| Pathogenesis of elongated soft palate in brachycafalic breeds | english bulldog articles |
The definition of brachycefalus belong from ancient greek and means short head, brachy means short and cefalus means head.
The definition of brachycefalic breeds is breed with a short head. Many names are actually used for these animals as short-nosed breeds, flat-faced breeds, pushed in breeds, crushed breed, short skull or short muzzle breeds and so on.
All the popular definition regard the genetic conformation of the head and the skull that is the most important characteristic to identify these dog breeds. But the popularity of these animals is due to an hereditary defect, an abnormality, a malformation, an anomaly, to a genetic inherited desease selected by the breeders.
In the english bulldogs and the brachycefalic breeds is easy to understand what is elongated soft palate listening the roaring that identify this infirmity, louder is the roaring after exercise greater is the swelling and elongation of the soft palate.
Other signs of elongated soft palate are foam and saliva while eating or drinking, heavy panting after exercise, lack of air, to vomit foam, to regurgitate food, to snore, hyperthermia, heat exaustion, heat stroke. These signs and symtoms are greater with hot weather or extended exercise.
For the effect of airway obstruction when is excited the english bulldog begin to breathe noisily. Elongated soft palate is a physiologic disorder with brachycephalic dog breeds, not only for bulldogs, such as the other types of abnormality due to aereal obstruction for a too short muzzle: laryngeal saccules, a malformation of laryngeal cartilages or hypoplastic trachea, a malformation of the trachea.
The soft palate is a mobile flap helpful to swallow food and water preventing the passage of food and water from the oral cavity to the nasal cavity and the lungs. Elongated soft palate is difficult to manage for the animal who is affected because produces consequence over the air in every breathing and over digestion, the ability to eat and the type of food for the troubles to swallow.
The own conformation of brachycefalic breeds produces genetic deseases of the ventilatory system or genetic predisposition to airway obstruction, mostly the english bulldog, the french bulldog, the pug, the mastiff, the bullmastiff, the pekingese, the pug, the boston terrier, the boxer or the shih tzu, the most common short-nosed breeds affected with elongated soft palates.
In this breeds the lower jaw is proportional to the size of the head while the upper jaw results short causing a compression of the upper breathing tissues in the oral cavity and in the nasal cavity, provoking that contact between the soft palate and epiglottis that is an heavy form of airway obstruction. The soft palate prevent the natural movement of epiglottis for contact and for pression. In this condition the soft palate localized as an extension of the hard palate interferes with epiglottis closing the airway and producing in combination toghether with other malformations the most common respiratory syndrome in english bull dogs that is brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS).
When these parts of the throat are inflamed, for instance for hot weather, the elongated soft palate will close off the english bulldog nasopharynx airway and will strangle the victim leading to a quick fatal outcome for obstruction to breath.
This category of animals called brachycefalic breeds have an abnormal conformation, but the anomaly is included in the breed standard that means elongated soft palate in english bulldogs is the result of the genetic selection of the bulldog breeders.
The abnormal condition of the bulldog respiratory system returns a nice flat faced dog such as in the other short-nosed breeds as pug or french bulldog.
When the novice dog owners buy a bulldog puppy they usually choice the short-muzzle puppy such as the bulldog breeders and the judges of the dog exhibition look for a perfect lay back, but the perfect short-muzzle of the flat faced breed often include the elongated soft palate and the BAOS.
The consequence of the beautyful head, the elongated soft palate, may cause excessive panting and snoring, vomiting food or phlegm, roaring after activity until passing out from coughing or lack of air.
The more dangerous effect of this hereditary defect of brachycefalidc predisposition called BAOS may by the condition of hyperthermia, heat exaustion and finally may easily provoke the heat stroke leading the englsih bulldog or pugs or french bulldogs to a fatal outcome, the heat stroke provoke the oedema of the throat tissues, that is swelling and inflamed, blocking the airways and making inhalation of oxygen too difficult.
The malformation called soft palate consists in an excessive extension of the thicker soft palate that interfere with respiratory activity. In this animals the skull is shorter and crushed while the soft palate after the hard palate remains too long.
In normal animals the soft palate is the fleshy flap of mucousal tissue that divides the nasal and oral cavities. This malformation by ostruction prevent the inhalation and the natural movements into the throat of the epiglottis.
Unfortunately the genetic anomaly of the elongated soft palate is just the most common breathing desease of english bulldogs, but often goes toghether with other genetic abnormalities of the head as the pinched nostrils and the short nose provoking severe disorders of the inhalation of air and to the respiratory activity of brachycefalic animals.
Elongated soft palate, collapsing trachea, stenotic nares, everted laryngeal saccules are the most common combination of anomalies, abnormalities and malformations of short-nosed breeds as english bulldog, pug or french bulldog. This abnormalities need a surgery remedy by a certified animal hospital for surgical diseases of the upper airway in brachycefalic animals.
Every BAOS disorder get worse as the bulldog gets older, therefore the remedy for the elongated soft palate is a surgical correction cutting with a laser for surgery that too long part of tissue starting after the hard palate that prevent the natural movements of epiglottis into the throat.
A soft palate that is elongated produce a form of airway obstruction in front of larinx or into larinx. Surgery treatment involves slicing away an extension of the soft palate which forms the roof of the mouth to favour the circulation of the air.
The certified veterinarians prefer to cut a little piece and, if necessary, to make another operation than to cut a too long piece of tissue directly during the first operation.
The experiments over surgical treatment of brachycephalic syndrome gave positive results for the long-term. The surgery of the elongated soft palate is considered effective to permit a breath of fresh air, that is an adequate wellness and welfare to brachycefalic animals: english bulldogs, french bulldogs, pugs or other brachycefalic breeds.
The primary complications of an elongated soft palate surgery that is under general anesthesia, the secondary complications have been pointed out for old bulldogs, or when the disorder becomes chronic causing a structural pathologic changement of larinx until the laryngeal collapse with attacks of acute lack of air, in this occasion the surgery for elongated soft palate and laryngeal saccules is not considered efficacious.
Untreated elongated soft palate provoke a primary disorders in the throat with the typical roaring of english bulldogs when is stressed or excited, making training or exercises or doing nothing in the hot weather and often secondary deseases to larinx or other part of the upper airways.
I advice to monitor breathing ventilatory conditions for elongated soft palate desease and BAOS starting by 6 months of age.