Brachycephalic is a term for “short-nosed.” Several dog breeds may experience difficulty breathing due to the shape of their
head, muzzle and throat. Shorter nosed dogs include English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers and many
other breeds. The shorter than average nose and face in proportion to their body size can cause problems for these breeds at
times. Owners with brachycephalic breeds must pay extra attention to their animals during exercise, heat/humidity and
while obtaining veterinary care.
The purpose of this form is to inform you of the risks associated with anesthesia/sedation and occasionally hospitalization,
which are inherent for dogs with shorter noses (brachycephalic). Not all of these problems may apply to your dog, but these
are part of the brachycephalic syndrome. Please discuss any specific concerns with your attending veterinarian.
Brachycephalic dogs have a shortened skull, resulting in a compressed nasal passage and abnormal throat anatomy.
The abnormal upper airway anatomy causes increased negative pressure while taking a breath, leading to inflammation,
deformation of throat tissues, and obstruction of breathing. We encourage corrective surgery (performed by others) in
moderate to severely affected dogs.
As dogs cool by panting, dogs with narrowed airways may have difficulty cooling themselves. This may be made worse by
anxiety or stress.
STOMACH AND INTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Brachycephalic dogs may swallow a lot of air which can lead to increased vomiting or regurgitation, and this could lead to
pneumonia. In general, we pre-treat brachycephalic dogs with medications to reduce nausea, decrease stomach acids, and to
promote stomach emptying.
Due to their airway, and in some bulldogs, their intrinsic personality as “tough” dogs, it may be difficult to restrain them
safely. This is a particularly significant problem with more aggressive dogs. We occasionally need to sedate them, or ask
family members to help with some routine procedures to avoid unnecessary stress on the patient.
SEDATION AND ANESTHESIA
While sedation and anesthesia are commonly performed in brachycephalic breeds, recovery from anesthesia may be more
difficult for these patients due to a narrowed airway. Our veterinary care team is well-versed on these special precautions
and remains closely vigilant in the pre-anesthetic induction, anesthetic and recovery periods.
We consider brachycephalic dogs a high-risk population. Please be sure you talk with your pet’s doctor about the
1. Any questions you have related to anesthesia safety and/or hospitalization.
2. Specific questions related to this consent form and how they apply to your dog.
3. If there are any specific concerns related to your pet and how their associated risks will attempt to be mitigated.
4. The most common complications of the proposed procedure(s) and how serious they might be.
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