Rostral nasopharyngeal CT measurements in Chihuahuas and Pomeranians are smaller than those measured in Dachshunds

Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2022 Oct 25. doi: 10.1111/vru.13172. Online ahead of print.


Chihuahuas and Pomeranians are often afflicted with obstructive upper respiratory tract disease. Previous computed tomographic (CT) studies have described the dimensions and abnormalities of different parts of the upper respiratory tract in brachycephalic dogs. However, Chihuahuas and Pomeranians were not included. The objective of this study was to determine the transverse-sectional (TSA) dimensions of the nasopharynx, cricoid, and trachea of Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, and investigate whether or not Chihuahuas and Pomeranians had smaller airway dimensions than another non-brachycephalic breed (Dachshund). A retrospective, descriptive, single-center cross-sectional cohort study was performed. CT studies of 88 dogs were included (42 Chihuahuas, 29 Dachshunds, and 17 Pomeranians). The TSA of the rostral, mid, and caudal aspect of the nasopharynx, the cricoid and trachea at the level of C4 were determined. For all these locations, TSA/weight, nasopharynx/cricoid, nasopharynx/trachea, and cricoid/trachea ratios were determined. The rostral nasopharynx was the smallest part of the upper airways in Chihuahuas and Pomeranians. Chihuahuas had significantly smaller rostral nasopharynx TSA/weight ratios compared to Dachshunds (P < 0.0001). The rostral nasopharynx TSA/cricoid ratio and the rostral nasoharynx/trachea ratio for Chihuahuas were significantly smaller than both that of Pomeranians (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.00027) and Dachshunds (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.00084). Pomeranians had significantly smaller cricoid TSA/weight ratios compared to Chihuahuas (P = 0.0014) and Dachshunds (P = 0.00028). This study demonstrated that the nasopharynx is narrow in Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, with the smallest dimensions located at the rostral part of the nasopharynx.

Keywords: CT; cricoid; nasopharynx; trachea; upper respiratory tract.