Short nosed dogs

Throughout the years, humans have bred dogs either for hunting, companionship, or their aesthetic features. It is this kind of breeding that has led to the many health problems we now associate with certain breeds. This is especially true for those dogs bred to have the looks desired by breeders. In the wild, natural selection comes into play as the weaker animals are unable to survive and pass on their defects. In selective breeding, however, many humans are responsible for allowing those with health defects to survive simply because they appeal to our visual senses. As a result, their offspring inherit these problems and this increases exponentially as these are bred further.

Dogs with short noses are also known as flat nosed dogs, short muzzled dogs, dogs with squashed faces or brachychalic dog breeds. These include Pugs, English bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, French bulldogs, French mastiffs, Shih tzus, and Pekinese. The main problem with these short muzzled dogs is their reduced ability to breathe efficiently. This can decrease their quality of life and also increase the veterinary bills needed to be paid by the owners for any related treatment which may be required. Of course, some short nosed dogs may have no problems at all.

Elongated Soft Palates In Short Muzzled Dogs

What Is The Soft Palate In Dogs?

In dogs, the soft palate is a region of soft tissue which makes up the back of the roof of the mouth in addition to the upper throat area of the animal. The function of the soft palate, which is distinguished from the hard palate in that it is not made up of bone, is to prevent foods and liquids from being breathed into the lungs. This occurs by the soft palate closing as the dog swallows, and thus blocking off the airway, in a similar way to a flap. Clearly, this is a very important part of the dog’s anatomy.

What Is An Elongated Soft Palate?

An elongated soft palate generally occurs in dogs where the upper jaw is recessed or compressed into the skull. The soft palate will then be too long for the shape of the dog’s head and will rest on the epiglottis and overlap it rather than simply touch it. As a result the dog will have a significantly reduced breathing capacity and so exercise will be a difficult and stressful experience for affected dogs. Additionally, feeding can prove problematic as food may be unable to pass the soft palate and so is spat out. Other signs and symptoms include snoring, wheezing and coughing.

Can Dogs Die From An Elongated Soft Palate?

Generally dogs do not die from having an elongated soft palate, although it arguably most definitely reduces their quality of life. If left untreated for a very long time, then it has been known for this to be life threatening. Around the larynx are important muscles and ligaments which stretch as the affected dog struggles to breathe and feed. As a result the larynx can collapse resulting in a complete inability to inhale or exhale. This is extremely distressing for both dog and owner and eventually the dog can collapse.

What Can I Do If I Think My Dog Has An Elongated Soft Palate?

Veterinarians can diagnose this problem by putting the dog under anaesthetic and by taking a look the soft palate. Surgical removal of some of the tissue is a method of treatment used for this condition and it must be noted that responsible owners with dogs that have an elongated soft palate should not breed from them.

Heat Stroke In Short Nosed Dogs

What Is Heat Stroke In Dogs?

When a dog overheats, it does not sweat as humans do but pants so as to lose the heat through its mouth and tongue. They can also sweat through their pads and nose. Heatstroke and hyperthermia is when the body temperature rises to a dangerous level in dogs. Dogs can die from heat stroke in only six minutes and so owners should be very aware of what this problem is. The body’s cells and internal organs can be damaged irreversibly by this condition. Dogs experiencing heatstroke will breathe extremely quickly, have dark gums, and will appear lethargic and depressed. The dogs may even vomit blood, collapse and have seizures. 

Which Dog Breeds Are More Susceptible To Heat Stoke?

Heat stroke is a life threatening problem for all dogs but is known to pose an even greater risk to obese, elderly, and brachychalic dogs. Since brachychalic dogs tend to resent doing exercise they are more likely to become obese and so this doubly increases their chances of heat stroke in warm and hot weather. Short nosed dogs cannot breathe as efficiently and so losing heat can become much more problematic, and thus overheating becomes more of a risk. As a result, owners of such dogs should take extra care with their short nosed animals to prevent heat stroke from occurring.

How Can I Prevent My Flat Nosed Dog From Having Heat Stroke?

Short muzzled dog breeds are especially susceptible from heat stroke due to the shape of their compressed skulls. This means that they have a restricted airflow and since they need to pant to lose heat, then the ability to do so is thus compromised. 

Since over exertion in hot weather can lead to heat stroke, it is advisable to only exercise these dogs in the early hours of the morning or in late evening when the sun is at its weakest. Dogs should not be left for long hours in the car, and should always have access to fresh and cool water. Shade should also always be made available to the dog. Dog “clothes” should not be worn by the animal as this can make them even warmer.

Owners should be aware of the signs and symptoms presented by dogs with heatstroke and thus watch out for them, especially during the hotter months. If the dog does present any of these signs then they should be offered shade, ventilation and cool water. In many cases, it is advisable to bring the dog to the vet for an examination in case of any internal damage that may have resulted from the rise in temperature.


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