Will offer BOAS grading

Does your dog suffer from respiratory problems? Or is there perhaps more breathing and panting than is normal? A-Vet now offers BOAS grading based on the Norwegian Kennel Club's screening programme. 

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What is BOAS Grading?

BOAS (brachyocephal obstructive airway syndrome) is a pathological disorder in short-nosed dogs and cats that breathe and pant and make a lot of noise due to narrow upper airways. The symptoms can vary from slight snoring noises to severe breathing problems and loss of consciousness.

NKK has in collaboration with Norwegian Pug Club og Norwegian Bulldog Club initiated a grading system for the English and French Bulldog breeds as well as Pugs to improve the quality of life and health of these breeds.

A-Vet uses BOAS grading from the Norwegian Kennel Club's screening programme. The program has been developed by the University of Cambridge, and so far includes the breeds Pug, French bulldog and English bulldog.

What other dog breeds can be affected by BOAS?

There are many breeds that are short-nosed with a broad skull and that can fall under the same category:

  • affenpinscher
  • american bulldog
  • Boston Terrier 
  • Boxer
  • Bwool dog
  • bullmastiff
  • Cane corso
  • Chihuahua (apple-headed)
  • Chow Chow
  • Mastiff of Bordeaux
  • English Mastiff
  • french bulldog
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Japanese Chin
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Lhasa apso
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • pekingese
  • Pug
  • Rottweiler
  • Shih Tzu
  • Valley Bulldog

The special head shape of these breeds makes them more prone to congenital breathing problems. They may have narrow nostrils, a long and thick soft palate (which can also block the larynx), collapse of the larynx or an underdeveloped trachea.

Who can grade?

Only veterinarians who have participated in NKK's course in BOAS grading get access to write official NKK-BOAS certificates and register BOAS degrees in DogWeb. With us, Elisabeth Bjørnestad is an approved BOAS - veterinarian. The dog can be tested from the age of 18 months and the certificate lasts for 2 years.

Symptoms of BOAS

The following are not normal, even in a brachycephalic (short-skulled) dog or cat, and should be recognized as symptoms of BOAS:

  • Respiratory sound
  • Snoring and wheezing sounds when the dog breathes
  • Constricted or narrow nostrils
  • Symptoms from the stomach or intestinal tract
  • Vomiting, regurgitation of food or saliva
  • Sleep problems and breathing problems during sleep.
  • Some dogs choose to sleep with their head high, with a toy in their mouth, or they stop breathing several times during a period of sleep due to obstruction (blockage) in their airways.
  • Heat intolerance: The dog shows signs of overheating in warmer weather. Signs of overheating include excessive panting, increased temperature (if you can measure it), rapid pulse, distant gaze, vomiting/diarrhoea, excessive thirst, dark red tongue, heavy drooling, unsteady gait. Seizures and loss of consciousness may occur. At worst, death.
  • Reduced exercise capacity due to breathing problems
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin or mucous membranes (cyanosis) or loss of consciousness (syncope)

How does the BOAS grading take place?

The grading is based on the dog's breathing sounds, inspiratory effort, and any dyspnoea/cyanosis/syncope is assessed using observation and auscultation both before and immediately after a stress test.

What can the owner do himself?

By keeping your dog slim and in good physical shape, you can prevent some of the BOAS problems. However, avoid exercising the dog in hot weather, and protect it from overheating. Whether the dog is slim or not is assessed based on a so-called body condition score (BCS). Dogs with a BCS equal to or higher than 7 are overweight, and have an increased risk of BOAS.
If your dog or cat has breathing problems already at a young age, it is important to have it examined by a veterinarian.
An operation may be indicated and the earlier it is done the better the prognosis will be.

Illustration of a weight scale for the pug dog breed. BCS

Over 90% of BOAS-affected dogs experience a marked improvement in quality of life and energy level after surgery. Dieting can also be a good solution - ask us for advice. On NKK's websites you can read more about BOAS grading.

Price of BOAS surgery in dogs

Contact us for price for BOAS grading for your dog. Operations are priced according to type, method, scope, medicine consumption etc 

BOAS grading
A-Vet small animal clinic, Larvik. Photo by Hans Jacob Beck