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Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome, or BAOS for short, is an umbrella term for the respiratory problems faced by almost all short-snouted breeds. You might expect the snoring and sniffing of, say, the French and English bulldog to belong to those breeds, and might just find them cute. Unfortunately, they are the result of excessive selection in the breeding of these animals, which limits their quality of life. It’s like they are breathing through a straw all the time. Long walks, especially when outdoor temperatures are high, they cannot cope and are not recommended as they easily overheat. Full-on running and playing are not for them either, it can put them in severe respiratory distress. Later in life, they can develop a life-threatening complication: laryngeal collapses, which can cause the larynx to suddenly clamp shut, preventing air passage.
The following abnormalities are part of the BAOS.
– narrowed nostrils
– soft palate that is too long and/or too thick
– a proportionally too long and too thick tongue
– enlarged and protruding tonsils
– an abnormal larynx
– too narrow trachea
Although we naturally prefer breeders to take responsibility and adapt their breeding programme to return to animals as they once looked, we often intervene surgically to correct what can be corrected so that their quality of life improves. This surgery is best performed at 3-4 months of age so that optimum effect is obtained.