Anaesthesia of brachycephalic dogs

J Small Anim Pract. 2018 Dec;59(12):725-733. doi: 10.1111/jsap.12948. Epub 2018 Oct 29.


Brachycephalic breeds of dog have grown in popularity in the UK and so form an increasing proportion of cases requiring anaesthesia. These breeds are predisposed to several conditions, notably brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome and gastro-oesophageal reflux, that have important implications for anaesthetic management and carry high risk for complications. This review incorporates peer-reviewed veterinary literature with clinical experience in a discussion on perioperative management of brachycephalic dogs. We focus on preoperative identification of common concurrent conditions, practical strategies for reducing anaesthetic risk and improving postoperative management. Comparisons of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome with the human condition of obstructive sleep apnoea are included where appropriate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / prevention & control
  • Airway Obstruction / veterinary
  • Anesthesia / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia / methods
  • Anesthesia / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Craniosynostoses / complications
  • Craniosynostoses / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dog Diseases / prevention & control
  • Dogs / surgery
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / prevention & control
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / veterinary
  • Humans
  • Perioperative Care / veterinary