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Bailey breathes a sigh of relief!

2 March 2016

Bailey, an adorable English Bulldog, was referred to Willows to see our Specialist soft tissue surgeon Chris Shales. Bailey’s owners were very worried about him as he was frequently regurgitating foam from his mouth and he was very unsettled and not able to rest at night.

Detailed investigations of Bailey’s condition by Chris, suggested severe gastro-oesophageal reflux, in which the acid from the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus, possibly caused by a hiatal hernia. This was being made significantly worse by his brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). BOAS results in a reduced ability to breathe due to the short nosed head shape of English Bulldogs and some other conformation abnormalities of the upper airways also seen in the brachycephalic breeds. Bailey had previously suffered at least one bout of pneumonia due to inhaling regurgitated material. He was considered a high risk patient for anaesthesia and possible post-operative complications.

Bailey started medication to help with his reflux and immediately improved. It was decided that additional benefit would be likely if the airflow through his upper airways could be improved and so he returned to Willows for intricate surgery by Specialist soft tissue surgeon Chris.

Bailey had his soft palate shortened, his nostrils widened and a small procedure within his larynx (voicebox). The surgery went very well and he was noted to be breathing well in the initial postoperative period.

Unfortunately, Bailey suffered massive regurgitation later that day and was diagnosed with severe, life threatening pneumonia. Bailey underwent emergency surgery to place a tracheostomy tube to allow sufficient oxygen therapy to be administered and received intensive nursing in our dedicated intensive care unit over the following days. Bailey’s condition improved and he was able to return home a week later.

Bailey is currently enjoying the new lease of life afforded to him by his airway surgery and has indeed benefitted from respite from his regurgitation and inability to sleep at night. The only problem now is keeping him out of mischief!


Chris Shales remembers Bailey well:

Bailey is a lovely character who occupies a special place in his owner’s heart. His presenting complaint was the result of a combination of both respiratory and gastrointestinal problems that required careful consideration prior to treatment. Surgery to improve airflow can be hugely beneficial to dogs like Bailey, but provision must be made to deal with complications that can arise despite appropriate therapy. The team at Willows performed admirably to help Bailey and I was proud to work with them through his difficult time.


Bailey at home  

Bailey at home  

Bailey at home