There is a lot of misunderstanding of brachycephalic airways concerns these days. Modern brachycephalic expert veterinarians now understand the fact that virtually every brachycephalic individual will lead a far more comfortable life, as well as much safer, and potentially longer life with early airway correction before 12 months of age.
Please learn about the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and RSPCA endorsed Love Is Blind campaign and look at the video by world expert Professor Philip Moses explaining this, along with the five aspects of airways correction that are potentially needed, not just nares and palate shortening.
With this in mind, many people would ask:
“Well why has my dog, and many I know, not needed surgery, and are getting through life just fine?”
Here is the answer:
It is a matter of “need” versus “benefit”.
And that’s what we are about to explain, and why owners of brachycephalic breeds need to decide how well they want their dogs to live.
Most dogs do not need surgery. Without surgery they will still get through life seemingly fine, but it’s that definition of fine that is up for discussion.
Consider the fact that all owners of these dogs, most breeders included, accept the following:
- These breeds snore.
- Sleep is often interrupted through the night. (Is this your dog?).
- Many regurgitate frequently. This can be reduced by smaller feeds, different textures of food and feeding from a height, but in reality, flat faced breeds don’t need to live with this.
- We have to be very careful of these breeds in warm weather.
- These breeds generally don’t exercise as well, or as long, as long nose dogs. They may charge around for 15-20 minutes, but then need a rest and are panting far more than long nose dogs.
Society has come to accept all the above as normal and in itself, demonstrates no need for airway correction. Only dogs that are developing severe and significant airway trouble should have surgery. However, all the above happens for one simple reason – Almost all of these breeds have severe restriction of their airways, resulting in silent suffering. Silent suffering encompasses all the subtle signs listed above that these breeds don’t need to live with, but we expect them to because we accept them as ‘normal’.
Modern veterinary experts now realise the benefit of early airway correction. These breeds do not need to live as silent sufferers, as most currently do. With airway correction at 6-12 months of age, most of these seemingly normal dogs will not suffer all the above symptoms to nearly the same extent, and will lead their most comfortable life.
As an owner of one of these breeds, you have a choice to make. Do you accept the above as normal, or do you consider your best opportunity to improve their breathing as much as possible by considering reducing their airway restriction at desexing? Unfortunately most general practitioners do not understand the above and do not correctly advise owners of their options for the healthiest life at desexing, whereby most owners of these breeds miss their best chance for the healthiest life.
In summary, 80-90% of dogs will get through life OK, suffering the above usual symptoms, or can live a far more comfortable, safer and potentially longer life by maximising their airway space at 6-12 months of age, and minimising the chance they go on to be one of the 10-20% that really struggle big time when even breeders agree surgery is needed, but in reality is often too late at that time to make a significant difference.
The difference is most dogs don’t need surgery, but will benefit from surgery.
So what do you do?:
- If your vet says they do not need surgery, or found no problem upon examination at desexing, unfortunately they are highly likely wrong, and you could consider a second opinion from a modern experienced brachycephalic veterinarian.
- Before desexing, find and use a surgeon who understands and explains the above to you, and can address all five aspects of airway correction, not just nares widening and palate shortening, which often only gives a partial response or poor response. Surgeons who only explain nares widening and palate shortening are not necessarily the most experienced or skilled.
Please read Henri’s testimonial and see if his story reasonates with your dog?
As well as the Love Is Blind campaign, have a look at Henri’s example which is really typical of what we hear from owners post adequate airway correction, especially the now uninterrupted deep sleep through the whole night, and even more energy again from what Henri’s owner previously thought was normal.