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Frenchies & Their Breathing
French Bulldogs are what is known as a brachycephalic breed (flat-faced), and they’ve certainly gained notoriety for their breathing issues.
Some airlines have outright banned Frenchies on their flights, and you certainly have to take special considerations when traveling with your Frenchie…
Why it matters
Sometimes their flat-face-ness can cause a condition known as Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS).
Healthy breathing is essential for life… a compromised airway can lead to many other health conditions down the line such as:
What causes breathing problems for Frenchies
- Allergies: just like how we get stuffed up & sneeze when having allergies
- Stenotic nares: pinched or narrow nostrils
- Elongated Soft Palate: the soft palate is too big & partially blocks the throat
- Tracheal Collapse: weakening of the trachea over time eventually leading to collapse
- Having a very flat face
Poor breathing can cause these issues
There are a few signs that your Frenchie’s breathing is sub-optimal…
- Snoring & sleep apnea— but this could be caused by other reasons such as being overweight or older
- Exercise intolerance
- Heat intolerance & cold intolerance
- Choking— might be reverse sneezing
- Loud breathing
Fortunately, there are many surgical treatments available that can help your Frenchie breathe much better.
Common French Bulldog Breathing Problems
- Stenotic nares— pinched or narrow nostrils
- Tracheal collapse— collapse of the trachea or “windpipe”
- Laryngeal collapse— loss of rigidity and support for the laryngeal cartilage
1. Stenotic Nares
It’s a fancy way of saying pinched or narrow nostrils.
Many short-nosed dogs suffer from this disorder, and it can result in difficulty breathing through the nose, snorting, and snoring.
There are varying degrees of severity of stenotic nares, with some nostrils being nearly closed, and some only slightly narrower than usual.
This disorder can seriously reduce the quality of life for your Frenchie, making it harder for them to exercise, tolerate heat, and breathe.
2. Tracheal Collapse
Tracheal collapse in French Bulldogs is a chronic, progressive disease of the trachea or “windpipe”.
It is often caused by a chronic respiratory disease, Cushing’s disease, or heart disease.
It can be present at birth or develop over time.
3. Laryngeal Collapse
Laryngeal collapse is a condition that happens when there is a loss of rigidity and support for the laryngeal cartilage, causing the larynx to collapse.
The larynx protects the lungs for aspiration while swallowing, allows for barking & growling, and serves as a passage for airflow to the lungs.
It is also called the “voice box”.
French Bulldog Breathing Surgery
There are a few surgeries available for a Frenchie that is having issues breathing.
A comprehensive surgical plan to address all your Frenchie’s breathing issues can cost up to $2,500.
Surgeries to correct breathing issues
- Stenotic nares surgery ($200 – $1,000)
- Soft palate surgery to correct an elongated soft palate ($500 – $1,500)
Why you should consider surgery
Surgery can greatly improve your Frenchie’s quality of life, especially for those with moderate-severe breathing issues.
These surgeries are typically done when your Frenchie is still a puppy, but they can be performed in adults as well.
Benefits of Healthy Breathing
There are many reasons to consider surgery to improve your Frenchie’s breathing… there are tons of benefits to a healthy airway:
- More energy
- Restful, uninterrupted sleep
- Reduced snoring (Frenchies can snore loud!)
- Reduced risk of developing health issues such as heart disease
- Better exercise tolerance
- Able to regulate their body temperature better