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Brachycephalic Syndrome in Dogs

By: Dr. David Diamond

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  • Your veterinarian's recommendations for medical management should be followed very closely to avoid respiratory crisis situations. Progression of clinical signs may indicate the need for surgical intervention.

  • If the dog becomes dyspneic (has trouble breathing), cyanotic or collapses, visit your veterinarian immediately. Severe respiratory distress leads to periods of low oxygen and can cause irreversible injury to the body.

  • After surgery, the dog may be completely cured and may never have another breathing problem. The dog should be monitored for recurrence of clinical signs.

  • Brachycephalic syndrome is a congenital anatomic disorder. Decades of "unnatural" selection in shaping these breeds of dogs to look the way that they do has created the problem. These dogs' genetic codes direct their development and cannot be altered or prevented from creating the problem. The only thing a conscientious owner can do, if they own one of these breeds of dogs, is close monitoring for characteristic signs related to the disorder and treat the dog early to prevent future problems.


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