Yorba Regional
Animal Hospital

8290 E. Crystal Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone : (714) 921-8700

Fax : (714) 283-1262

Appointments Available 7 Days A Week

Veterinarian Staffed for Emergencies 24 Hours Including Holidays.
Walk-ins & urgent care welcome. We offer evening and Sunday hours.
Appointments are encouraged for non-emergency visits.
Appointments offered until 8 pm on weekdays and 6 pm on weekends.


Stenotic Nares

Stenotic nares is a genetic disorder that is common in dogs with shorter muzzles and flatter faces. These dogs commonly have smooshed looking faces and are referred to as brachycephalic breeds. Stenotic nares affect some breeds that include the English Bulldog, Boston Terrier, French Bull Dog, Pekingese, and Pug. The malformation of the nose cartilage disallows the dog to breathe normally. This is referred to as stenotic nares and common among these breeds of dog. This Brachycephalic syndrome is commonly treated by a stenotic nares surgery in those dogs heavily affected by it. Some do not encounter breathing or lifestyle stifling problems until they get older.

The main issue with stenotic nares is that many dogs affected by this malformation cannot breathe normally through their nose. It is similar to pinching our own nose and trying to breathe in that way. It is nearly impossible to breathe this way and causes many problems. These dogs are then forced to breathe through their mouth. Over time the increased airway resistance from pinched nostrils leads to increased effort and difficulty. This puts pressure on the larynx which could eventually collapse from the abnormal use. In such severe stenotic nares cases where the larynx collapses, breathing is no longer possible and the situation leads to death.

Signs and Symptoms
Dogs negatively affected by stenotic nares will show some of the following symptoms:

  • Noisy breathing, especially during inhalation

  • Exercise intolerance

  • Cyanosis – blue gums due to lack of oxygen

  • Fainting

The condition can be suspected based on the breed of your dog, and a glance at the nostrils will determine if they are open wide enough to allow normal proper breathing. Other problems caused by brachycephalic syndrome are not as easy to detect and often will occur simultaneously with stenotic nares.  Your veterinarian may need to perform additional testing with your dog under anesthesia to determine all problems related to the symptoms. Some of these tests include:

  • Ascultation of the chest with a stethoscope to listen for other possible causes of respiratory problems

  • X-rays to make sure the heart and lungs are healthy


Stenotic nares can be managed if mild and commonly surgically corrected for severe cases. If your dog is only mildly affected, you can make him comfortable, including:

  • Keeping him at a healthy weight

  • Limiting stressful situations and exercise in hot or humid weather

  • Find alternatives to a neck collar, such as a harness

As part of brachycephalic syndrome, which is genetic, stenotic nares can’t be prevented. However, with the right management and treatment, your dog can still live a long, happy, healthy life.

Here at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, Dr. Dunbar is able to perform a stenotic nares surgery for severe cases to help dogs suffering from genetic brachycephalic disorder. This surgery widens the air passageway to allow for normal breathing in the dog. The nostrils are widened by removing pieces of the nostril wall if the prognosis is good.

Our client has generously offered to share their photos before and after of their dog after the successful surgery they received here at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital. Below you can see the before photos of the severely collapsed nostrils.

day-of-surgery-2    day-of-surgery1

In the after photos below,  you can see the sleepy dog with widened nostrils just enough to promote normal breathing and resolve any problems from the previous stenotic nares.

healed1   healed2

If your dog is having the problems listed above or is one of the breeds predisposed to stenotic nares, check with your veterinarian first to understand the situation and what can be done to help if your pet is suffering.

Contact us at (714) 921-8700 to schedule an appointment with your Vet.




[Pet Health Network]

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