BOAS: Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

Pug with BOAS

What is BOAS?

Many people adore brachycephalic dogs like pugs, bulldogs and boxers because of their unique appearance and affectionate personalities.  Unfortunately, these breeds are also prone to a range of health issues, including brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS).

BOAS is a condition that affects dogs with shortened muzzles and flat faces. It can cause a range of symptoms, including difficulty breathing, snoring, coughing, gagging, and exercise intolerance. In severe cases, BOAS can even lead to life-threatening conditions, such as respiratory distress and collapse.

Fortunately, there is a surgical procedure that can help alleviate the symptoms of BOAS and improve the quality of life for affected dogs. This procedure, known as BOAS surgery, is becoming increasingly common, with more and more brachycephalic dog owners seeking treatment for their pets.

Dr Michael Heath, has extensive experience in performing BOAS surgery and helping brachycephalic dogs breathe easier. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what BOAS surgery entails, how it can benefit brachycephalic dogs, and what to expect if your furry friend needs this procedure.

What Is BOAS Surgery?

BOAS surgery is a type of surgery that aims to improve the airway of brachycephalic dogs by removing or modifying structures that are obstructing the flow of air. One of the most common procedures involved in BOAS surgery is called a stenotic nares correction. This involves removing a wedge of tissue from the nostrils to open up the airway and improve breathing.

Other procedures that may be performed during BOAS surgery include soft palate resection, which involves shortening the soft palate to reduce obstruction, and tonsillectomy, which involves removing the tonsils to improve airflow.

The specific procedures performed during BOAS surgery will depend on the individual dog’s symptoms and the severity of their condition. Dr Mike will work closely with you to determine the best course of action for your furry friend.

BOAS Surgery Diagram
BOAS Surgery Diagram 2
Dog nose before BOAS surgery

How Does BOAS Surgery Help Brachycephalic Dogs?

BOAS surgery can offer a range of benefits to brachycephalic dogs who are struggling to breathe. By improving the airway and reducing obstruction, dogs who undergo BOAS surgery may experience:

  • Easier breathing
  • Reduced snoring
  • Reduced coughing and gagging
  • Improved exercise tolerance
  • Reduced risk of respiratory distress and collapse

In some cases, BOAS surgery can even be life-saving for severely affected dogs. By improving the flow of air to the lungs, BOAS surgery can help prevent complications such as pneumonia and respiratory failure.

What To Expect During BOAS Surgery

If your furry friend needs BOAS surgery, it’s natural to be concerned about what to expect. Rest assured that Dr Mike and our team of skilled nurses will provide the highest level of care and attention to ensure a successful outcome for your dog.

Before the surgery, your dog will be given a thorough physical examination and blood tests to ensure they are healthy enough for anesthesia. They will then be given a pre-anesthetic medication to help them relax and prepare for the procedure.

Your dog will be closely monitored during surgery to ensure their safety and comfort. Dr Mike will perform the necessary procedures to improve the airway and reduce obstruction, using state-of-the-art surgical equipment and techniques.

After the surgery, your dog will be closely monitored as they wake up from anesthesia. They may need to stay in the hospital for a period of time to ensure they are recovering well and to receive any necessary pain management and medication. Afterwards they will be able to return home with you for some rest and recuperation.

Dog nose after BOAS Surgery
Pug running and jumping on beach

Is BOAS surgery the right option for your dog?

BOAS is a serious condition that can cause a range of symptoms and even life-threatening complications in brachycephalic dogs. However, BOAS surgery can offer a solution and improve the quality of life for affected dogs. It’s important to remember that not all brachycephalic dogs will need BOAS surgery. The decision to undergo the procedure should be made on a case-by-case basis.

However, for those dogs who do need BOAS surgery, the benefits can be life-changing. Dogs who undergo the procedure can experience easier breathing, reduced snoring, improved exercise tolerance, and a reduced risk of complications. 

If you have a brachycephalic dog who is showing signs of BOAS, don’t hesitate to call on (03) 5976 4629 or book an appointment. With the right care and attention, your furry friend can breathe easier and enjoy a better quality of life. With the help of Dr Mike and our skilled nursing team, you can be sure that your pet is in safe hands.