You’ve done the research. You already know that your squishy-faced furbaby has different needs. As any loving paw-rent would, you do the very best you can to keep your lovable furbaby happy and healthy.

Your veterinarian may have already told you that your bulldog has something called brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). Your veterinarian might also have mentioned that BOAS surgery can help your furbaby live more comfortably, since he/she will be able to breathe better.

For some paw-rents, surgery can be very scary, especially when it’s elective. Here’s a summary of what you need to know.

What is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)?
All bulldogs have a degree of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This is a term most bulldog paw-rents are familiar with.

BOAS refers to the unique way being squishy-faced affects breathing. All bulldogs have a degree of BOAS because of the size of their nostrils and the length of their soft palate (the piece of tissue that hangs over the back of their throats).

The smaller nostrils reduce the amount of air that can flow through the nose, while the floppy soft palate prevents air from getting through the mouth. Given the nose and the mouth are the primary ways air gets in, BOAS can be very dangerous.

How do you fix BOAS?
We recommend the BOAS surgery because it can help your furbaby breathe a lot better. In some furbabies, BOAS surgery is life-saving in reducing the risk of aspiration pneumonia and heatstroke.

We’ve also learned a lot about improving the outcomes of BOAS surgery. Back in the day, veterinarians used to just enlarge the nostrils and cut the soft palate. With improvements in understanding, we now know that that’s not enough. Furbabies need a more individualised approach!

One study of BOAS surgery showed that 67% of the study group had more than 3 abnormalities that would have affected breathing, i.e., more than just the nostrils and soft palate were affected. The tonsils can be really swollen and may need to be removed, there might be tissue that is folded the wrong way, the soft tissue of the larynx (the voice box) might be swollen – these are all issues that need to be addressed!

That’s why this is one of those surgeries we want to refer to a surgical specialist. We want to keep your furbaby safe! To discuss what your furbaby may need, we recommend discussing where your furbaby sits on the spectrum of BOAS.

Why does my furbaby need extra medication for surgery?
Because all our squishy-faced furbabies have special needs, to avoid anaesthetic complications, they require special medications before, during, and after surgery. Most of these medications relate to how BOAS can cause tummy issues, which can be very dangerous during surgery and recovery.

That’s why we tailor an anaesthetic protocol for any bulldog at My Vet Animal Hospital – we want to make sure each furbaby is getting the right medication for the right length of time at the right doses.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to call us on (02) 8484 2020 or send us an e-mail!

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