Brachycephalic breed dogs will need a different anesthetic protocol than others. It is essential that these dogs are intubated (tube placed down the throat to keep the airway open), maintained on oxygen, and closely monitored during any anesthetic procedure.
What does brachycephalic mean?
“Brachy” means “shortened” and “cephalic” means “head”. The skull bones of brachycephalic dogs are shortened in length, giving the face and nose a “pushed in” appearance. Due to the shorter bones of the face and nose, the anatomy and relationship with the other soft tissue structures are altered; some of these changes can cause physical problems for the affected dog.
Examples of breeds that are brachycephalic include: Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Shih-Tzus and Bull Mastiffs.
Brachycephalic breeds have anatomic considerations that may affect anesthetic outcome. Most brachycephalic breeds suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS), which is characterized by stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules, and hypoplastic trachea. Affected dogs have narrower upper airways than do dogs with normal anatomic features. Because in brachycephalic breeds additional airway contraction can occur with stress (ie, increased respiratory effort, turbulent flow), clinicians need to be prepared for possible upper airway obstruction. Furthermore, brachycephalic dogs must be monitored closely after premedication, throughout anesthesia and the postoperative period, and after extubation. An oxygen source and endotracheal tube should be readily available