A pug dog is enjoying a new lease of life after a leading Warwickshire vet carried out an operation which dramatically improved her breathing problems.
Like many pugs and other flat faced dogs, Bella, who is six, suffered from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).
The breed has all of the anatomy of a longer nosed dog condensed into their flat noses, so there can be very little room for air to get in and out.
Bella was given a general anaesthetic and Katie Wain, clinical director of Avonvale Veterinary Centres, operated to remove part of her soft pallet, to solve the issue.
The case has prompted Katie to issue advice to owners of flat faced dogs. She said it is not normal for them to breathe noisily and if they are doing this, owners should take them to see a vet.
Katie said: “I found her soft palate was too long and was flapping and blocking her airway so I shortened this to stop it happening.
“She also had really tiny nostrils which I made bigger.
“Immediately after the op you could hear a difference in her breathing. We kept her in overnight so we could monitor her and she was sent home the following day.
“Now, nine months later, and her owners simply can’t believe the difference in her. She is a much brighter and happier dog.”
David Barnes, who takes care of Bella during the week while his daughter Charlotte is at work, said: “The change in Bella was almost instantaneous. Before her op, she really struggled, particularly on hot days.
“She would get breathless when we took her for walks, she would snore really loudly and her inability to breath properly used to wake her up at night. It was so upsetting.
“She is now a different dog. She is just so happy. She is no longer distressed at night by sleep apnea, caused by gasping for breath”.
Bella is already a bit of a legend as last year, David released a book about his and Bella’s life together. Money made through sales of “Paws for Thought” is being donated to Pug and French Bull Dog Rescue and Rehoming Foundation, in Wales.
Katie has some advice to pug owners. She said: “People should be aware that BOAS is a problem that often occurs in this breed of dog.
“Many people think their noisy breathing is normal but it really isn’t. A normal dog shouldn’t make a noise when breathing, this is a sign that something is blocking the airway.”
She said another issue with pugs is that they are very prone to heat stroke, so owners should be wary with the summer approaching.
For more details on Avonvale Veterinary Centre, which has branches in Warwick, Stratford, Kenilworth, Southam, Wellesbourne, Heathcote and Cubbington visit www.avonvets.co.uk or search for Avonvale Veterinary Centres on Facebook.