Corrective Surgery

Author: Amy Holloway

This is Dinky, a teeny tiny Boston Terrier who is now full of life, however, this wasn’t always the case. As a young pup, Dinky was suffering from acute breathing difficulties synonymous with his breed’s characteristics – a short skull and flattened face. Although some pups go through life absolutely fine, some can develop a host of debilitating health problems.

When Mrs Horton first brought Dinky home she had some concerns about his breathing but was told by the breeder that like French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers were just a noisy breed. As well as his snorting and snoring, Dinky seemed to be a very drowsy dog and not energetic at all. He began suffering with sleep apnoea and would stop breathing for at least 20 seconds at a time, coughing and spluttering as he came around.

Mrs Horton registered Dinky with her local veterinary practice, Clent Hills Vets, and received a free puppy health check. Vet Will Trewarman (left) examined Dinky and was immediately concerned about the pup’s severe nasal stenosis – extremely narrow nostrils that restrict airflow. Will couldn’t get a good look at Dinky’s soft palate but suspected this may be very long and possibly contributing to his problems.

Following Dinky’s consultation, Will discussed the case with fellow vet Barbara Grabczyk. Due to Dinky’s age and the severeness of his condition, they referred him to Willows Referral Centre urgently for further assessment. Doing a nasal resection at such a young age can come with added complications as the puppy is still growing, meaning that when you cut nasal tissue away to widen the opening, the tissue around it continues to grow, so sometimes a referral is necessary to ensure the pet is receiving the best possible treatment.

Vets at Willows Referral Centre agreed that Dinky needed urgent corrective surgery and within a week, the tiny pup underwent a bilateral rhinoplasty – both nostrils were widened to increase airflow. It was decided that Dinky should wait until 6 months old to have a soft palate reduction if it was needed, as any earlier could cause him to develop other health issues.

Post-op, Mrs Horton was very pleased as Dinky seemed to be a changed dog, much happier and more energetic. He was even running around now and able to sleep properly, however, he was still having some problems.

Not long after Dinky’s operation, Mrs Horton brought him to a Pug & French Bulldog Know Your Breed event at Clent Hills Vets. She saw that some other dogs at the event had breathing issues, and spoke to one pet owner who was worried about having the surgery.

During the event’s Q&A session, Mrs Horton explained Dinky’s condition. She added that post-op he was breathing better but was not eating properly as he would cough and vomit his food and had bad acid reflux. Head Vet Rod Stroud suggested that Dinky should be monitored closely and probably would need the soft palate surgery.

Over the next few months, Mrs Horton and Dinky were regulars at Clent Hills Vets, coming in with various issues relating to his breathing and eating. He seemed to be forever having injections and antacid treatment. One time, Dinky had to be admitted because he got so sick. During this period Dinky was found to be allergic to chicken, which cleared up some of his tummy problems, but he still wasn’t right.

Waiting for Dinky to turn six months old felt like a lifetime for Mrs Horton as she was in and out of the vets so much. Finally, on October 18th 2017, Dinky was booked in with Rod Stroud (right) to have a soft palate reduction and castration at the same time.

This was a really scary time for Mrs Horton, but she knew Dinky needed the operation to improve his quality of life. After surgery and post-op care from the Clent Hills veterinary team, Dinky was able to go home the same day with pain medication and advice to rest under the watchful eye of his owner. However, Dinky had other ideas. Almost immediately after the operation, Dinky was like a new dog. He even had to be put on a lead to stop him running around so much so he could get some post-op rest!

Three months on and Mrs Horton couldn’t be happier with the change in Dinky. After his latest surgery, all of his symptoms have disappeared apart from the odd snort here and there, and he’s now a very healthy and happy little dog.

Mrs Horton had this to say about her experience, “I am so grateful to Clent Hills Vets for the quick action they took, if it wasn’t for the free health check at eleven weeks and him being referred to Willows so quickly, and then the successful soft palate operation, he might not have been here with me today. He would wake up in the night choking on his own vomit and could stop breathing at any time.”

She concluded, “I know Dinky and I have a lot to be thankful for and I wanted to share our experience with other dog owners who are worried about their dog’s breathing and are thinking about this type of surgery. It has made such a difference to Dinky’s life and I can’t recommend it enough.

If you have concerns about your dog’s breathing, book an appointment with our veterinary team today

Read more stories like Dinky’s and learn more about this type of corrective surgery >