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Is your dog or cat brachycephalic? Many of our canine pals are brachycephalic. These include the French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles, English Bulldog, English Mastiff, Pug, Pekinese, and Shih Tzu. As for kitties, the Burmese, Persian, and Himalayan, are the ones most likely to be brachys. A local vet discusses caring for a brachy below.
Brachys are no doubt adorable, but, as you may know, those cute flat faces come with a price. Oftentimes, Brachys have difficulty getting enough airflow through their nasal passages. This can be quite dangerous, since your pup can easily get out of breath, even after just mild exertion.
For some brachys, surgery may be of benefit. There are procedures that can correct two of the most common issues brought on by brachycephaly: malformed nostrils and elongated soft palate. These problems often lead to trouble eating, snoring, coughing, gagging, and vomiting. Of course, every pet is different, so this recommendation doesn’t apply across-the-board. Ask your veterinarian for more information.
You’ll need to use a harness instead of a collar. It’s way too easy for collars to cut off the airflow for your furry friend. While this can happen with any dog, it’s extremely common—and dangerous—for brachys.
Try to keep your pet at a healthy weight. Fluffy and Fido are short of breath, already: they’ll be panting after even mild activity if they’re overweight. Obesity will make it even harder for your pet to get the activity they need.
It’s dangerous when any pet gets overheated, but it’s especially concerning with brachys. Fluffy and Fido can’t sweat, and panting won’t cool them as efficiently as it does for other dogs and cats. This means that in hot weather, they can get into serious trouble very quickly. First and foremost, make sure they always have fresh water. Also, it’s best to keep your furry buddy safe and sound indoors when it’s really hot outside, in rooms that have fans and/or AC. Fido shouldn’t swim, but he may enjoy playing in the spray from a hose or sprinkler, or wading in a kiddy pool. Your furry buddy may also appreciate a cold treat.
Many brachys have skin folds. Since these can collect bacteria, you’ll want to keep your pet’s skin clean. Follow your vet’s instructions.
Do you have concerns or questions about brachys? Contact us, your veterinary clinic!