Duggie, Bulldog, 9 Months - After Surgery
The necessity of surgery
Soft palate resection is the removal of the distal (end) area of the soft palate and is performed to allow a dog to breathe normally or near normally. Some dogs, especially short nosed (brachycephalic) breeds, have overly long soft palates for the length of their mouth. This leads to the soft palate interfering with the epiglottis during breathing. If the soft palate extends into the epiglottis, it is essentially causing obstruction of the airflow through the epiglottis, into the trachea and lungs during the act of inspiration (breathing in).
The harder the dog then tries to breathe in the more the soft palate is pulled into the epiglottis and the more difficult breathing then becomes. In mild cases it is seen as marked snoring, in severe cases it can even be seen as collapse due to failure to be able to bring sufficient oxygen into the lungs.
The dog is placed into sternal recumbency (lying on its chest). The mouth is then held open so the soft palate can be viewed and grasped. The distal most portion of the soft palate is resected and then over sown to prevent any bleeding. This then keeps the end of the soft palate clear of the epiglottis during inspiration (breathing in).