Tuesday 16 February 2016

BOAS: airway surgery helps but does not cure

This YouTube video above was posted by this French Bulldog's owners in an effort to help raise over $5000 for surgery to help the dog.

Thousands and thousands of short-faced dogs need this surgery - the consequence of our obsession with flat-faced "cute" dogs.

I don't know if Panda's owners were successful or not. I hope so. The dog was clearly suffering.

But, as a new paper reveals, while airway surgery can help some dogs, it is not a cure.

The team at the University of Leipzig featured in Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On looked at the success of the surgery they perform on brachycephalic dogs.

The owners of 62 dogs (37 Pugs and 25 French Bulldogs) completed a questionnaire following surgery.

The findings:

  • life-threatening events reduced by 90% (choking decreased from 60% to 5%; collapse from 27% to 3%
  • sleeping problems decreased from 55% to 3%
  • the occurrence of breathing sounds declined by 50%
  • there was a marked improvement in exercise tolerance
  • there was a modest improvement in heat tolerance

But is was not a cure. As the authors say: "...despite the marked improvement perceived by dog owners, these dogs remained clinically affected and continued to show welfare-relevant impairments caused by these hereditary disorders."

We also know that BOAS is progressive and this study only looked at dogs up to six months post-surgery.

There's also the rather large point that we should not be breeding dogs with a high risk of choking, collapse, sleep problems, raspy breathing, and intolerance to exercise and heat.

Not quite sure how many times I can say that. But I'm not going to stop until we see more progress.


  1. Walked into Tesco's yesterday and there was a massive 'Mothers Day' card with a photo of a Pug with a big nose, narrow nostrils roll and above it on the card it said "Puggles and Kisses" What do you do?

    1. Sorry,at 11:06 I meant to say, "A big roll over its nose and narrow nostrils."

  2. Infuriating isn't it ? Don't buy the goods, tell other people, maybe contact the publishers. I produce greetings cards and giftware and refuse point blank to draw any of these breeds - despite requests from customers and agents. I explain why as kindly as possible as most people are still unaware of the truth behind the "cute snoring dogs" Only a small gesture as I'm just a small player Like you I wonder what else we can do .

  3. Open letter to owner of this Frenchie:

    Pay the $5,000 for this poor victim of inbreeding, and never, ever, ever buy another flat-faced dog (or cat) ever again, because that would only promote further suffering in the future. Besides the BOAS this poor dog has, it also has horribly protruding and misaligned eyes that are prone to injury, as well as malformed elbows that are susceptible to arthritis. Learn what animals need to remain healthy, and apply that knowledge to every animal you have from now on.

  4. Panda got the surgery, but there aren't any updates beyond three days post-surgery: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-panda-breathe#/updates

    What I find interesting about him is that he's a physically fit little dog, such a contrast to the majority of Frenchies and English bulldogs, but a healthy weight has not saved him from his poor conformation. His poor bugged-out eyes make me wince. I hope for his sake that the surgery has made a huge difference--and that his owners reconsider buying a French bulldog or brachy breed again once he's passed on.


  5. Poor little dog trapped in that horrificaly dysfunctional body.

  6. What is needed is for the KC to refuse to register these sad dogs until they have been out-crossed with a breed with more nose and less bulbous eyes. This is where the KC need to take action.

  7. Heavens, those eyes! Look like they're about to pop out of his head.

  8. We've provided more information about BAS here: https://southerncrossvet.com.au/bas-surgery-dog/