Brachycephalic breeds such as pugs and French bulldogs can make excellent companions, but their signature “squished face” look can lead to a few serious medical complications. Some canines experience significant breathing problems due to the shape of their airways and the surrounding structures, some of which require surgical intervention. In this dog surgery spotlight, we explore some of the treatment options available for companions with an elongated soft palate.
What is an Elongated Soft Palate?
Short-snouted dogs can experience a handful of health problems related to their brachycephalic nature. The iconic look that these companions exhibit is due to shorter bones in the snout and face. In brachycephalic dogs with an elongated soft palate, the soft, fleshy tissue on the roof of the mouth near the throat grows so long that it can partially obstruct the airway. This abnormality is one of many structural defects that can be present for a diagnosis of brachycephalic airway syndrome.
Symptoms and Potential Complications
Symptoms of an elongated soft palate can include loud breathing, snoring, difficulty breathing, gagging, vomiting, and coughing. These symptoms may worsen in hot or humid weather, and if left untreated, an elongated soft palate can contribute to heat stroke, respiratory problems, heart conditions, and death. While a companion with brachycephalic airway syndrome can have an elongated soft palate with no other defects, other structural abnormalities are often present. Guardians should watch for signs of other respiratory and digestive issues and report any symptoms to their companion’s veterinary care team.
Treatment Options: Dog Surgery and Non-Surgical Management
For companions with an elongated soft palate, surgical intervention is a standard course of treatment. Surgery for this condition typically involves amputating part of the soft palate to clear the airway. Companions with an early diagnosis and prompt treatment often receive a fairly optimistic prognosis, and for some, dog surgery is not deemed necessary. Companions with a more mild abnormality may respond well to diet and exercise management, stress reduction, and limited exposure to heat and humidity.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.