow and collapse inwards when the dog inhales. This makes it very difficult and sometimes impossible for your dog to breathe with its mouth closed, causing discomfort and distress in your pet.

- Elongated soft palate

Sometimes the soft palate is so long that its tip extends into the entrance of the trachea, which partly blocks your dog’s airway and makes breathing difficult or distressing for your pet.

- Everted Laryngeal Saccules

There are two saccules which sit inside the larynx. These can be pulled into the trachea due to negative pressure, which causes your dog’s airway to become even more narrow and further restricts its ability to breathe.

These three abnormalities can cause breathing to be a chore for your pet, and can cause it distress. Not only is this an unpleasant experience, but your dog will feel like this constantly.

The Symptoms

If your dog is affected by Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is may display the following symptoms:

  • Snoring and snorting
  • Noisy breathing
  • Blue gums or tongue
  • Gagging, retching or coughing
  • Tiring easily with exercise
  • Collapse, fainting and potentially death

These symptoms can get worse if your dog gets too excited or overactive, is obese, or is exposed to excessive humidity or heat.

These symptoms won’t just disappear either; they will get worse over time and you must consider treatment if your dog is becoming distressed due to its inability to breathe! It is vital to get this syndrome treated to prevent the potential of collapsing episodes, gradually worsening breathing or even death.


Treating this syndrome involves a surgical procedure to open up your dog’s nares, shorten its soft palate and remove the everted laryngeal saccules. This will help your dog breathe easier by removing some of the blockages to the flow of air into the body. This also can reduce the distress caused by not being able to breathe properly and the chance of long term serious impacts to its health. The earlier pets can be treated for this syndrome the better the prognosis often is.