Elongated Soft Palate In Bulldogs And French Bulldogs

By: Dr. Roy Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Elongated Soft Palate in Bulldogs and French bulldogs is one of the most common upper airway conditions diagnosed in the “smooched flat face” (brachycephalic) breeds, such as

  • English bulldogs
  • French bulldogs
  • Boston terriers
  • Pugs
English bulldog Elongated Soft Palate

Bulldog Elongated Soft Palate 5 X MUST KNOW

  1. The elongated soft palate is one of the most common airway problems in bulldogs.
  2. It is a severe, debilitating obstructive airway condition that usually requires surgery.
  3. It’s a progressive condition, thus, surgical repair should be done sooner rather than later.
  4. Management includes weight control, a stress-free environment, a cool temperature, and supplements
  5. Prevention & Care includes Dr. Kraemer’s Affordable Elongated Soft Palate Bundles 

Members of this bulldog community prefer prevention over RX

Bulldog Sinusitis and Allergic Rhinitis Essential

Bulldog Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrom

Bulldog Elongated Soft Palate is only one of several bully upper airway anatomical abnormalities named “Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).

The other BOAS conditions are:

  • Stenotic Nares
  • Hypoplastic Trachea
  • Thicken Bully Tongue
  • Thicken Nasal Passages (turbinates)
  • Everted Laryngeal Saccules
  • Prolapsed Thicken Tonsils

Your bulldog or French bulldog puppy may be affected by a combination of one or more of these abnormalities.

The  “pushed-in” compressed flat head bully confirmation has an undesirable effect on the entire anatomy of your bulldog neck &  head and its relation to the respective soft tissue and structures.

Bulldog Elongated Palate BEFORE & AFTER Surgery (note the dramatic breathing sound improvement)

“Bubba” is a rambunctious 2-year-old puppy who was referred to Dr. Kraemer by his regular veterinarian after collapsing multiple times.

“We had to give him mouth2mouth to bring him back,” said his frantic and terribly worried owner “Bubba” 1 week AFTER Dr. Kraemer had repaired his elongated Soft Palate (note the normal breathing/panting)

This video was taken during Dr. Kraemer’s post-op recheck exam.

“In the first few days after his surgery I kept waking up in the middle of the night it was too quiet, i had to get up and check that he is still alive. His breathing was so quiet and relaxed, the terrible noise was gone, and he now able to run around and take a walk with us, we are so happy for him, this surgery saved his life”

Elongated Soft Palate in English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PRESENTATION:

Bulldog elongated soft palate and other brachycephalic obstructive airway syndromes (BOAS) abnormalities are due to their

  • Skeletal face shortening
  • Airway compression abnormalities.

Combined, they adversely affect your bulldog’s airways by increasing

  • Airway resistance
  • Negative intra-airway pressure

If this negative intra-airway pressure exceeds the resistance of the surrounding tissue

  • Inflammation
  • Soft tissue swelling
  • Laryngeal edema will occur, which will further narrow the airways and further increase the bulldog effort required to inhale.

Overtime the laryngeal tissue and cartilages will fatigue and atrophy, overtime ihis can leads to irreversible laryngeal collapse (i.e. “Bulldog Laryngeal Collapse”)

 Bulldog Medical Conditions Associated with BOAS

Elongated Soft Palate in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs demonstration

Your bulldog is likely to suffer from other serious medical problems due to chronic restrictive brachycephalic airway disease.

Below is a short list:

  • Chronic Vomiting, Retching, Reflux, and Regurgitation
  • Exciersie Intolerance
  • Overweight due to inactivity
  • Aspiration Pneumonia
  • Acute Hyperthermia
  • Heat Intolerance
  • Stress and Excitement Intolerance
  • Prolapsed Urethra due to Intrabodminal pressure
  • Pulmonary Edema
  • Heart Failure
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive Problems
  • Megaesophagus
  • Esophagitis
  • Bully Gastric Emptying Disorder
  • Faint due to high vasovagal tone
  • Collapse and Sudden Death

Elongated Soft Palate in English Bulldogs ANATOMY:

elongated soft palate with prolapsed tonsils

Your English bulldog and French bulldog palates are located on the roof of the mouth and have two parts:

Bulldog and Fr. Bulldog HARD PALATE:

The front (anterior) part is the “hard palate,” named after the bone it is made from, it can easily be felt by opening your bulldog puppy’s (or yours) jaw and pressing with your finger just behind the upper incisors.

Bulldog and Fr. Bulldog SOFT PALATE:

The back (posterior) part is the “soft palate” and it is located right behind the hard palate along with the roof of the mouth where bone meets soft tissue.

Sadly, for the brachiocephalic breeds like your bulldog and French bulldog, and as a direct aftermath of selective “cute smooched face” inbreeding practices, the normal anatomical boundaries of the soft palate are altered and airflow obstruction.

