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Soft Palate Surgery (Palatoplasty) in Brachycephalic Dogs

If one of your fur babies is a Pug, Bulldog, Frenchie or any other “squishy face” breed, you probably already know something about Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) caused by their unique internal skull structures that make these breeds different from their long nose relatives.

If you don’t we suggest you check out our blog post on BOAS first.

Many of these dogs will require some surgical reconstruction of their nose and airway to prevent common side effects caused by their inability to take in enough Oxygen during normal activity.

One of the structures inside the throat is the soft palate. In these breeds the soft palate can be up 4 times the thickness of that of a longer nosed breed. Wow! This means a significant amount of the airway passage is blocked by the soft palate making it very difficult for this dog to take in enough air even for normal activity. Let alone for any other exercise.

You can usually tell by the amount of snoring and snorting you hear.

This is why surgical intervention is necessary to help these dogs lead more normal active lives

Soft Patate Surgery Bracgycephalic Breeds


Because of the increased thickness of the soft palate, older surgical technique of just shortening it, no longer significantly improves their symptoms or their breathing.

In these dogs a palatoplasty surgery is a better option.

In this procedure the soft palate is decreased in thickness by up to 80% and then folded back on itself and stitched to create a shorter, much thinner soft palate that significantly opens the airways and allows the dog to breathe more normally.

We do this procedure with a CO2 surgical laser rather than a diode laser or cautery as this superior technique significantly decreases post surgical swelling and minimises the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.

This is often one of the biggest risks of this surgery

surgical What to do if you have one of these Breeds

Step 1

Arrange for a complete BOAS examination to include an exercise tolerance test. This is best done when your dog is still young to avoid the development of side effects that happen as they age.

Make sure you are seeing a vet who has experience in modern approaches to BOAS diagnosis.

Step 2

If your dog is showing signs of BOAS during the examination, arrange for a CT Scan to visually show the internal structures. This allows the vet to see what surgical interventions are needed.

We commonly widen the nares (nostrils) at the same time while the dog is under anaesthesia as this typically always needs doing.

BOAS surgery tips:

Discussions about BOAS surgery should always include the need for supervised post – op care


  • Dogs that have BOAS surgery should never be  discharged the same day. Instead they should be monitored carefully for post op swelling for at least 12 hours following surgery.
  • Pre-surgery preparation – oxygenation and pre-medication with specific medications
  • CO2 Laser is the best surgical tool for this procedure

Our team are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about BOAS and the modern treatment options available.
For more information please feel free to 📥 Email us

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