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Too hot to breathe?

Monday, June 22, 2015

With the summer on our doorstep, it’s the time of year when we can finally embrace the long awaited warm weather. However, for brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds the warm weather can lead to distressing respiratory issues. These breeds in particular are often admitted to our hospital with respiratory distress during periods of hot and humid weather, as they are unable to pant efficiently enough to cool themselves down.

Some of the more common brachycephalic breeds are the Pug, Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston Terrier and Shih Tzu who, due to their unique head shape, are prone to breathing difficulties. They are characterised by their short-nosed, flat-faced features, with narrowed nostrils and abnormally small windpipes, which can lead to breathing issues and heat exhaustion. Brachycephaly also occurs in several cat breeds including Persian and exotic short-haired cats.

What to look out for

  • Excessive or constant panting
  • Excessive noise when breathing
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Unusually long recovery after exercise
  • Difficulty when eating

What is it about hot weather?

Dogs are unable to sweat like humans, which is why they pant. Brachycephalic breeds have short noses and so there is barely enough room for the air to pass down the nasal cavity, making it incredibly difficult to regulate their temperature, and so they remain hot for longer. 

What to do next

If you notice any of the above symptoms, it is advised that you book in to see your vet to discuss the best course of action and ensure you are giving your pet the best possible quality of life.

Don’t miss out on our special ‘Summer Health Check’ for affected pets for just £19.99. Contact your local Highcroft surgery for more information. 


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