Dog facts from your expert veterinarians in Seattle, WA.
Westley is a sweet and handsome young English Bulldog who has been coming to Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital in Seattle since he was only 3 ½ months old. Seemingly very healthy, he did come with all the challenges of the bulldog breed. Bulldogs are predisposed to certain issues, some of which are related to their very short muzzle with lots of skin folds (known as “brachycephalic” in vet speak).
Brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers, are at higher risk for respiratory issues because of their short nose. Along with the short nose comes extra tissue in the back of the throat and a smaller nostril opening to breathe through (called stenotic nares). All that tissue causes increased pressure when trying to breath. After a few years this can even lead to severe trouble breathing bordering on suffocation and requires emergency treatment and usually surgery to resect some of the extra, now swollen, tissues.
At Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital we recommend, along with many surgery and internal medicine specialists, that preventative measures be taken early in these breeds to reduce the risk of breathing troubles later in life. Westley’s owners elected to take our advice and have us perform a stenotic nares correction procedure at his neuter surgery. This procedure takes less than 10 minutes and involves cutting some of the nostril tissue away to increase the size of the nostril opening. It is best done when the patients are young as less chronic changes have occurred in the airways.
Westley’s owners are very happy with the results of the procedure and tell us that he snores less and has more energy and stamina. It is sometimes amazing how much easier they breathe with such a small change to the nostril opening. Our receptionist, Danielle, is one of Westley’s proud owners and loves to talk about her handsome little man. So go ahead and ask her about her experience, especially if you have a brachycephalic breed dog in your family.