Stenotic nares is a term used for describing narrowed nostrils. Stenotic nares make up one part of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome or BOAS. Brachycephalic dogs are those with a squishy face such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Boxers, and English Bulldogs.

There are three primary components of BOAS which result in secondary airway changes. The primary components are:

  1. Stenotic Nares
  2. Elongated Soft Palate
  3. Hypoplastic Trachea (narrowed windpipe)

Overtime, brachycephalic dogs are then at risk of developing secondary changes that further narrow their breathing passages and put them at greater risk of experiencing a fatal airway obstruction. The secondary changes include:

  • Everted laryngeal saccules
  • Everted tonsils
  • Pharyngeal and soft palate swelling
  • Laryngeal and Tracheal collapse

The aim of corrective surgery is to perform it at a young age before the secondary changes have developed and when the tissue is not chronically inflamed or swollen.

The ideal age for correcting both stenotic nares and elongated soft palates is at 6 months of age. For particularly affected dogs, some will require surgery prior to 6 months old. We will be able to discuss this with you at your visit.

Soft palate surgery should be performed before 2 years of age, as whilst it can be performed at any age the risk to your pet increases significantly as the tissue is allowed to thicken from chronic swelling.

Our veterinarians are happy to perform stenotic nares surgery, however, we will refer you to a 24-hour hospital for soft palate surgery. We strongly recommend being in a 24-hour hospital for the first 12-24 hours post-surgery as this is the most dangerous time for swelling at the surgical site. Stenotic nares surgery does not pose the same postoperative risk as soft palate surgery.

Stenotic nares surgery involves removing a wedge of tissue and cartilage from the nostrils to allow less obstructed airflow into the nose. We are able to assess your pet’s soft palate under the anaesthetic for the nares operation and can inform you if we believe they require soft palate surgery.

Below is a picture of Freddy’s nose. On the left, you can see Freddy’s stenotic nares prior to a surgical correction, and on the right the postoperative picture. Fortunately for Freddy, he did not require soft palate surgery.

We perform stenotic nares surgery Monday to Friday by appointment often under the same anaesthetic as your pet’s desexing procedure. Please contact our nursing team on 02 9086 9130 to book the surgery or to book an appointment to discuss your pet’s needs with one of our veterinary team.