Elongated Soft Palate in French Bulldogs DIAGNOSIS:

Bulldog and Fr. Bulldog STRIDOR NOISY BREATHING:

STRIDOR is a harsh “mechanical” high-pitched respiratory sound that is the hallmark of a bulldog and a French bulldog’s elongated soft palate. The laryngeal restrictive passage noise is a result of the turbulent airflow that is worsened by the increase of airflow volumes such as during exercise or excitement.

Stridor in bulldogs will also be exasperated by warm weather.

Bulldog and Fr. Bulldog STERTOR NOISY BREATHING:

STRETOR is not the same as Stridor. Stertor is not a laryngeal airflow restriction but rather nasal or nasopharynx obstruction. It’s a snore or snorts and gasps heard during inspiration.

Elongated Palate in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs initial diagnosis is usually done in the exam room, either via a vocal demonstration of the stridor noise by one of the medical team members and then having the owners confirm, or have the owners bring a video of their bulldog during excitement or strenuous exercise or often the stridor can be heard at the exam room.

Elongated Soft Palate in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs post op

Bulldog elongated palate definitive diagnosis must be done under mild sedation via a visual inspection using proper illumination.

For a definitive diagnosis of an elongated palate, everted saccules, and other laryngeal abnormalities direct visualization under mild sedation will be required.

Elongated Soft Palate in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PREVENTION:

  • WEIGHT CONTROL: weight control is instrumental in proper bulldog care.
  • EXERCISE: limited and controlled exercise is essential
  • CONTROLLED TEMP: temp control and avoidance of hot or humid conditions is critical
  • STRESS & ANXIETY CONTROL: A stress-free, calm, and relaxing environment is important.

Bulldog Elongated Palate THERAPEUTIC SUPPLEMENTS

You should offer your bulldog natural anxiety relief supplements like:

immune boosting therapeutic supplement for bulldog demodex mite

BULLDOG ELONGATED PALATE MUST KNOW

IMPORTANT: It’s important to note, that medical, climate control, reduced activity, and weight management control do not and will not correct the underlying anatomical abnormalities, but merely lessen the symptoms.

IMPORTANT: It’s important to note, that medical, climate control, reduced activity, and weight management control do not and will not correct the underlying anatomical abnormalities, but merely lessen the symptoms.

Bulldog and French Bulldog Elongated Soft Palate REPAIR:

Timely Surgical repair is usually the best way to ensure a quality of life and a normal life expectancy

Bulldog Elongated Soft Palate EARLY PREVENTION:

Due to the seriousness and dire outcome of bulldog untreated elongated soft palate and other brachycephalic compressive airways syndrome problems, early intervention is imperative.

SURGERY: corrective surgery is the treatment of choice whenever the anatomic abnormalities interfere with the patient’s breathing.

Bulldog Elongated Soft Palate Resected by Dr. Kraemer

Bulldog Elongated Soft Palate PROGNOSIS:

SOONER THE BETTER:

Early surgical correction of stenotic nares and elongated soft palate will significantly improve airway function and should prevent the development of everted laryngeal saccules and other secondary airflow restrictive problems.

The overall prognosis for bulldog patients depends upon
  • How many anatomic abnormalities and defects are present
  • How soon they were corrected

Elongated soft palate always gets worse with time there for you must take care of it in a timely manner.

Elongated Soft Palate in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS:

bulldog tonsils saccules palate

Dr. Kraemer’s Bulldog Elongated Soft Palate TIPS:

Bulldog Elongated Palate GAG & VOMIT:

Bulldogs suffering from elongated soft palate often gag and vomit.

Bulldog ASPIRATION PNEUMONIA PREVENTION (i.e. aspiration pneumonia)

SLOW FEEDING: Don’t let your bully eat or drink too fast. To slow them down, you can use a cupcake baking pan with small wells (i.e. slow feeder).

BLEND DIET: You can use a blended diet and mix it with water to form a thick soup-like meal.

SMALLER & FREQUENT: Feed smaller portions at a time but more often.

LATE NIGHTER: Try a late-night meal, at times that helps morning retching

HEADS UP: Feed your bulldog on a step or a stool to elevate his upper body, the more vertical the better.

ANTI REFLUX: to decrease stomach acidity and gastric reflex, discuss with your vet home medication like antacids and antiemetics (anti-vomit).

Bulldog Elongated Palate / HARNESS:

I recommend a harness rather than a neck collar to prevent airflow restriction (for all bulldogs)

Bulldog Palate / HYPERTHERMIA:

In the event of a respiratory crisis, you should check the rectal temperature: normal is between 100-1.02.5 F.

If it is over 105 F, and you can’t get to a veterinary hospital, rinse your dog with cool water and place a fan over him/her till the temperature drops to 103. Don’t let it go below 100F.

Bulldog Elongated Palate / TONGUE:

The thick, large bulldog tongue often retracts inward to further compound the respiratory crisis.

