Bulldog Health

Bulldog Health Article 19: Stenotic Nares

Stenotic Nares are malformed nostrils that are narrow or collapse inward during inhalation, making it difficult for the dog to breathe through its nose.

Certain breeds of dog are prone to difficulties breathing because of the shape of their head, muzzle and throat. The most common dogs affected are the “brachycephalic” breeds. Brachycephalic means “short-nosed.” Examples of brachycephalic breeds are the English bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, and Boston terrier.

These dogs have been bred to have relatively short muzzles and noses and because of this, the throat and breathing passages in these dogs are frequently undersized or flattened. The pinched nostrils, are a common problem in the brachycephalic dog. This condition results in a smaller passageway to the lungs with a markedly increased resistance to airflow. These dogs are born with cartilage malformations in the nose that limit or restrict the opening of the nostril, which can reduce the airflow through the nose in varying degrees from minor to major.

Stenotic nares in themselves may not be problematic for the dog unless there are other complications that make breathing difficult for the dog which can be corrected with minor surgery.  Many of these dogs get better as they get older, so may end up not needing surgery, therefore prompting a need to be patient unless it is a severe case which is problematic for the dogs breathing capacity. The surgery itself consists of making slits along the sides of the nostrils to open up the nares to allow for easier breathing.
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