Health issues faced by brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs and what you can do to help
The so-called Brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs are getting more popular by the day. What most people don’t know is that there is an innate health issue this breed is born with. The health issues for brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs (pugs), such as laryngeal paralysis, can affect larger non-short muzzle dogs, as they get older. Certain breeds are predisposed to have specific health issues, and every dog owner needs to educate himself or herself about these.
Brachycephalic dog breeds
Brachycephalic is a scientific term used to describe a short head. Dog breeds that come under brachycephalic dog breeds are the pug, boxer, chocolate Labrador, Shih Tzus, Boston terriers, Pekingese, and French and English bulldogs.
Such breeds have a flat or squashed face which results in side effects such as innumerable folds of skin that cause skin infections and protruding eyes. Other health issues for brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs (pugs) breeds include difficulty in breathing and overheating that puts them at a higher risk of dying during air travel than regular dogs. This is the reason why many airlines place restrictions on these dog breeds. The short muzzle brings along a plethora of problems. Parts of the upper airway passage can be undersized or flattened due to the muzzled face including pinched nostrils and stenotic nares.
Brachycephalic dog breeds are found to have tighter nasal turbinates, which is a lining of bone covered with pink tissue or mucosa. The nasal turbinates are meant to filter and warm the air before it reaches the lungs. But due to the tightness found in such dog breeds, the normal breathing process becomes complicated.
Another issue is the elongated soft palate located at the upper back portion of the mouth which causes excess tissue to dangle in between the airway. This leads to an annoying snoring sound that can be heard when you happen to walk by a pug or a French bulldog. Other health issues for brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs (pugs) are hypoplastic tracheas. Such breeds have a smaller trachea diameter than other dogs of the same size. So, the airway tube is thin like a straw, thus allowing less air to pass from the air tube to the lungs during inhalation and exhalation.
Symptoms and how to deal with them
The small size of the trachea can also lead to noisy respiration during inhalation and gagging caused by swallowing difficulty. It can also lead to blue gums and tongue due to lack of oxygen and sleeping difficulty caused by overheating during hot weather conditions or exercising. What every owner needs to do is to address the health issues for brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs (pugs) by taking them to the vet and improving the airflow. This can be done with corrective surgery which can be performed when your dog reaches the age of 2 years. Although the chances of it being a success are minimal, this is the only option.
So, be aware of these facts when you choose your pet and give it the due care it needs!
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