Have you ever been woken up by the chainsaw sleeping at the foot of your bed? If so you might be wondering whether or not it’s normal for your dog to be snoring like that!
Well, it really depends on the level of snoring; snoring during sleep (and snorting or noisy breathing whilst awake) is caused by soft tissue obstructing the airways. If you’ve ever sucked something like car seat cover ties up into the vacuum and they’ve gotten stuck this gives you some idea!
Snoring itself is actually abnormal but some during sleep doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. If it’s continuous, or it’s a worsening snore or snorting (or really any respiratory noise) it’s not normal and indicates a compromise of the airways.
We find the problem is most common in brachycephalic breeds (think “squashed faces”) such as pugs, boxers, bulldogs, French bulldogs, and Boston Terriers.
Airway obstruction with soft tissues at the back of the throat is progressive over time; the tissues become thicker due to chronic inflammation which exacerbates the problem.
In the most severe cases, airway obstruction with soft tissues can dramatically increase the risk of heat stroke and can cause asphyxiation if the dog is exercising.
What we can do:
We assess the airways under general anaesthesia and we’ll make our recommendation if surgery will improve the dog’s ability to breathe and therefore the long-term quality of life.
Surgical intervention is generally best performed before two years of age.
The surgery itself involves removing various areas of excessive soft tissue including opening the nostrils, trimming the soft palate and assessing the tonsils to improve airflow and therefore reduce breathing difficulties.
If you have any of the mentioned breeds or are just concerned about any snoring or snorting book in to speak to one of our vets and we’ll be happy to discuss your options!