Understanding the Complexity of Brachycephalic Syndrome and the Effects of Selective Breeding on Your Pets

Modern day veterinarian thought leaders, that care for all types of pets in the areas of Alta Loma, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Ontario, Claremont, Fontana and the Inland Empire, CA, deeply understand the impact that selective breeding is having on our pets, and recently, at a very young age. The size of our pet’s noses, for example, play a vital role in effective thermo regulation, which is the process of cooling off the body when in a hot room or during summer heat. Natural selection in wildlife situations took care of this genetic problem for wild dogs and cats, but this is no longer true for domesticated animals.

Heat-related disorders from brachycephalic malformations in pedigree animals are caused more the restrictive ability for these pets ability to cool down body temperature through proper inhaling and exhaling, than the problems they also face with reduced ventilation of the lungs, lack of oxygen transfer, that is caused by disproportional sized airways. Both of these deformities are directly linked, genetically, to selective breeding to create exaggerated features, such as short-nosed, flat-faced animals. These features are popular in dogs breeds, Persian and Himalayan cats, and other more exotic small animals and birds strongly inhibit the health, comfort, ability to exercise, and quality of life of your pets.

What is Brachycephalic Syndrome?

Physical problems involved in this set of genetic malformations of the head, muzzle and throat, are complex, congenital traits animals are born with, including secondary traits from brachycephalic breeding that produces four different anatomical abnormalities associated with this syndrome.

  1. Stenotic Nares – meaning pinched or narrowed nostrils, affect the short-nosed breeds. Our veterinary surgeons use a simple procedure to widen these abnormally narrow nares, usually at the same time a puppy or kitten is spayed or neutered. An alternative treatment for Stenotic Nares is Laser Ablation.
  2. Elongated Soft Palate – The roof of the mouth has two sections, the bony front hard palate, and the back of the roof-of-the-mouth is the soft palate. There are five sets of muscles in the soft palate for swallowing and breathing. The nasal passages are cut off by these muscles when and animal swallows. The deformities of the soft palate create problems in this function.
  3. Evertion of Laryngeal Saccules – The is an out-pouching of voice box tissue that can be sucked into the airways because of the elongated soft palate and narrowed Stenotic Nares, this extra tissue significantly obstructs airflow.
  4. Narrowed Windpipe – The windpipe is genetically altered as too small to accommodate the dog’s size, which creates and inefficiency in supporting enough air supply to the lungs and bloodstream.

These malformed structures create an extreme effort for pets to inhale and exhale correctly, resulting in the breeds’ common loud snorting, coughing, inflammation, infections, exercise intolerance, swelling and other complications like infections of the eyes, nose and throat. For more information about Brachycephalic Syndrome and the treatments we offer, call Alta Rancho Pet & Bird Hospital at (909) 980-3575.