French bulldog – 2 years after BOAS Surgery – Terrible sleep Apnea

ASK DR. KRAEMERCategory: Palate Surgery for BulldogsFrench bulldog – 2 years after BOAS Surgery – Terrible sleep Apnea
PrettyPenny asked 2 months ago

French Bulldog Sleep Apnea Problem

Hi Dr. Kraemer

My French Bulldog Sleep Apnea / BOAS SURGERY

I have a 5 year old french bulldog who underwent complete BOAS surgery to remove elongated soft palette, removed tonsils and laryngeal saccules as well as stenotic nares 2 years ago.

Bulldog breathing problem due to enlarged tonsils

The surgeon mentioned she has a partially collapsed larynx.

My French Bulldog Sleep Apnea / FAKE BREATHING

My question is that when she is awake and sitting up in the day, her breathing is near perfect.

However, starting about a year ago, when she goes to sleep, she has a terrible time breathing, where it sounds like her nose just closes off and she stops moving air – though her body will keep ‘breathing.’  She will go through 4-5 fake breaths until she has to wake herself up to gasp for a big breath of air through her mouth.

My French Bulldog Sleep Apnea / HELP ADVICE

I’ve found one position that works well to minimize this, but is there anything else you can think might be causing this?   (She is not overweight, she just had anesthetic dental cleaning about 3 months ago.)

1 Answers
Dr. Kraemer Staff answered 2 months ago

Dr. Kraemer’s answer to sleep apnea problem in bulldogs

Dear “Pretty Penny”

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is very common in bulldogs and French Bulldogs.

Sleep Apnea in Bulldogs and French Bulldog CAUSE

A few common underlying cause

  • Obesity
  • BOAS
    • Elongated Soft Palate
    • Pinched Stenotic Nose
    • Hypoplastic Trachea
    • Evrted Layneal Saccules
    • Polopased Swollen Tonsil
    • End Stage Atophied Laryngeal Collapse
  • Swollen Nasal Turbinates
  • Obstructing Aberrant Nasal Turbinates (CAT)
  • Oropharyngeal Narrowing
  • Parapharyngeal Tumors
  • Sinusitis
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Hiatal Hernia
  • Megaesophagus & Reflux (GERD)

Bulldog Collapsed Larynx

Fortunately, the partially collapsed larynx diagnosis is unlikely based on the details you provide. This is a BOAS advanced stage and is usually manifested with severe stridor during excitement and activity.

Collapsed larynx is an advanced BOAS stage and carried poor prognosis

Bulldog and French Bulldog BOAS

The flat-face brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is the biggest contributor to sleep apnea. In your case, they were surgically repaired. You also mentioned a recent anesthetic procedure (dental cleaning) which was thankfully uneventful, and I assume nothing abnormal was noticed.

Bulldog and French Bulldog OBESITY

Being overweight is a contributor to sleep apnea but you mentioned that your bully is lean

Weight loss is important for sleep apnea

Sleep Apnea in Bulldogs DIAGNOSIS:

  • Visual Oral Exam
  • Visual Larygeal Exam
  • Visual Phryngeal Exam

All those visual exams can only be done under anesthesia (sedation)

  • Radiographs
  • Dental Radiographs
  • Rhinoscopy
  • MRI
  • CT

Since surgery and recent dental were done you might need to consider Rhinoscopy, CT, MRI

Bulldog Sleep Apnea Prevention & Care

  • Weight Loss
  • BOAS surgical Repair
  • Allergy Control
  • Humidifiers, EPA air purifier

Bulldog Sleep Apnea NECK POSITIONING

Prep the head to help stretch the neck. you can place a pillow under the chin. It will help extend the bully’s short neck and airways as well as reduce obstructive soft tissue.


You can try placing an inflated donut-shaped cone to keep the neck stretched while asleep. You can also tape to it a pulse electromagnetic loop (tPEMT) the help inflammation.


You should always consider trying non-RX therapeutics to help

Dr. Kraemer's answer to sleep apnea problem in bulldogs

Boost the immune system

Improve digestion

Reduce inflammation

Provide calm and relaxation

Welcome to our “Prevent over RX” bulldog community

Dr. Kraemer's answer to sleep apnea problem in bulldogs

*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “MUST READ” manual for any current or future bully owner.