Animals with shortened noses and blunt faces are called the brachycephalic breeds. This group includes Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Pekingese, and even Mastiffs. Persians are examples of brachycephalic cats.

These are among my favorite pets because they’re so friendly and fun-loving, but they’re also well known for the snorting, gurgling, and drooling that is a result of airway restrictions caused by their shortened nasal passages. This breathing difficulty becomes a chronic problem as they’re forced to struggle for breath, and in some cases can even be life threatening. This is known as the Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome.

We can correct these breathing abnormalities and help these patients with advanced surgical techniques at Stonebridge Animal Hospital. One procedure widens restricted nasal passages (stenotic nares) that is seen in many patients. The most important procedure, soft palate surgery, shortens the abnormally long soft palate.
This excessively lengthened soft palate tissue extends back into the airway and obstructs the passage of air into the trachea. This causes the gurgling and gagging seen in so many brachycephalics, and can cause a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream that turns the gums blue on occasion.

We can see an immediate improvement in most patients following these procedures that ends their long-standing breathing difficulties forever.

Dr. Mapes has developed a high skill level with the most advanced techniques and modern tools to perform soft palate surgery at Stonebridge Animal Hospital. We use the LigaSure Tissue Fusion Device so that patients do not bleed during the procedure, feel little discomfort, and heal rapidly.

We have replaced our laser surgical unit with the Ligasure Tissue Fusion Device that seals blood vessels permanently as it incises the palate tissue. This allows us to safely shorten elongated soft palates without blood loss and without sutures.

We invite pet owners with animals who suffer from brachycephalic upper airway syndrome to contact our Stonebridge Animal Hospital office for a consultation.

We will be happy to examine the animal’s airways, nasal structure and breathing efficiency to determine whether soft palate surgery can help.