A Comparison of Soft Palate Length and Thickness in English and French bulldogs Following a Staphylectomy or Folded-flap Palatoplasty

The University of Florida Small Animal Hospital is recruiting dogs for a clinical study:
  • Inclusion Criteria: English and French bulldogs with brachycephalic airway syndrome and an elongated soft palate that are candidates for brachycephalic airway surgery.
  • Exclusion Criteria: Dogs will be excluded from the study if they are determined to be a risk for a sedated CT study, if they have a previous history of airway surgery or facial trauma, if their palate is normal in length, or if they have laryngeal paralysis or grade 2 or higher laryngeal collapse.
  • Procedures: Each dog will then undergo CT scan of the head, neck and chest under sedation prior to surgery. The dogs will then have surgery to correct their brachycephalic airway syndrome, including correction of stenotic nares (nostrils),  removal of everted laryngeal saccules if present, and one of two types of surgery to correct soft palate abnormalities (staphylectomy or folded-flap palatoplasty. They will also under a second CT scan under sedation 4 weeks after the surgery.
  • Cost: The study will cover the cost of sedation and the two CT scans. All other costs of the surgery to correct brachycephalic airway syndrome will be the responsibility of the client
  • Study Contact: If you would like to be considered for the study, please call the UF Small Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for evaluation of the upper airway of your English bulldog with the Surgery Service at (352) 392-2235. For other questions regarding the study, please complete the Study Inquiry form.
  • Principal Investigator: Penny J. Regier, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS-SA


Due to altered skull and soft tissue conformation, brachycephalic breeds are prone to developing brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS), which is a disease that affects dogs with short noses. These dogs frequently have a long and thick soft palate at the back of the mouth, which causes them to have difficulty breathing normally and can result in exercise intolerance and, in severe cases, collapse. English and French bulldogs appear to be commonly affected by a thickened soft palate compared with other brachycephalic breeds.

Surgery to shorten the soft palate (a staphylectomy) has been performed for many years, however no thinning is achieved. A new technique (folded flap palatoplasty) has been developed to shorten and thin the soft palate, with the aim of improving airflow. This has been shown to be safe and effective, but the amount of soft palate thinning or shortening has not been measured.

The purpose of this study is to use computed tomography (CT) to assess the degree of palate thinning and shortening in English bulldogs undergoing the folded-flap palatoplasty, and to compare them with English bulldogs undergoing the traditional staphylectomy technique.

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