This lovely dog is Milly! She was referred to our soft tissue surgery team here at Wear Referrals for investigation of collapsing episodes, noisy breathing, interrupted breathing during sleep, and occasional choking on her food.
On examination her nostrils were very narrow and she had significant noise associated with her breathing, suggesting narrowing of her airway at the level of her soft palate and larynx (voice box).
Milly’s upper airway was examined under general anaesthesia. As well as the narrowed nostrils she was found to have an overlong soft palate, enlarged tonsils, everted laryngeal saccules and collapse of her larynx. All of these are features of brachycephalic upper airway obstruction, or BOAS; a syndrome typically seen in flat-faced breeds of dogs and cats.
Milly had surgery performed under the same anaesthetic to widen her nostrils, shorten and thin her soft palate, remove her tonsils, remove her laryngeal saccules and remove a portion of her laryngeal cartilages. After surgery she stayed with us in our ICU ward where she received round-the-clock care.
Milly has made an excellent recovery from surgery and was back home later the following day. When we saw her back two weeks after surgery her breathing was significantly improved, she was no longer snoring or choking and overall her owners reported a big improvement at home.
At Wear Referrals we pride ourselves in being the only referral centre in the region with Specialist level soft tissue surgery and anaesthesia services. This means that we can offer patients like Milly the best level of surgical care, while making this intervention as safe as possible.
As we approach the warmer months of the year we start to see more brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs presenting with upper airway difficulties. If you think that your dog is starting to have problems relating to their breathing, we would always suggest an examination with your primary care vet.
A referral to one of our Specialists for an upper airway assessment can easily be arranged if you and your vet think that this is the best course of action.