This is Oro, an irresistibly cute puppy was in the clinic today for his neuter surgery. During his pre-surgical exam, we noticed a couple of issues that are common in shorter-faced dogs such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs.
If you've ever been around a dog with a short face, you may have noticed an abundance of snorting and snuffling noises. This is due to these dogs having several changes to their anatomy including small, slit-like nostrils (stenotic nares), extra soft tissue at the back of their throat that can block their airway (elongate soft palate) and a smaller than proportional airway (hypoplastic trachea).
The combination of these anatomical changes means that these short-faced dogs have a more difficult time breathing, and because they have to work harder to get air in and out of their airway, over time these dogs will develop other problems that further obstruct their airways. So because Oro was under anesthesia today for his neuter surgery, we took that opportunity to address several of his issues that would have affected his long-term quality of life.
This is Oro's nose halfway through surgery. Oro's nostrils had excess tissue removed to increase the size of his nostrils and improve airflow. You can see that the nostril on the left is larger and rounder in size, whereas his unoperated nostril on the right is small and slit-like in shape. Oro also had excess tissue on his soft palate removed, but this is a very difficult area to take a photo of, so I don't have any pictures for you :-)
Another issue that Oro had was retained deciduous teeth - these are baby teeth that haven't fallen out when the adult teeth erupted. This is a common problem in small breed dogs such as Yorkies, Chihuahuas, miniature Poodles and Pugs. These teeth can cause problems because they're fragile and prone to breaking and becoming infected, and because when they're in contact with the adult tooth, it prevents gum tissue from adhering properly to the adult tooth, and makes that tooth more susceptible to infection.
We took x-rays of Oro's mouth to ensure he wasn't hiding any surprises, and found that he also had impacted pre-molars on both sides of his lower jaw that could potentially form cysts causing loss of the bone in his jaw. This x-ray shows where Oro's hidden tooth is - it's circled in red and actually laying on its side! This tooth was completely covered in gum tissue and not visible while looking into Oro's mouth. We removed both of his impacted teeth to try and prevent him from having problems from these teeth later on.
Oro is a wonderfully sweet dog with a very caring owner, and we're so happy we were able to help him today. I personally get really excited about these surgeries, because its so nice to be able to make these little changes and know that he's going to be able to breathe more comfortably and not have pain in his mouth from these misplaced teeth causing problems.