Some people think your dog’s excessive snorting is an endearing part of his personality. Yet you know your pooch is a mouth-breather because his stenotic nares (aka his nasal passages) are too narrow. Fortunately, his nasal issue can be fixed by surgery. But what’s the price of freer breathing?
An In-Depth Look at Stenotic Nares Issues
Properly functioning stenotic nares are critical for proper canine breathing. Ideally, these passages will be nice and wide, which will allow your pooch to breathe effortlessly through their noses. You know things are fine because you won’t hear them struggling to take in air.
When stenotic nares are malformed, they produce an effect that is not unlike someone pinching down on either side of the dog’s nostrils. A limited amount of air is able to pass through the space, and the dog will have to compromise by breathing through his mouth. This can lead to tell-tale signs of the condition like snorting or snoring.
What Does a Dog with Stenotic Nares Issues Sound Like?
Stenotic Nares issues are so prominent in brachycephalic (that is, “smooshed”-faced) breeds like Boston Terriers and Pugs, loud breathing noises and snorting is often considered one of their personality traits. Yet while it may look rather endearing to outsiders, the reality is the condition could be a rather tough one for the dog and owner to live with.
Are There Any Long-Term Dangers to Stenotic Nares Issues?
Oftentimes, stenotic nares problems are congenital, meaning that the pooches are born with the issue. While you may think that this allows the affected dog to learn to deal with it over time, the condition will worsen. Unfortunately, the progression of the condition could lead to some nasty issues.
Specifically, pinched stenotic nares put undue pressure on the dog’s larynx. Over time, this pressure could cause your pooch’s windpipe to collapse. This could lead to a dramatic increase in breathing difficulty, which could lead to death in some cases.
This is why stenotic nares surgery is such an attractive option for owners with affected pets. The surgery isn’t just about correcting an annoying sound the dog makes. In many ways, it can be viewed as a means to provide comfort to the pooch and ultimately, a potential extension of his life.
So How Much Is This Going to Cost?
Typically, stenotic nares surgery will run you anywhere between $200 and $1,000. The price tag varies based on a few factors, including the severity of the condition and the method of the procedure. A visit to the veterinarian should provide you with some sort of ballpark figure after an initial diagnosis.
Typically, the surgery consists of removing tissue within the nasal passage in order to widen the nostrils. This procedure can be rather advanced. While some physicians will use old-school methods to get the job done, others turn to lasers in order to help dogs breathe easier.
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Stenotic Nares Issues and Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
There are times when narrow stenotic nares are not the lone breathing-related issue in smushed-faced dogs. The skinny nostrils could be part of an overarching problem known as brachycephalic airway syndrome. This particular condition is representative of several issues that collectively impede your pooch’s breathing capabilities.
When a dog has this particular syndrome, they will not only have narrow stenotic nares, they will also suffer from other breathing-affective issues like an elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules, and a hypoplastic trachea.
When a dog has an elongated soft palate, it means that it’s too long for his mouth’s length, and the excess partially obstructs his throat. When laryngeal saccules (or sacs found just outside the voice box) get everted, they end up blocking the airway. And if a dog has a hypoplastic trachea, this means is trachea is narrower than normal.
Collectively, these can all spell tough times for a dog that simply wants to catch his breath. Needless to say, these conditions can lead to the same long-term issues for a dog that can be experienced with narrow stenotic nares. If anything, they can conspire to accelerate the long-term issues.
When you visit your vet to get your brachycephalic dog checked out for narrow stenotic nares, it is wise to have him or her examine your pooch in order to confirm or rule out brachycephalic airway syndrome. It’s better to nip the entire problem in the bud so that your dog can breathe as freely as possible.
Of course, you can expect the cost of surgery to go up at that point, and by a significant amount. Elongated soft palate surgery can typically go for anywhere between $500 to $1,500, depending on various circumstances. However, this may be a small price to pay if that means your pooch will be around much longer.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Help My Dog Combat Stenotic Nares Issues Prior to Surgery?
If your dog only has a mild case of stenotic nares flare-ups, there are a few things you can do to make his life more comfortable while you save up for surgery. Keeping your pooch at a healthy weight will lessen the breathing issues. When you exercise with your dog, you should avoid using a neck-based leash as well as going out in hot, humid weather.
Unfortunately, because stenotic nares issues are congenital, there really isn’t a way that you can prevent the condition from occurring. However, these measures of treatment can at least help your pooch breathe a little more comfortably before he goes under the knife – or in some cases, the laser beam.
A Healthier, Happier Dog
After the surgery occurs, your dog will practically have a new lease on life. The improved method of breathing will not only lower the amount of snorting and other noises of discomfort coming from his maw, but it will make him happier, because breathing will no longer be a struggle. And what dog owner wouldn’t want to make their dog more joyful?