French Bulldog Nostrils (Nares)
Although not conclusive, stenotic nares are considered to be a risk factor for BOAS – French Bulldogs are particularly prone to this. The photos above show the varying degrees of stenosis and corrective surgery is usually advised for any dog with moderate/severe stenosis.
Stenosis does not only affect the exterior nostrils, which can be seen easily, but also the alar folds, which is the inner part of the nasal wing, the inside. If a French Bulldog struggles with breathing, i.e demonstrates open-mouth breathing similar to a small gasp, maybe wakes frequently while sleeping, or likes to sleep with the head elevated or neck stretched, it is likely that the nares need to be addressed. This can often be enough to negate the need for major, intrusive, and expensive, palate surgery.
Grading the Nares:
Open nostrils have wide opening nostrils – a French Bulldog will never have nares like a Labrador but the opening is clear
Mild stenosis is where slight narrowing is present and the nostril wings move to assist breathing when the dog exercises, trying to open further
Moderate stenosis is characterised by the nostril wings touching the septum (middle) of the nose, curving inwards. On exercise the dog won’t be able to move the nasal wings but may try to flare the nostrils to take in more air
Severe stenosis is very simple – the nostrils are virtually closed and a dog affected in this way will open their mouth to breathe orally, even with the mildest of exercise or none at all