Meet Sniffles – the adorable seven-year-old French Bulldog!
She came to see us at Animal Trust Ellesmere Port with her dedicated handler from a nearby Animal Rescue Centre, Almost Home, in North Wales. Sniffles was rescued from a pound where she was abandoned after being used for breeding purposes. She was in poor condition, with itchy, painful skin and was very underweight. Fortunately, thanks to the magnificent work of the Almost Home team, Sniffles would soon be on the road to recovery.
While recovering, another health problem became apparent. Sniffles was showing signs of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), a condition that affects an animal’s ability to breathe easily. This can severely impact the quality of an animal’s life. After a visit to the vet, her diagnosis was confirmed. She had BOAS. Almost Home immediately began fundraising to raise the money for the life-changing surgery Sniffles required. During this time, they learned of Animal Trust and discovered that due to our commitment to provide veterinary care to people earning the real living wage, they would be able to get Sniffles treated much sooner than expected.
What is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome?
This syndrome is commonly seen in flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs and comes with a range of problems that have a direct effect on their breathing.
- An excessively long and thick, soft palate. The soft palate sits at the back of the roof of the mouth. When it is too long, it covers the airway making it difficult for the animal to breathe freely.
- Narrow trachea (windpipe). A narrow trachea makes it harder for the air to flow into the lungs.
- Everted laryngeal saccules: These normally sit in little pockets at the entrance of the trachea. In dogs suffering from BOAS, they can sometimes evert out of their pockets and obstruct the trachea even further.
- Stenotic nostrils. Narrowed nostrils increase air resistance through the nose, making it hard for air to get in and out of the body.
With all these factors combined, breathing, exercising, eating, and drinking can become incredibly difficult.
Sniffles’ stenotic nostrils: before and after:
Sniffles’ BOAS Surgery
Sniffles underwent her transformative BOAS surgery at Animal Trust Ellesmere Port. The procedure involved a soft palate resection, removing her everted laryngeal saccules and widening her nostrils. She will be able to breathe better than before as her soft palate will no longer cover her airways, and her wider nostrils really improve airflow.
Her operation was a fantastic success, but even better news arrived for her! Sniffles became reserved for adoption! She had truly been given a second lease on life and she will be able to live it to its fullest with her brand-new family.
This amazing story could not have happened without the compassionate workers at Almost Home, and the dedicated vets and nurses at Animal Trust Ellesmere Port, who were thrilled to have played a part in Sniffle’s recovery.
If you would like to learn more about Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, you can read our informative article. Alternatively, if you are worried your dog might be experiencing symptoms, call your vet and book an appointment to have your pet assessed.