Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS)
Brachycephalics refers to breeds which have a comparatively short head. Because of this, virtually all of these breeds require some work associated with breathing. Problems range in severity, with most of these breeds snuffling and snorting to some degree. While some dogs will have no other difficulties, others will have problems such as increasingly noisy breathing, coughing and gagging, fainting or collapsing episodes, and a decreased tolerance for exercise. In addition, over time, increased strain is placed on the heart. Precautions must be taken in conditions where overheating, excitement and exercise causes increased panting. This increased panting can cause further swelling and narrowing of the airways. Gastrointestinal problems causing vomiting, gagging, or aspiration pneumonia may also be due to this syndrome.
This syndrome is most common and severe in the English Bulldog. Other Brachycephalic breeds in which this has been found to be an issue inclue the Pug, the Boston Terrier, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Pekingese, the Lhasa Apso, the French Bulldog, and the Shih Tzu. A recent BTCA Health Survey indicates that over 6% of Boston Terriers are born with either stenotic nares or elongated palates (or both).
Additional Information and Resources:
- Canine Inherited Disorders Database Brachycephalic Syndrome
- The Brachycephalic Syndrome in the Boston Terrier (PDF)
Note: This section of Canada's Guide to Dogs is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.