Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome in dogs: 90 cases (1991-2008)

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2010 Nov 1;237(9):1048-51. doi: 10.2460/javma.237.9.1048.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of individual anatomic components of brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome (BAOS), including everted tonsils, and analyze the frequency with which each component occurs with 1 or more other components of BAOS in brachycephalic dogs.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Animals: 90 dogs with BAOS.

Procedures: Medical records were reviewed for signalment, clinical signs at time of admission, historical and physical examination findings, BAOS components found on laryngoscopic examination of the pharynx and larynx, surgical procedures performed, and perioperative complications.

Results: English Bulldogs (55/90 [61%]), Pugs (19/90 [21%]), and Boston Terriers (8/90 [9%]) were the most common breeds with BAOS. The most common components of BAOS were elongated soft palate (85/90 [94%]), stenotic nares (69/90 [77%]), everted laryngeal saccules (59/90 [66%]), and everted tonsils (50/90 [56%]). Dogs most commonly had 3 or 4 components of BAOS, with the most common combination being stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules, and everted tonsils. Dogs with stenotic nares were significantly more likely to have everted laryngeal saccules (50/69 [72%]), and dogs with everted laryngeal saccules were significantly more likely to have everted tonsils (39/59 [66%]). Postoperative surgical complications occurred in 12% (10/83) of dogs that received corrective surgery. No specific BAOS component made dogs more likely to have complications.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: The prevalence of components of BAOS in brachycephalic dogs of this study differed from that reported previously, especially for everted tonsils. Thorough examination of the pharynx and larynx is necessary for detection of BAOS components.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / genetics
  • Airway Obstruction / pathology
  • Airway Obstruction / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Constriction, Pathologic / pathology
  • Constriction, Pathologic / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases / genetics
  • Dog Diseases / pathology*
  • Dogs
  • Laryngeal Diseases / veterinary
  • Nasal Cavity / abnormalities
  • Nose Diseases / veterinary
  • Palate, Soft / abnormalities
  • Palatine Tonsil / pathology
  • Tracheal Diseases / veterinary