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Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

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Dog with BAS

This is a condition seen in breeds such as Old English and French Bulldogs, Pugs, and other animals with short noses. This syndrome is caused by anatomic changes, such as an elongated soft palate, narrow opening to the nose (stenotic nares), extra tissues around the vocal cords (everted laryngeal saccules), and a narrow trachea, all of which can decrease air flow to the lungs. These changes can cause signs such as loud breathing or snoring sounds, excessive panting, exercise intolerance, blue gums, collapse, and heat exhaustion. Being overweight can make these signs worse. Having brachycephalic airway syndrome increases the risk of digestive problems, anesthetic complications, and sudden death from airway blockage. Treatment is usually surgical and may include widening the nostrils, shortening the soft palate, and removing the laryngeal saccules. Affected animals are often monitored in the intensive care unit after surgery because of the risk of swelling, difficulty breathing, and aspiration pneumonia. For more information, please see our brochure about brachycephalic airway syndrome .