BOAS & Surgery with Dr Belinda

We offer BOAS surgery here at MDAH.

Dr Belinda Gotley BVSc (hons) has been performing this corrective technique since 2018. We use the latest equipment, techniques and medications. Our nursing staff are highly trained in brachycephalic patient anaesthetics and recovery.

Which Breeds Are Brachycephalic?

Brachycephalic dogs or squishy faced dogs include pugs, French bulldogs, English and American bulldogs and Boston terriers. They have been bred to have very short noses, which squashes the soft tissue in their noses and mouths into a smaller area, essentially giving them a much smaller hole to suck air in through.

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What is BOAS?

BOAS- Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

This is commonly caused by a combination of:

  1. Stenotic nares or pinched, narrow nostrils
  2. An elongated or thickened soft palate- so that the loose floppy excessive tissue of the palate gets sucked in to almost cover the airway opening or larynx.
  3. Enlarged tonsils that bulge out of the sides of the throat to reduce airflow rather than being tucked neatly inside slits or crypts.
  4. Everted laryngeal saccules- 2 membranes that usually line a little fold inside the airway opening that can be sucked out permanently due to their difficult breathing like 2 little balloons obstructing air flow.
  5. Tracheal hypoplasia or narrow trachea/windpipe.

This is often compounded by being overweight. If this condition is not corrected, over time these dogs can develop laryngeal collapse from the negative pressure breathing where the opening to the airway itself collapses inwards, at this point their breathing becomes very strained and may not allow enough oxygen in.

What are the common symptoms?

Nasal or snotty noises when breathing, a raspy or vibrating noise from the back of the throat when breathing, snoring, poor sleep, sleeping sitting up, vomiting or regurgitation, inability to exercise or play for long without getting overheated, tired or panting excessively.

How do you know whether your dog would benefit from corrective airway surgery?

Dr Belinda can provide a consultation for assessment and an estimate of procedure costs. Dogs should not make any obvious noise when they breathe, and be able to exercise and play without getting very puffed.

What procedures are part of BOAS surgery?

We perform 5/5 BOAS surgery.

  1. widening of the nostrils and inner nasal vestibule via Ala vestibuloplasty. We used to perform a wedge alarplasty but have found this new technique to be far superior in increasing airflow.
  2. Laryngeal saccules are removed to open up the larynx.
  3. The tonsils are removed.
  4. The soft palate is shortened. This may be done with a new technique the H- pharyngoplasty.
  5. The soft palate muscle is thinned.

It is also recommended that we take x-rays of the trachea for narrowing and the spine for deformities.

Before surgery

After surgery

Before palate surgery

After palate surgery

Positive results

Clients who have previously had BOAS surgery have been extremely pleased with the difference it has made in their pet’s lives. Their dogs have much more energy, can barely be heard, stop regurgitating and can suddenly smell so much better!

When can I have BOAS surgery performed?

We usually recommend BOAS surgery at 10-12 months of age but can be done earlier if severely obstructive breathing.