Plastic Surgery for Dogs 1

Author: Amy Holloway

Improving quality of life at Clent Hills Vets

When you hear the words ‘plastic surgery’, you probably think about breast implants, face lifts and tummy tucks to alter a person’s appearance. When a dog undergoes a plastic surgery procedure, it has nothing to do with appearance or vanity, it’s purely to improve that dog’s quality of life and here at Clent Hills Vets, that’s our number one goal.

Doug the pug came to see us about his breathing difficulties

A common procedure we carry out at Clent Hills Vets is a nasal wedge resection, or ‘nose job’ to you and me. Doug came in to see us recently suffering from breathing difficulties, and a very loud snore. Rod Stroud BVSc MRCVS, Clent Hills Director and Vet of 29 years, has recommended that Doug undergoes a couple of surgical procedures to improve his quality of life.

Why do pugs struggle to breathe?

Pugs are a Brachycephalic breed, which means they have a short and broad skull. The skull length is reduced, but the amount of soft tissue in their airways is not, meaning the same amount of tissue is squeezed into a much smaller, bony area. The tissue obstructs the flow of air into the dog’s airway and causes breathing difficulties.

Pugs originated in China and were brought to Europe in the sixteenth century; they would go on to be popularised in Western Europe and finally idolised by the Royal Family. Said to be once long and lean, modern breed preferences for a short and square body, a compact form, deep chest and flat face, has led to many health problems.

Due to their exaggerated flat face, pugs often suffer from conditions such as Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS), which usually occurs in the dog’s first year.

Doug the pug’s surgery

Due to Doug’s small and narrow nostril openings, he struggles to get enough oxygen in. This is further obstructed by the excessively long soft palate tissue that hangs lower down into his airways. Doug will undergo a procedure at Clent Hills Vets that will remove some of the excess tissue in his nostrils and allow him to get more air in, improving his breathing.

If Doug’s condition was not treated, he could go on to suffer from fainting or collapsing due to lack of oxygen, flatulence problems due to him gulping for extra air, and highly disrupted sleep amongst other health issues. Struggling to breathe is extremely distressing for dogs and advice should be sought straight away from your Vet if you are worried. It can be equivalent to a human suffering an asthma attack.

Doug also has exaggerated skin folds around his face which often get infected. Another procedure we often do is to remove some of the skin in this area, reducing the size of the folds and the risk of further infection.