Guide to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome Surgery and Recovery 

Guide to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome Surgery and Recovery 

Enhance Your Pet’s Breathing: Learn About BOAS and Recovery. If you have a brachycephalic breed, read on for insights into corrective surgery and post-operative care. 

If you own a French Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, Cavoodle, Boxer, British Bulldog, Shih Tzu or any one of the other breeds with short snouts and pushed-in faces, then you might already be familiar with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). BOAS is a respiratory condition that restricts the amount of air that can flow through the affected dog’s nasal passage and thereby drastically affects their breathing. Corrective Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) Surgery is often the only way through which their breathing can be improved.    

For those who are new to caring for brachycephalic pets and are just embarking on their exploration of Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BOAS), also referred to as Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS), we recommend you first head to BOAS: Signs, Surgery & Cost of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome 

The following article is meant for those pet owners whose pets have recently undergone BOAS surgery. It details some of the particulars of the surgery and is meant to be a guide to help in recovery after BOAS surgery. 

How does SCV’s Minimally Invasive Surgery aid in recovery?

When you choose to get your brachycephalic pet their corrective BOAS surgery done at Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic, you can rest assured knowing that our team takes several steps to ensure that your pet’s surgery is completely safe and that they are secure and comfortable throughout the procedure. Since the procedure we perform is minimally invasive in nature, there is absolutely no bleeding or bruising involved. With the use of a specialised tool known as the Caiman which uses radiofrequency to seal long soft palate tissue, we ensure your dog won’t have any irritating sutures at the back of their throat. This drastically reduces BOAS surgery recovery time.  

Opting for the Minimally Invasive procedure also offers an added advantage – it significantly diminishes the duration your pet spends in the operating room. The surgical time is curtailed by approximately 40 minutes, resulting in your pet requiring less time under anaesthesia. This reduction in anaesthesia time lessens the chances of bleeding and eliminates the necessity for overnight pet monitoring. In fact, pets that undergo our Minimally Invasive BOAS procedure frequently return home on the very evening of the surgery. 

Additionally, our use of a Veterinary Anaesthetist ensures that there is a veterinary professional dedicated to looking after your pet throughout the time they spend under the knife, making the whole procedure much safer for your beloved fur baby. This further helps in BOAS surgery recovery. The aforementioned steps taken by our team ensure that your pets often walk back home with you on the same evening after we perform their surgery.  

What does the surgical procedure for Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome entail?

  • Nostril Widening (Nares): In this step, small portions of cartilage are extracted to expand the nostrils. Once this cartilage is removed, it cannot regenerate. Gentle sutures that cause minimal irritation are then positioned within the nose to aid in the healing process. These sutures gradually dissolve over time. 
  • Soft Palate Adjustment: During the surgery involving the soft palate, the surgeon measures your dog’s soft palate to determine if excess tissue removal is necessary. If an overabundance of tissue hangs over the larynx, obstructing the airway, it’s carefully removed using a Caiman handpiece. This tool employs radiofrequency to gently seal the tissue at a low temperature. 
  • Rectification of Everted Laryngeal Saccules: Persistent airway obstruction can result in everted laryngeal saccules, which signifies the initial stage of laryngeal collapse. Laryngeal saccules are soft masses of tissue situated within the larynx. These masses are surgically trimmed to alleviate airway obstruction. However, their removal isn’t always necessary, and contemporary specialized surgeons often refrain from removing the saccules unless they substantially hinder breathing.  
  • Tonsil Removal (Tonsillectomy): In cases where there is an irreversible obstruction to breathing and if required, tonsillectomy is considered. The same minimally invasive handpiece used for soft palate surgery is utilized to remove both the tonsils and the soft palate. 

Tabulated below are the areas affected by BOAS, when we address each area, and why or why not each area is addressed. Each case is unique, and we personalise what is done with each patient. 

BOAS recovery

 How can pet owners help their brachy in post-surgery recovery? 

Here’s how you can assist your pet during their recovery following BOAS surgery: 

  • Apply Vaseline: Ensure to apply Vaseline on the incision lines a minimum of 3 times daily. This helps safeguard the surgical area and stitches by preventing nose skin irritation caused by excessive sniffing. The Vaseline serves as a protective barrier. 
  • Manage Exercise: Shield your dog’s sensitive nasal passages by avoiding exposure to extreme cold and hot air. Restrict vigorous off-leash activities and limit leash walks to the periods before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. for the initial 10 days. 
  • Medication: Your pet will receive a personalized medication regimen to mitigate stomach acid potency and prevent regurgitation, which could harm the surgical sites and soft palate. Post-operative medications are aimed at preventing infection, diminishing inflammation, and promoting a smooth recovery for your pet. Our prescribed medications encompass anti-inflammatories like Meloxicam or dexamethasone to counter swelling and post-surgery pain. Antiemetics are provided to avert nausea and vomiting, which might irritate surgical sites and the soft palate. Antibiotics are administered to forestall infection, and proton pump inhibitors (antacids) are given to lower stomach acidity. Sedation is utilized to ensure a tranquil recovery, preventing any actions that might disturb nasal sutures. 
  • Guidance and Follow-Up: Two post-surgery follow-up appointments are essential – one approximately 3 days post-surgery and another at the 10-day mark. 
  • Dietary Consideration: During the initial 10 days, it’s advisable to avoid feeding your pet raw meat to prevent infection. After this period, you can resume their regular diet. However, it’s recommended to steer clear of hard, dry foods that could potentially cause throat discomfort by scratching the back of the throat. 

BOAS BAS breathing assessment