Why Brachycephalic breed dogs need special Care during their Desexing Procedure

There are some breeds of dogs that due to their special characteristics require special preparation for general anaesthesia. That’s why desexing brachycephalic breed dogs needs a different approach.

These Breeds include:

  • French Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers and
  • Other flat faced breeds

These breeds of dogs are what we call “Brachycephalic” breeds which because of their unique skull shape means that all the internal structures in their nose, mouth and throat are squashed into a much smaller space.

As a result – most of these dog breeds will have some degree of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome. (BOAS)

This puts them at much greater risk of having breathing problems than longer nose breeds.

It also means they are at greater risk of anaesthetic complications

To prepare them for anaesthesia and keep them as safe as possible throughout and immediately after the procedure there are extra precautions we take.

Pre- Anaesthetic Preparation

In addition to our normal patient examination and prep for anaesthesia there are some extra steps we need to take with our Brachy patients.

These include:

  • Pre-surgery Oxygenation – adding extra Oxygen to the blood system
  • Pre-surgery medication – special medications to prevent regurgitation and aspiration which these breeds are very susceptible to. Either of these conditions are high risk complications which we want to avoid
  • Much more accurate temperature control to avoid overheating – again another risk these breeds are prone to

All these steps mean longer preparation time for the assigned vet and nurse team.

After the procedure

The post operative anaesthesia recovery period is the most critical period for these breeds which means more attentive and longer nursing care is required.

These patients can turn from normal to high respiratory distress in an instant.

Post operative recovery monitoring can take several hours after anaesthesia and may include extra Oxygen therapy.

Extra costs

These extra precautions and time taken for preparation and post operative recovery add extra costs to a standard desexing procedure.

Our Brachycephalic Anaesthetic protocol is used for all of these breeds to minimise the risk of complications before, during and after surgery.

This means when you book your dog in for a desexing procedure at our practice, it will cost more than it would for other breeds.

Opening the nares with desexing in Brachycephalic Breeds

One of the common distinguishing features of these breeds is that they have very narrow openings to their nasal passages. This alone makes breathing more difficult as it limits the amount of air they can take in with each breath.

Widening the nares is a common procedure for these breeds and something that can be done at the same time as desexing. 

Although this is only one part of complete BOAS surgery it will significantly improve airflow and be an instant benefit to your dog

In our practice we use CO2 Laser surgery to not only widen the nostrils but also go deeper and widen a good part of the nasal passages as well.

Your dog will go home being able to breathe much easier.

The best part about this surgery is that it doesn’t need stitches as the Laser vaporises the tissue and seals the edges so there’s also no bleeding.

The image below 👇 shows how the opening in the left nostril is now significantly wider than the right. Also note the lack of bleeding and NO STITCHES. This is due to the advanced technology of the CO2 Laser!

Widening The Nostrils


Q: Does this Anaesthesia fee apply to all surgical procedures apart from Desexing?

A: Yes we need to take these extra precautions whenever these dogs undergo general anaesthesia

Q: Can my dog still go home the same day after surgery?

A: Yes provided your dog has recovered fully after anaesthesia after the required monitoring period. If we are not fully satisfied with the level of recovery we keep these dogs in hospital overnight for ongoing supervised care.

Q: How do I find out more about Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)?

A: You’ll find further resources here on our blog

When can (should) my Pet go Home after Surgery?

Smooshy Face Dogs – What’s Not to Love about Them


Access our Complete Online BOAS Consultation for Brachycephalic Breed Dog owners guided by our own Dr Jess 👇

Click on the image to find out more.

Online BOAS Consultation








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