Parker, a charming English Bulldog, was referred to us for breathing difficulties. He had recently been acquired, having had several previous homes even though he was a relatively young dog. His new owners found that he had very poor exercise tolerance, being able to go for only very short walks before becoming too tired to go on. He made a loud noise when breathing, although this was thought to be normal for a dog of his breed, but after a while they realised that during walks this became an awful lot worse.
The loud snoring noise made by his breathing reverberated around our practice the first time he came, even when he was resting, and it was evident that getting air in and out was a real struggle for him.
Parker is a prime example of extreme breeding with the exaggerated top-heavy appearance and over shortened nose with excessive skin folds. His nostrils were small and tended to close as air was sucked into the nasal cavities with each inhalation. He was unable to lie on his side without becoming distressingly breathless.
Examination under general anaesthesia showed that the soft tissues inside his mouth were disproportionate to the bony structures of his very short nose- the outside had been shortened by breeding while the inside remained the size appropriate to a dog with a much longer nose (as Bull Dogs in the Victorian Age had). His soft palate extended into his throat and was actually being sucked into his windpipe with every inhalation, causing a significant blockage of the airway and the loud snoring noise.
The excessive tissue was surgically removed, and his nostrils were also widened to allow air to move freely in and out.
Parker has made a great recovery and is now a different dog, able to run and play, jump on the furniture and generally be naughty and enjoy himself.