Do you have a brachycephalic dog or cat? Quite a few of our canine companions are brachycephalic. These include the Boston Terrier, English and French Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles, English Mastiff, Pekinese, Pug, and Shih Tzu. As for kitties, the Himalayan, Persian, and Burmese are most likely to be brachys. A local vet discusses caring for a brachy below.
Brachys are definitely adorable. But, as you may know, those cute flat faces come with a price. Brachys often have a very hard time getting enough airflow through their nasal passages. This can be quite dangerous, as your pet can easily lose their breath, sometimes after just mild exertion.
There are procedures that can correct two of the common issues caused by brachycephaly: elongated soft palate and malformed nostrils. These problems often lead to snoring, gagging, coughing, trouble eating, and vomiting. Some pets will benefit from these surgeries. Of course, every pet is different, so this is not an across-the-board recommendation. Ask your veterinarian for more information.
You’ll need to use a harness with a brachy dog, rather than a collar. It’s much too easy for collars to cut off your furry friend’s airflow. While this can happen with any dog, but it’s extremely common—and dangerous—for brachys.
Keep your furry best friend at a healthy weight. Fido and Fluffy are already short of breath: if they are overweight, they’ll be out of breath after even mild activity. Obesity will make it even harder for your four-legged buddy to get the activity they need.
Overheating can be dangerous for any pet, but it’s especially concerning with brachys. Fluffy and Fido can’t sweat, and they can’t cool themselves off by panting as efficiently as other dogs and cats can. This means that they can get into trouble very quickly in hot weather. First and foremost, make sure your pet always has clean, fresh water. It’s also best to keep your furry pal safe and sound indoors when it’s really hot outside, in rooms cooled by fans and/or AC. Fido shouldn’t swim, but he may enjoy wading in a kiddy pool, or playing in the spray from a hose or sprinkler. Your furry buddy may also appreciate a cold treat.
Many brachys have skin folds. These are of course really cute, but they can collect bacteria, so you’ll need to keep your pet’s skin clean. Follow your vet’s advice.
Do you have questions or concerns about brachys? Contact us, your veterinary clinic!