Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Brachycephalic syndrome or brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is an airway disease seen in short-nosed pets and can cause a variety of symptoms. Signs may include:

  • Noisy or labored breathing, especially during excitement or physical activity
  • Frequent snoring or coughing
  • Persistent gagging, retching, or regurgitation
  • Exercise intolerance or reluctance to engage in physical activities
  • Prone to overheating
  • Blue-tinged gums or tongue (indicating poor oxygenation in severe cases)
  • Fainting or collapsing episodes
  • Symptoms worsening in hot or humid environments

Other health conditions may share similar symptoms with brachycephalic syndrome, including Valvular Heart Disease, laryngeal paralysis, or obesity.

If you notice any of these signs or if you have concerns about your pet's health, consult with your veterinarian. Seek immediate veterinary attention if you suspect your pet is having trouble breathing, has blue gums/tongue, or collapses. Early detection and intervention can improve the chances of successful management and prevent complications.

When you visit your veterinarian for concerns related to brachycephalic syndrome, the following may occur:

  • Medical history: Discussion of your pet's medical history, including observed symptoms and their duration.
  • Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, checking for any abnormalities in the face and throat area. Sedation may be needed to adequately assess the extent of the disease.
  • Diagnostic testing: Diagnostic procedures such as X-rays, blood tests, and possibly a laryngoscopy (examination of the throat) may be recommended to evaluate the presence or progression of brachycephalic syndrome.
  • Treatment options: Treatment options for brachycephalic syndrome can vary depending on the severity or underlying cause. It may involve medical management, lifestyle modifications, or surgical procedures to correct anatomical abnormalities. In severe cases, hospitalization and oxygen therapy may be necessary.
  • Advanced diagnostic or treatment options:In some cases, referral to a specialist may be advised for more advanced diagnostics and treatment.
  • Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve regular monitoring of your pet's condition, additional tests, or adjustments to the treatment regimen.

Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.

While it’s not possible to prevent brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), here are some things you can do at home to prevent or reduce complications from BOAS:

  • Weight management: Obesity can exacerbate symptoms, so maintaining a healthy weight is important.
  • Avoid overheating: Avoid situations that can overheat your pet, such as prolonged time outside in hot or humid weather, and strenuous exercise. Keep your home environment cool and comfortable.
  • Use a harness: Instead of a collar, use a harness when walking your pet to reduce pressure on the throat.
  • Observe breathing: Monitor for signs of breathing difficulty, including excessive panting, snorting, wheezing, gasping, or coughing.

Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on managing BOAS in your pet. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your pet's specific needs and medical history.

Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has BOAS or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$2,460

You pay only

$246

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)

You save

$2,214

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$2,460

You pay only

$246

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)

You save

$2,214

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$2,460

You pay only

$246

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)

You save

$2,214

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.