Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is identified by various audible clinical signs. Since BOAS occurs when a dog’s internal structures, such as the palate, muscles, nasal tissues and airways, grow out of sync with the bones of the skull, each individual case manifests differently from one dog to another. The most apparent indicators of a dog suffering from BOAS is that it struggles to exercise, breathes heavily and noisily, struggles to keep cool in the heat, regurgitates food and saliva and suffers from sleep disorders. Despite variation in size and structure among brachycephalic dog, and thus variation in the precise location of the blockage, there are some common sounds which can be identified and diagnosed as resulting from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome. If noisy breathing gets worse as the dog exercises, a lower pitched noise is caused by vibration of the soft palate or obstruction of the nasal cavity. The second sound which is higher pitched suggests a collapse of the dog’s voice box due to compression from high pressures caused by the restriction of airflow in an obstructed airway. This is more common in pugs.
While brachycephalic breeds can reasonably be expected to have a decent quality of life, the condition can be exacerbated by obesity. A weight-loss meal plan can be implemented for a dog suffering with this alongside BOAS. It is essential that brachycephalic breeds are not exerted beyond their comfort level, as the strain from their inherent respiratory problems can overburden the heart and lungs. In the case of a flare up of symptoms, veterinarians may administer corticosteroids to treat inflammation, and oxygen to facilitate improved breathing. In severe cases, surgery may be the only option. Brachycephalic dogs, because of their congenital issues, are prone to further complications, such as eye problems, skin problems, spinal problems and birthing problems.