Brachycephalic Skull in Dogs
Brachycephalic breeds refer to dogs that have a flat face and shortened snout, sometimes lacking the nasal bone. Popular brachycephalic breeds include Pugs, Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, and Bull Mastiffs.
Their distinct physiognomy is known to cause a wide range of health conditions that affect the skin, eyes, and nasal areas. The severity of health-related complications is usually correlated with the flatness of facial features.
All dogs with brachycephaly face a condition known as brachycephalic airway syndrome, which causes breathing difficulties and makes them prone to heatstroke. Severe cases of brachycephalic airway syndrome may require surgery. Owners should avoid breeding dogs with a history of severe brachycephalic airway syndrome as the condition is inherited and may be passed on to the next generation. The dome-shaped skull of brachycephalic puppies causes difficult childbirth for their mothers, and vets may have to rely on cesarean procedures.
Owners should work closely with vets to monitor brachycephalic complications throughout the lifetime of their dogs to maintain the healthiest routine.
Brachycephalic breeds may suffer from other physical ailments aside from breathing problems.
Although brachycephalic dogs have the same number of teeth as regular breeds, their narrow skulls place them at risk of contracting periodontal disease, a gum-related condition.
The narrow eye sockets of brachycephalic breeds make their eyes vulnerable to trauma. Owners should exercise caution when exposing their pets to friskier breeds.
Symptoms to Observe
Snoring and snorting is common in brachycephalic breed. However, it is important to seek consultation on varying sounds, as some might indicate a serious underlying breathing issue. Owners should take note of glazed eyes, extreme panting, lethargy, and fainting, which are signs of heatstroke that might occur during outdoor activity.
Annual vet fees cost an average of $800 and vary according to breed and overall health. Additionally, brachycephalic dogs may require surgery for various conditions. These include breathing obstruction surgery (BOAS) that cost an average of $1,400 and eye surgery, which are available from $1,200.
Home Treatment and Special Care for Brachycephalic Dogs
A pet is a lifelong commitment and brachycephalic dogs require more care than regular breeds.
Owners can provide comfort and optimal breathing for their pets by keeping them within a healthy weight range and limiting exercise. It is also important to keep these breeds in a cool environment to avoid the effects of overheating.