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Caring for a Brachycephalic Pet

May 1, 2021

Do you have a brachycephalic pet? Several of our canine companions are brachycephalic. These include the Boston Terriers, Cavalier King Charles, English Mastiffs, Pekineses, Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus. As for our feline friends, Persian, Himalayan, and Burmese kitties are most likely to be brachys. A local vet discusses caring for a brachycephalic pet below.


Health Issues

Brachys are definitely adorable! Unfortunately, those cute flat faces come with a high price. Brachys often have a hard time getting enough air through their nasal passages. This is actually very dangerous! Your furry pal can easily get out of breath, even after just mild exertion.


Surgery

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 wheezing, snoring, gagging, coughing, trouble eating, and vomiting. If your pet has these issues, he or she may benefit from surgery. Ask your veterinarian for specific advice.


Grooming

Many brachys have skin folds. This gives them super cute, expressive faces. However, those flaps can collect bacteria, so you’ll need to keep your pet’s skin clean. Follow your vet’s instructions.


Gear

You’ll need to use a harness instead of a collar on your pet, as collars can cut off your furry friend’s airflow. This can happen with any animal, but it’s extremely common—and dangerous—for brachys.


Obesity

Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is very important! Many brachys are already short of breath. If Fluffy or Fido are overweight, they’ll lose their breath even more easily. Plus, obesity will also make it even harder for your pet to get the activity they need. 


Heat

Overheating is another concern with brachys. Fluffy and Fido can’t sweat, and they can’t really cool themselves down by panting the way other dogs and cats can. This means that they can get into trouble very quickly in the heat! First and foremost, make sure your dog or cat always has fresh water. It’s also best to keep your furry buddy safe and sound indoors when it’s really hot out, in rooms cooled by fans and/or AC. Fido shouldn’t really swim, but he may like wading in a kiddy pool or playing in the spray from a hose or sprinkler. Your four-legged friend may also appreciate a cold treat.


Do you have questions or concerns about brachys? Contact us, your veterinary clinic!

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