The brachycephalic breed of cats is characterized by shortened skull bones which result in a short face with ‘pushed in’ facial features. This unique anatomy not only affects the appearance but also causes breathing problems due to the alteration of the air passages.

The Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is common among such breeds and is used to define a set of abnormalities in the upper airways which obstruct breathing. Such cats may have a combination of abnormalities meaning that they require a lot of attention from an animal hospital in Peekskill, NY to control the problem.

Abnormalities affecting the upper airways

Your pet may experience stenotic nares thus have nostrils and air passages that are abnormally narrow. This limits the amount of air getting in and out of the body. He may also have a soft palate that is longer than normal, and this reduces the width of the tracheal opening hence restricting air flow. Other common abnormalities include a hypoplastic trachea which is narrower than normal; and the saccules in the voice box may become everted, thus creating inefficiency in the breathing functionalities.

Symptoms of this airway syndrome

You will notice that your cat is using too much effort during respiration and breathing. In fact, most cats that have several abnormalities will often use their mouth for breathing rather than their nose, because they get more air flow this way. Also, he may acquire a noisy breathing pattern, or snore during his sleep. In many instances, your pet will pant heavily after rigorous activities of physical exercise, or even faint afterward. This shows that the amount of air getting into his body is quite limited. Needless to say, the more abnormalities present in your cat, the more symptoms he will possess.

How is it diagnosed?

It is important to get regular checkups so as to control the syndrome and prevent the symptoms from advancing into inflamed body parts or a strained heart. The vet will perform a physical examination to realize the extent of abnormality in the facial anatomy. Sometimes, the cat may be anesthetized so as to perform a deeper inspection of the trachea and the larynx. It is important to provide a historical account of the problem in your pet so that the vet can make an accurate diagnosis.


An overweight cat has a higher chance of developing breathing complications especially if they are brachycephalic. Therefore, the first course of treatment in such cats is weight loss. Afterward, the condition can be managed successfully by avoiding environments that are hot or humid and limiting the amount of physical activity your pet does. This treatment works in the long term.

In the short term, your vet may administer some medications to reduce the symptoms and make it easier for your pet to breath. However, these treatments will only relieve the problem at that moment, so it may recur in the future. The surest way of dealing with the syndrome is reconstructive surgery to widen the trachea and shorten the soft palate, and also correct the structure of the laryngeal saccules in order to make breathing easier for your pet.