Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome (BUAS) – physical exam

Most commonly the history of patients with BUAS are very similar. Generally, owners notice snoring and gradual progression of inspiratory stridor. Many times this will occur while the patient is a puppy and continue into adulthood. Other signs that are noted are increasing frequency of dyspnea especially during exercise or a hot environment. Another sign to look for in addition to the other is vomiting and/or regurgitation. This can be a compounding problem as it predisposes the pet to aspiration pneumonia.

On physical exam one of the first things that can be directly visualized is the nares being stenotic. The observant examiner will also note an increased upper respiratory noise with inspiratory stridor on auscultation(listening with a stethoscope. Typically the rest of the general physical examination is within normal limits.

Prior to performing a sedated oral exam various differentials should be on the list and should include neoplasia (oral/pharyngeal masses/cancer), tracheal collapse, laryngeal paralysis, lower airway disease and cardiac(heart)disease. Both lower airway diseases and cardiac disease can greatly exacerbate upper airway signs and if the patient is stable, these should be addressed first or at least concurrently.

Our next segment will be an overview of the surgical treatment and then we can wrap up this topic.

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