If your bully is in respiratory distress or collapse, make sure that he/she is sternal (i.e. laying on the sternum/chin, rather than on the side). Pull your bully’s tongue so it is stretched out and keep an eye on the color of the tongue, pink is good, purple-blue is bad.

Bulldog Soft Palate / TIMING:

I recommend surgical repair of the elongated palate and/or stenotic nares as soon as your bully reaches maturity at about 8 months of age.

 Bulldog Palate TIP #6 / CALM:

If you cannot afford or have to delay surgical treatment, you can use a calm & cool environment, restricted activity, and supplements to help anxiety and inflammation like Dr. Kraemer’s

 

Bulldog Elongated Palate / HYPOPLASTIC TRACHEA:

In contrast to the common notion, it is my experience that the Hypoplastic Trachea appears to be tolerated well by bulldogs and French bulldogs in the absence of BAS or after they are repaired.

Bulldog Soft Palate / ANESTHESIA:

Bulldogs with this syndrome have an increased risk of complications associated with general anesthesia. I recommend routine pre-anesthetic screening tests:

BULLDOG ANESTHESIA SAFETY TESTS:

  1. Blood Work
  2. Chest x-rays to evaluate the
    • Esophagus (megaesophagus)
    • Trachea (Hypoplastic)
    • Lungs (aspiration pneumonia)
    • Heart (heart disease),
    • Diaphragm (hiatal hernia).
  3. ECG screening to r/o heart abnormalities
  4. Blood Pressure

Bulldog Palate Surgery / SEFOFLURANE :

Read Dr. Kraemer’s anesthesia warning and recommendations.

We have custom pre-anesthesia bulldog protocols especially designed to minimize breed-related anesthesia risks.  Finally, all of our bulldogs and brachycephalic breed patients are placed on sevoflurane anesthesia instead of isoflurane despite the higher cost. It is always best to ensure that your veterinarian has Sevoflurane.

Dr. Kraemer’s Bulldog Elongate Palate WARNINGS:

Bulldog Palate Warning / TEMP:

Symptoms are often worse in hot or humid weather note the prolapse, blown-up tonsils

Bulldog Soft Palate Warning/ANATOMY:

Elongated Soft Palate problems are directly related to the breed’s brachycephalic conformation and anatomy.

I don’t recommend breeding a bulldog that needs surgery to correct airway obstruction.

Bulldog Elongated Palate Waring / TIME:

Over time, as a direct outcome of years of negative intra-airway pressure (suction) bulldogs with elongated soft palates will develop other secondary problems that further obstruct airflow.

Examples are:

  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Eeverted saccules
  • Hypoplastic trachea.

Tragically this all can end with an irreversible, inoperable, atrophied, collapsed, larynx cartilage.

Bulldog Elongated Palate Warning / PROLAPS URETHARA:

In the long term, the increased effort associated with breathing can put an increased strain on the heart with heart disease and failure as possible complications. the brachycephalic syndrome is suspected to be one of the underlying causes of prolapse urethra.

Bulldog Palate Warning / VEGAL TONE:

Vomiting and gagging are common in brachycephalic breeds (bulldogs) due to an increase in vagal tone, a direct outcome of the breed’s excessive upper airway pressure.

This increase in vagal tone will further intensify in bulldogs with an elongated palate and other Brachiocephalic Syndrome problems (such as stenotic nares).

Bulldog Palate  ASPIRATION WARNING:

Gagging and vomiting could lead to aspiration of the vomit content with Aspiration Pneumonia the most likely outcome.

Aspiration Pneumonia could be deadly, particularly to bulldog puppies due to their weak immune system and to any bulldogs going under anesthesia.

Bulldog Palate POST OP WARNING:

In the early postoperative period, swelling of the surgical sites (laryngeal edema) may occur and interfere with breathing. Thus, we closely monitor our bulldogs after extubation.

In my opinion, the post-extubation period is the most dangerous part of “bulldog anesthesia”.

At my practice, we assign a trained technician to sit next to our pet, monitor vitals, and make sure he/she is sternal with tongue stretched and pink. We also have an oxygen cage in case of an emergency.

Most times the swelling will subside within 24-48h allowing extubation and awaking of the patient.

On rare occasions, the swelling will linger and the endotracheal tube will be replaced with a temporary tracheostomy.

Bulldog Soft Palate Surgery EXPERIENCE SURGEON:

The surgeon performing the procedure must be experienced with the breed and the surgery.

Immediate Post-op complications are more common than severe chronic cases.

Bulldog Soft Palate LARYNGEAL EDEMA WARNING:

There are times when the edema (laryngeal swell) prevents extubation, those patients will need to remain induced (i.e. sedated) and intubated till the swelling subsides.

Transportation to overnight care should be arranged if the hospital does not provide for that.

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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