If your dog has a short or “squished” muzzle, you may have noticed snoring and breathing problems. If so, your dog may have brachycephalic syndrome, a respiratory condition that affects certain types and breeds of dogs.
Brachycephalic syndrome is a combination of upper airway abnormalities that cause partial obstruction of the dog’s breathing. The syndrome usually includes several conditions at once. One of these is the elongated soft palate. The soft palate is the soft tissue that lies beyond the roof of the mouth.
When the soft palate is too long, its end extends into the airway. This interferes with the movement of airflow in the lungs. And in this case, the animal makes an additional effort to breathe, which leads to a series of side effects such as inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, the collapse of the larynx, tonsillar hypertrophy, etc.
In general, there are no drugs that are considered effective in treating brachycephalic syndrome. Surgery is the only way to significantly treat the elongated soft palate. One or more surgical procedures may need to be performed.
How Much Does Elongated Soft Palate Surgery Cost?
There are several factors that will affect the cost of an elongated soft palate surgery, such as the number of surgical procedures necessary to resolve the issue, the place where you are living, the period of time your dog will have to stay in the hospital, and the surgeon you choose. You should plan on spending, without any insurance, anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000. However, the costs may vary greatly from one location to another.
Also, on the website JustAnswer.com Dr. Gary said that the costs of this surgery will be greatly influenced by how many surgical procedures will be needed to be done. Plan on spending around $2,550, if your dog needs to have the nares, laryngeal saccules, and soft palate corrected. On the other hand, if only one of these three procedures will be necessary, then you will have to get anywhere between $1,100 and $1,600 out of your pocket.
Expect to pay anywhere between $550 and $2,600 for this popular laser procedure, according to a post on The Miami-Dade French Bulldog Meetup Group via MeetUp.com.
The procedure explained
During a soft palate resection, the surgeon stretches the excess soft palate tissue, then surgically cuts, or resects it away using a scalpel blade, scissors, or CO2 laser. Of course, all this is done under general anesthesia.
If the dog has inverted laryngeal ventricles, they can be surgically removed. Often this is done at the same time as the resection of the soft palate. The surgeon may choose to leave the everted laryngeal saccules in place and allow them to return to their normal position now that the palate has been repaired.
Surgery can also correct stenotic nares. The procedure involves surgically reshaping the nostrils to create a larger opening, making it easier for the dog to breathe. Excess tissue can be cut away and the remaining tissue can be sutured so that the nostrils can heal more openly. This can also be done simultaneously with the above procedures.
After surgery, your dog should be monitored closely. Dogs generally stay in the hospital for one to two days postoperatively. If severe bleeding or inflammation occurs, it can lead to a brachycephalic obstructive airway, which is a major airway obstruction.
In the most severe cases, some dogs need a temporary tracheostomy (a breathing tube placed into the trachea through the neck) to allow breathing while the inflammation and bleeding go down and the upper airway heals enough to allow the dog to breathe more normally.
It is normal for some dogs to cough after surgery while they are recovering. This should go away as the dog heals.
Which are the additional expenses?
We already mentioned that extra surgical procedures may be required like the removal of tonsils or laryngeal saccules, aside from the palate clip. You should budget around $1,000 for each additional procedure. Though, the costs may drop if you do all three procedures together.
Some vet hospitals may charge an extra fee for the anesthesia needed during the procedure.
Important things to consider
The cause of brachycephalic syndrome usually comes down to genetics. The definition of brachycephaly is “short head”. Certain dogs have been bred to have flat faces, short noses/muzzles, and small or deformed nostrils. These breeds are often called “brachycephalic dog breeds”.
Their flat faces and shortened muzzles and noses lead to malformations of the upper respiratory tract. Some commonly known brachycephalic breeds are Pugs, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs, Chow Chows, Pekingese, and Shih Tzus. Mixes of these dogs can also have the brachycephalic syndrome.
If you suspect that you have a dog that has brachycephalic syndrome, you should visit your veterinarian for an evaluation. The veterinary staff will ask a series of questions about your dog’s history and signs. Next, the veterinarian will perform a physical examination.
Some owners choose to have a spay or neuter procedure at the time of upper airway surgery, especially in younger dogs. Dogs with major brachycephalic syndrome should not be used for breeding.
Most dogs make a full recovery from the elongated soft palate surgery and go on to live normal lives. There may be some residual snoring and audible breathing, but overall, it is much milder than before.
Tips for saving money
Consider going to a general practice vet instead of hiring a surgeon because the costs would be, in general, reduced by half.
Look for multiple price offers at the vet offices in your area. Also, don’t focus only on the price and ask them about their experience and what they recommend for your dog.
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