Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is a pathological condition that affects short nosed dogs (Boxer, Bulldog, Pekinese, etc) and cats (Persian, Burmese, etc).
These breeds are especially bred for their short nose (and thus their flat face). The skeletal deformities result in severe breathing difficulties.

There are four different anatomical abnormalities that contribute to the disease: [1] an elongated soft palate, [2] pinched or narrow nostrils (stenotic nares), [3] malformation of the tracheal cartilage rings (hypoplastic trachea), and [4] tissue within the airway, just in front of the vocal cords, is pulled into the trachea (windpipe) and partially obstructs airflow (everted laryngeal saccules).

Because all of these components make it more difficult to breathe, in situations of exercise, stress or heat, an animal with these abnormalities may be unable to take deep or fast enough breaths to blow off carbon dioxide. This leads to distress and further increases respiratory rate and heart rate, creating a vicious cycle that can quickly lead to a life-threatening situation.

Other health problems affect these breeds too. They are overrepresented in skin and ear infections, prolapsed third eyelids and inwardly rolled eyelids (entropion), cryptorchidism, atopic dermatitis, corneal ulcers, umbilical hernias, dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), gastrointestinal disorders, periodontal disease, heart disease, cancer, and more. Their expected lifespan is just an appalling 7 years, several years shorter than the vast majority of other dogs.

The question is: do owners really love their pets or are these animals simply fashion assessories?

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