Sleep-disordered breathing in the Cavalier King Charles spaniel: A case series

Vet Surg. 2019 May;48(4):497-504. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13148. Epub 2018 Dec 28.


Objective: To describe sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in the Cavalier King Charles spaniel (CKCS).

Study design: Retrospective case series.

Animals: Five client-owned dogs referred for SDB.

Methods: Medical records were reviewed including recheck appointments and routine preoperative and postoperative questionnaires. Whole-body barometric plethysmography was used to categorize SDB.

Results: All dogs presented with multiple episodes of stertorous breathing, choking, and apnea during sleep. Severe nasal septal deviation, aberrant nasal turbinates, and soft palate elongation and thickening were noted on computed tomography and rhinoscopy of each dog. Whole-body barometric plethysmography measurements during sleep (in 3 dogs) documented periods of choking, snoring, and apnea. Treatment combined laser turbinectomy, folding flap palatoplasty, tonsillectomy, laryngeal sacculectomy, and cuneiform process resection. All dogs improved in terms of incidence and severity of sleep apnea within 1 week, with 4 of 5 dogs achieving complete resolution.

Conclusion: The objective measurements used to characterize SDB in this population of CKCS provided some evidence to support an obstructive cause for this condition, which improved with surgical treatment.

Clinical significance: Sleep-disordered breathing in the CKCS is a different clinical presentation of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome. Our finding of intranasal abnormalities in these 5 dogs with SDB provides justification for future research into its clinical significance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ownership
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / pathology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / veterinary*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed