Brachycephalic dogs are those bred with short noses and often dome-shaped heads for example Pugs, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, Shih Tzus and many other breeds. Cats can be brachycephalic too - Persian cats have a very flat facial conformation. The breeding of these dogs and cats to have very flat faces means that they have excessive soft tissues in their upper airways, which blocks airflow through their mouths and noses.
We cannot fix all the problems associated with the brachycephalic structure, but by reducing the amount of soft tissue in the upper airways, we can improve airflow, make their breathing easier and reduce the risk of problems in later life.
BOAS makes it difficult for dogs to eat, drink and breathe at the same time. Approximately 30% of these dogs regurgitate food or saliva (often seen as ‘licking the air’). Many will improve after BOAS surgery but may require antacid medication. If a hiatal hernia (also seen in some brachycephalic dogs) is present and causing regurgitation, medication for life or further surgery may be required.