Importance of Alar Fold Resections in Short Nosed Pets

By March 30, 2015 Blogs, Client Education

We love our Bulldogs, Frenchies, and Pugs for their short noses and snoring.  They were bred a certain way to maintain those smooshy, adorable faces however there is a big price to pay for all that cuteness.  They just can’t breathe well and have a tendency to overheat in warm environments.  There are typically 4 anatomical changes found in our short nosed dogs:  stenotic nares (very small nostrils), elongated soft palate (this causes noisy breathing by covering the entry to trachea), narrow trachea (windpipe), and everted laryngeal saccules.  So you have this 50# American Bulldog who is basically breathing out of a straw!  No wonder they snore and make so much noise even when they are inactive. The good news is that you can surgically fix a few of these issues to help them breathe better!

The best way to prevent respiratory issues is to surgically correct their stenotic nares by removing the excess tissue and creating a nostril to breathe.  Studies have shown that if you correct the nostrils in a brachycephalic dog before they develop difficulty breathing (when they are young or at time of spay/neuter), you can actually prevent their soft palates from getting thickened and consequently, prevent them from needing surgery on their palate too.  I have seen pugs able to go for a 2-3 mile run because I performed an alar fold resection on them when 7m of age.

We use cautery or surgical laser to perform these procedures.  The attached picture shows the right nostril of a French Bulldog prior to surgery and the left nostril already surgically corrected.  As you can see, the dog now has an open airway to breathe!!  So if you have one of our beloved smooshy faced breeds, we have the ability to greatly improve their quality of life so just ask us if an alar fold resection would help your pet!


Author davidson

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Kris says:

    Doc, how much bleeding is involved? Can this procedure be done as a very young puppy ? I know that we have suspected a very young pup as possibly one that could have mare issues and turned out we were right. Is it super dangerous to attempt at a much younger age? When I am asking about younger I’m referring to at the time some would do a docking or dewclaw removal as a clip and go procedure without anesthesia, without stitches?

    • davidson says:

      The earliest we would do it would be 3 months and that’s only in severe cases where they have difficulty breathing. At this age, it would require full anesthesia.

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