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Treacle Can Breathe Easy!

23 November 2016

Treacle is a lovely young Shih Tzu dog who was referred to Willows as she was snoring and snuffling very loudly at times! She was checked by her usual vets when her owners were concerned that she was sneezing lots, had a discharge from her nose and was snuffling. It appeared that her nostrils were very narrow indeed and contributing to her problems. Treacle’s vet suspected that she was suffering from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS).


Treacle before surgery- you can see just how tiny her nostrils are

Treacle before surgery- you can see just how tiny her nostrils are


The term brachycephalic is given to cats and dogs with short noses, this relates to these particular breeds in the dog; English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Dogue de Bordeaux, Boxer, Pug, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu and Pekingese, and in cats it includes breeds such as the Persian and Himalayan. Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome is the name given to the effects that the shortened nose of these animals has on the passage of air through the upper airways. Animals suffering from this condition can struggle to breath during exercise and may suffer collapse due to lack of air or may overheat.

Treacle was referred to see Faye Swinbourne one of the Specialist soft tissue surgeons here at Willows. Firstly Treacle had a CT scan of her head and chest to rule out any other causes of her symptoms and after examination of the upper airways under general anaesthesia, Faye was able to confirm that Treacle was suffering from BOAS. Not only did she have very narrow nostrils, but also a long soft palate and large tonsils too! All of these factors were making it very difficult for poor Treacle to breathe.

Faye was able to perform delicate surgery to shorten Treacle’s soft palate, remove her tonsils and widen her nostrils. At the time of surgery Treacle was closely monitored by the Specialist anaesthesia team here at Willows and following surgery she was transferred to our intensive care unit for close monitoring whilst she recovered from anaesthesia.

We are delighted to say that after a short stay at the centre, Treacle was reunited with her owners. Treacle’s owners are absolutely delighted as she is a very happy dog now that she can run around and play again and is able to live life to the full.


Treacle after her surgery

Treacle after her surgery

Treacle after her surgery


To find out more about brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome see our Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) Information Sheet