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Completed research project

Title / Titel Brachycephalic syndrome in dogs
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung The pathophysiology of the brachycephalic syndrom is not well revealed. Most researches propose that a narrow nostril causes all problems, others investigated on the special nasal anatomy in order to categorize dogs into riks groups. However, Norwich and Norfolk Terriers, which have normal (mesaticephalic) noses, show the same disease pattern as brachycephalic dogs. It is therefore not clear, where and how the stenosis occurs.
In the first part of the project, the posterior rhinomanometry was proven to be reproducible with a group of healthy dogs. Skull measurements on 64 healthy brachycephalic and non-brachycephalic dogs revealed an alternative method to assess the brachycephaly (S-index). The new method was chosen to classify the dogs. Rhinomanometry values if these dogs in inspiration and expiration were performed to calculate transnasal pressure differences and nasal resistance. It was shown, that brachycephalic dogs have higher values than non-brachycephalic dogs. The values were normalized to the body weight. Inspiratory pressure differences were identified to be most suitable for clinical use. Norwich terriers showed also high transnasal pressure differences. Preliminary results from brachycephalic dogs with clinical problems also revealed high pressure values.
In conclusion, transnasal pressure differences are high in dogs with the brachycephalic syndrome. This may explain a large part of the pathophysiology. It is very probable, that the shortened nose and the narrow nostrils are the main origin for the enhanced under pressure in the upper airways and that all other signs, as well as the overlong soft palate, are secondary manifestations.
A second part of the project showed, that VEGF was increased in brachycephalic dogs after short physical examination. EPO values did not change within the examination time of four hours.
Current focus of the study (2008 - 2011) is on the implementation to breeding. A study on changes of the skull shape within the last 100 years on selected breeds will be conducted. It is speculated, that brachycephalic dogs were breeded towards shortened noses (smaller S-indices)
Publications / Publikationen Koch D, Arnold S, Hubler M, et al. Brachycephalic syndrome in dogs. Comp Cont Educ Pract Vet 2003;25:48-55.

Nad N. Nasaler Widerstand beim Hund, Reproduzierbarkeit der Rhinomanometrie. Dissertation Vetsuisse Fakultät Universität Zürich, 2004.

Balli A. Rhinomanometrische Parameter bei gesunden Hunden in Abhängigkeit vom radiologisch erfassten Brachycephaliegrad. Dissertation Vetsuisse Fakultät Universität Zürich, 2004.

Rosaspina M. Vergleichende Untersuchungen am oberen Respirationstrakt bei Norwich Terriern, brachycephalen Hunden und mesocephalen Hunden. Dissertation Vetsuisse Fakultät Universität Zürich, 2005.

Wenk J. Zeitlicher Verlauf von vascular endothelial growth factor und erythropoietin nach kurzer physischer belastung bei meso- und brachycephalen Hunden. Dissertation Vetsuisse Fakultät Universität Zürich, 2004.

Glaus TM, Grenacher B, Koch D, Reiner B, Gassmann M (2004). High altitude training of dogs results in elevated erythropoietin and endothelin-1 serum levels. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 138(3):355-61.

Wiestner TS, Koch DA, Nad N, Balli A, Roos M, Weilenmann R, Michel E, Arnold S.(2007) Evaluation of the repeatability of rhinomanometry and its use in assessing transnasal resistance and pressure in dogs. Am J Vet Res. 2007 68(2):178-84.

Keywords / Suchbegriffe Dogs, stenosis, surgery, breeding, nose, respiratory tract, manometry, VEGF, EPO, brachycephalic syndrome, time evolution, history, S-index
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. D. Koch, Dr (Project Leader)
PD Dr. S. Arnold, Prof  
Prof. Dr. P.M. Montavon, Prof  
Dr. Th. Wiestner, BS Ing
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Other Public Sources (e.g. Federal or Cantonal Agencies), Foundation
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern Switzerland
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Jan 2001 to Dec 2011