Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Further Anaesthetic Risks and possible complications

Your dog has been identified as a brachycephalic breed. The most distinctive feature of these breeds is their muzzle. 

Examples of these breeds: French bulldog, English bulldog, Aussie bulldog, Pug, Pekinese, Shih tzu, Japanese chin, Boxer, Boston terrier. 

As your friend is about to undergo an anaesthetic, it is imperative that you, as the owner, understand the added risks that these breeds face. 

Because of the anatomy of the brachycephalic breeds, post-operative recovery from anaesthesia is the major risk related to the surgery. 

The 2 major post-operative risks are: 

  • Inflammation and swelling of the airway;
  • Aspiration pneumonia caused by regurgitation.

If one or both of these post-operative issues occur, we will inform you immediately and take active measures to treat and reverse what has happened. In some cases, this may include us re-anaesthesing and replacing the endotracheal tube in the airway so that oxygen can reach the lungs. Your dog may even require a tracheostomy tube placement. 

If the recovery from anaesthetic has been without complication, we will advise that your dog goes home with you for the night so that you can monitor, as we are not able to provide 24 hr round the clock observation for dogs overnight. We can arrange for visits from nursing staff if your dog needs to stay with us. 

If your dog does go home, you are under instruction to call the on-call veterinarian should any problems arise at home such as: increased effort breathing and increased respiration rate, discomfort and overheating, cyanosis (blue or grey colour) of the gums or tongue. 

It is important that you understand that even though we take all the necessary precautions, surgery in brachycephalic breeds does carry a greater risk of post-operative death. 

Please feel free to discuss this further with the vet if you are feeling unsure about anything.