Our little British Bulldog is turning two in August and when we first looked at buying a purebred puppy, the search was more on reputable breeders. A great breeder was found and Bonnie the Bullie joined the family.
When researching this breed we knew that there was issues around breathing and it could potentially be a problem in the future. Breathing difficulties that are common of the breed was not discussed much at the time with the breeder, it was more the importance that we should not over exercise and keep them cool especially in the summer.
Bonnie went to two different vets. One for her initial vaccinations for a pup, and the second for de-sexing. Soft palate surgery was discussed very briefly with both vets and we were advised that because the snoring was not so bad, it would not be necessary for Bonnie unless it got worse.
We took Bonnie to a third veterinary practice – Southern Animal Health for a minor skin reaction when she was nine months old. At the initial consultation we had a very informative session about all things ‘British Bulldog‘ and in particular the focus on Bonnie and her health and medical care to date. At this initial consultation the education and recommendation for soft palate surgery was given with clear rationale as to why this particular surgery should be done prior to Bonnie turning two yrs old. With so much new information we left the practice to go away and think about what we had heard and discuss what was best for Bonnie.
Bonnie was a snorer and perhaps wasn’t as loud as some others report about their dogs, so we honestly did not think she was too bad and because of that, we were thinking, was surgery really that necessary? Bonnie also loves her walks (or should I say runs), but with after every walk/run taking her some time to recover and catch her breath.
We made the decision for Bonnie to have the surgery. This was due to us noticing that as time went on and as she was getting older, it was taking her up to an hour or so to recover from her walks – which is not right for our Bullie who loves her exercise (at the moment). Bonnie had soft palate shortening and thinning, laryngeal saccules removed and nares widened. Post surgery we were told her soft palate was very thickened and therefore in hearing that, we knew instantly we had made the right decision.
I cannot fault Southern Animal Health for their education and knowledge around the breed and the patience of answering our many questions to help reassure us to make the right decision to proceed. The post operative follow-up by the surgeon and the team for the few days following was excellent, we had the support we needed to care for Bonnie when questions arose and to make sure she was recovering appropriately. Although we were not too bothered by Bonnies snoring and really thinking that snoring just goes with the territory in this breed ( and to live with it), the difference has been incredible with a 70 -80% reduction in snoring noise. What a bonus!
The best positive for us (or should I say Bonnie), is now her ability to recover so quickly from exercise. It takes her nowhere near as long to get over a walk and more importantly, is not to out of breath when we are out for walks! I can honestly say that we feel we have given Bonnie a better quality of life just from improving her ability to breathe. Looking back now we wish we had done the surgery earlier at the 6-8 month old age as recommended, because we have come to realise that we really did not understand just how bad Bonnies ability to breathe was, and how compromised it was due to the long and thick soft palate she had.
If you’re thinking about considering this surgery, talk to the team at Southern Animal Health and get it done, you won’t look back. The expert advise regarding the British Bulldog breed or any squishy face breed is priceless.
Paul & Rachael