Baylee’s Story – Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
Baylee is a 7-month-old Exotic Shorthair cat who was referred to our soft tissue surgery hospital in Guildford, to explore her breathing issues.
Baylee’s mum had noticed that over a couple of months her breathing was becoming increasingly noisy and that she would open her mouth for air, which is very unusual for cats.
She knew that flat-faced dogs could have surgery to correct breathing issues, commonly known as BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome), but wasn’t sure if the same could be done for cats and especially on a kitten who was still so young.
Her local vet decided to refer her to Fitzpatrick Referrals for further investigations with Senior Surgeon, Dr Jonathan Bray.
After arriving at our hospital Baylee was taken inside to be assessed by the team, before her telephone consultation with Dr Jonathan Bray.
The first step was to perform a CT scan to ensure there were no other narrow passages or abnormalities inside her head and chest. She did not have any accompanying rhinitis which could complicate her recovery post-surgery, so after a further discussion with her family, Baylee was booked in for surgery.
Jonathan performed a procedure known as alarplasty – a very delicate operation to remove a tiny wedge of the nostril tissue on each side, widening the nares and thus enabling the air to pass in and out more easily. Dissolvable sutures were used so that Baylee could heal comfortably.
Following successful surgery, she spent the night under the care of our nursing team and even ate all her dinner! She was ready to go home the next day to her family, who are happy to report that she is being a happy playful kitten again and her breathing is completely back to normal.
Brachycephalic breed health
In recent years Brachycephalic breeds have become more popular. Sadly, this can be detrimental largely due to repeated poor breeding of dogs and cats with extremely flat faces. We support responsible breeding, which would see many breeds having fewer medical issues and therefore minimising the need for veterinary intervention. As veterinarians, we made an oath to treat all patients to the best of our abilities, with quality of life at the forefront of our minds throughout the treatment process.
It is therefore our belief that we have a duty to help any animal, so they too can live a pain-free and healthy life. We feel it is important when buying any breed that you educate yourself on the genetic and medical conditions your chosen breed may be predisposed to, so you can make an educated and informed decision.