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Animal Hospital of Signal Mountain

Respiratory Functional Grading and BOAS

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) can be seen in all brachycephalic breeds but is most commonly recognized in Pugs, English Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs.


  • Brachycephalic refers to a short head, not a short nose.

  • BOAS is a progressive disease and can lead to irreversible damage and shortened lifespan

  • Clinical signs can be improved with both surgical and lifestyle management

  • Most affected dogs benefit from multi-level surgery which may include nares, vestibule, tonsil removal, palate shortening/thinning, and/or laryngeal saccule removal

  • Dogs of all ages will likely benefit, however, earlier intervention yields better results in most cases

Recent years have seen a significant rise in the popularity of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs. Unfortunately all three breeds are subject to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), a condition which may cause breathing difficulties. BOAS is caused when the soft tissue in the nose and throat are excessive for the airway, partially obstructing the airway and making it difficult for them breathe normally. BOAS is a progressive disorder and can impair a dog’s ability to exercise, play, eat and even sleep. Along with conformational issues, indiscriminate breeding practices resulting from increased demand for puppies has only exacerbated the problem. Clinical signs of BOAS are variable and can include noisy breathing, exercise and heat intolerance, regurgitation and difficulty swallowing. And sadly for pet health, many owners are unaware of the disease, and often interpret breathing noises or difficulties as simply normal for the breed.

Dr. Blair Cornman is an approved OFA RFGS examiner, one of 14 in the US

Take the BOAS Pre-Exam Survey for your pet today!