Symptoms of brachycephalic syndrome include:
- Noisy breathing
- Overheating even in moderate weather
- Labored breathing with only minimal exercise
- Frequent gagging or throwing up of "froth" for no apparent reason
- Cyanosis (a blue appearance of the gums due to lack of oxygen)
- Syncope (fainting).
Diagnosis is often made based on the breed of dog and clinical signs.
Your veterinarian may also perform other diagnostic tests such as:
- A physical examination, including listening to the chest with a stethoscope to help exclude other causes of respiratory difficulty
- X-rays to determine if heart or lung disease is present
- Visual inspection of the nostrils to identify stenotic nares
- Examination (under sedation) of the mouth and larynx to diagnose an elongated soft palate and/or everted laryngeal saccules
Mild cases may be managed through tranquilization, administration of oxygen, or anti-inflammatory steroids. Surgery before severe symptoms develop is relatively easy and has a more favorable prognosis than treatment later when the symptoms become more severe. Possible surgeries (depending on which conditions are present in your dog) include removing a portion of the nostril to increase airflow, shortening the soft palate, and removing the laryngeal saccules.
Some steps you can take to help manage this condition:
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Return from Brachycephalic Syndrome to Boston Terrier Health Problems
- Keep your dog from becoming obese - being overweight makes breathing more difficult.
- Avoid stressful situations, such as exercise during hot, humid weather.
- Use a harness instead of a neck collar.
- See your veterinarian immediately if your dog has trouble breathing, becomes cyanotic, or collapses.
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