Does your short-nosed dog snore?

Common Problems, Dogs

Let’s all breath a little easier!

There has been much media attention of late about brachycephalic dog breeds and the breathing problems they face. But many owners do not realise there is an operation that can help their brachys breathe a little easier.

Fur Life Senior Vet Duncan Runciman gives us the lowdown on the procedure, as well his perspective on brachycephalic dog breeds.

adjective (Anatomy)
having a relatively short skull (typically with the breadth at least 80 per cent of the length).

What’s the problem?

Brachycephalic breeds refer to flat-faced dogs with short-noses and heads. Think Pugs, Pekingese, Boxers, Boston Terriers and Bulldogs (French, British & American) to name a few. Because of their unique anatomy – small head, nose and airways and long, soft palate – many of these dogs have difficulty breathing.

Duncan says: “It’s all about how hard they work to breathe. It’s similar to trying to suck up a milkshake through a straw and hitting a big blob of ice cream. You suck so hard the straw collapses. That’s what’s going on when they breathe. They suck really hard with each breath, and that puts immense pressure on their airways and larynx. Gradually, they get weaker and weaker to the point of collapse, or in the worst case, suddenly die,” he says.

There is a fix for some breathing issues

Duncan is quick to point out brachys don’t need to live with breathing problems. There is an option owners can consider that can vastly improve their dog’s quality of life – soft palate surgery.

“We can do three things in the surgery. We can widen the outside of the nose, we can remove excess tissue around the larynx, and we can shorten the soft palate. This long, soft palate is the biggest problem they have so making it smaller is really important,” he says. “These three things can dramatically improve the amount of air the dogs get with every breath. It varies from dog to dog but overall, the results are fantastic.”

Duncan is also a fur-parent to a brachy – a happy, little French Bulldog by the name of Winston. In Winston’s case, he only needed a soft palate resection as he has a wide, open nose. But it made a world of difference to his running abilities – something Duncan’s kids are happy about…but not so the cattle when Winston finds his way through the fence!

There was another added bonus of the surgery: “Winston no longer snores so he can sleep in the house,” Duncan laughs.

Indicators that your dog could benefit from soft palate surgery:

  • They snore
  • They struggle to draw breath, or pant excessively, in everyday activities

Do all brachycephalic breeds need surgery?

This is something that is assessed on a case by case basis as some dogs have good-sized noses. But Duncan recommends most brachycephalic breeds should be assessed by a vet by six months of age, and that most will benefit from at least having their soft palate shortened.

Special Care Needs of brachycephalic breeds

In addition to surgery, there are many things you can do to keep your dog safe:

  1. Watch their weight – excess fat puts added strain on organs and airways
  2. Don’t push them when exercising – know their limits & take short walks at cooler times
  3. Use a harness rather than a neck collar
  4. Keep them cool – small dogs overheat quickly. It doesn’t have to be hot; a long walk can do it
  5. Know the heat stress signs

*If your dog snores have him checked by a Fur Life Vet so you can both breath a little easier!

Heat Stress Signs

1st stage – increased panting & slowing down

2nd stage – excessive panting, raised body temperature, collapsing, vomiting &/or diarrhoea

At the second stage, your dog is overheating internally and in real danger. Get them out of the sun, cool them by dousing them with water and seek immediate vet attention.

As you can see, there are some important treatment options available to help brachycephalic breeds breathe a little easier.

*If your dog snores have him checked by a Fur Life Vet so you can both breath a little easier!

How to enter

Simply share a photo on your Facebook page of your dog rugged up for winter or enjoying the winter sunshine and use the hashtag relevant to your state.

What you can win

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined prize. Each prize includes a winter pet pack to the value of $100.

Click on your state to reveal the hashtag you need to use to enter!

QLD Residents

Share a photo of your dog enjoying the winter sunshine or snoozing in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetQLD

VIC Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetVIC

NSW Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetNSW

TAS Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetTAS

Terms & Conditions

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these conditions. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these conditions. Entries must comply with these conditions to be valid.

Entry is open to Australian residents that meet the competition requirements outlined below during the Competition period 1 June 2022 – 31 August 2022. Employees and their immediate families of the Promoter and its agencies associated with this competition are ineligible to enter.

To enter, each entrant must, during the Entry Period, upload a photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile) and use the hashtag corresponding to the state they are in (e.g. #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS).

Winner of the competition will be determined by:

  1. Appropriate photo uploaded (photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile)
  2. Relevant hashtag used (state residing in: #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS)
  3. Number of likes (photo with highest number of likes at end of competition period with all other criteria completed will win)

The competition will close for entries Wednesday, 31 August 2022 at 12:00pm [AEST]. Failure to meet any of the competition requirements will deem entry invalid and will not be eligible to win.

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined.


Competition requirements:

Entrants must be a current client of a participating Apiam/Fur Life Vet clinic.

Entries must be received by the Promoter during the Entry Period. Entries received after 12:00pm [AEST] 31 August 2022 not be accepted.

The competition commences at 00:01 [AEST] on 01/06/2022 and closes at 12:00 [AEDT] 31/08/2022.

Queensland prize includes a pet pack to the value of $100.00.

Victorian, New South Wales, and Tasmanian prize includes two separate pet packs to the value of $100.00.

All taxes (excluding GST) which may be payable as a consequence of receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

The Prize is not transferable and is not redeemable for cash.

The Promoter assumes no responsibility for any failure to receive an entry or for inaccurate information or for any loss, damage or injury as a result of technical or telecommunications problems, including security breaches. If such problems arise, then the Promoter may modify, cancel, terminate or suspend the competition.

If the prize becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the Promoter’s control, the Promoter may substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

The winner will be notified by email on or by 10/09/2022.

Entrants consent to the Promoter using their name, images submitted, pets name, comment, and/or voice in the event that they are a winner in any media for an unlimited period of time without remuneration for the purpose of promoting this competition (including any outcome), as well as any other communications outside of this competition, and/or promoting any products manufactured, distributed and/or supplied by the Promoter. If you are not willing for these uses or disclosures to occur you cannot participate in the competition.

Further, entrants agree that the Promoter has an unrestricted, irrevocable, transferable, divisible right and licence to use and modify their entry for the purposes of the Promoter’s business including for promotional purposes without the payment of any further fee or compensation.

If requested by the Promoter, the entrant agrees to sign any further documentation required by the Promoter to give effect to this arrangement. To the extent permitted by law, entrants unconditionally and irrevocably consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any moral rights in their entry. Entries remain the property of the Promoter. Details from entries will be collected and used for the purposes of conducting this competition (which may include disclosure to third parties for the purpose of processing and conducting the competition) and for promotional purposes surrounding this competition. By entering this competition entrants consent to the use of their information as described and agree that the Promoter may use this information, or disclose it to other organisations that may use it, in any media for future promotional purposes without any further reference or payment to the entrant.

By entering this competition, entrants consent for the Promoter to use entrant’s name, email address, phone number which entrants submitted to enter for the purposes of administering and operating the competition. Entry is conditional on the Promoter acquiring the aforementioned information. All personal information collected by the Promoter will be handled by the Promoter in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy (PRIVACY) Entrants have the right to access their personal information, request correction of any errors and/or obtain a copy of the Promoter’s privacy policy by contacting getvetchecked@furlifevet.com.au.

The Promoter is Apiam Animal Health Pty Limited (ACN: 604 961 024) at 27-33 Piper Lane East Bendigo, 3550, Victoria, Australia.

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