Quantification of Nasopharyngeal Reflux in Dogs Affected by Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome as Compared to Healthy Non-Brachycephalic Controls

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting Brachycephalic dogs for a clinical research trial. 

Enrollment Criteria: Currently Enrolling

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any brachycephalic dogs exhibiting symptoms of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), including difficulty breathing, airway noises, and gastrointestinal signs such as regurgitation and vomiting. Specifically, French bulldogs and pugs will be considered for inclusion due to their predisposition to this condition. Additionally, healthy, non-brachycephalic dogs will be included for comparative analysis. All participants must be suitable candidates for 48-hour at-home pH monitoring to assess the frequency of regurgitation or reflux into the nasopharynx. This research aims to shed light on the prevalence of these symptoms in BOAS-affected dogs and contribute to advancements in their medical and surgical management, ultimately enhancing their overall well-being.
  • Treatment: Your dog will be anesthetized and intubated for placement of the Medtronic Digitrapper™ pH and Impedence catheter. An airway examination will be conducted at the time of intubation to characterize and record abnormalities. The Medtronic Digitrapper™ pH and Impedence catheter-based monitors will be placed trans-nasally. A radiograph incorporating the nasopharynx and thorax will be taken to verify correct placement in each dog. Upon recovery from general anesthesia, dogs will be discharged to their owners for the 48-hour study duration. Dogs will be fed and walked on their regular schedules. Dogs will receive their regular diet at home. Dogs will wear a fitted plastic Elizabethan collar during the time of this study to prevent probe removal or damage. At the conclusion of monitoring, dogs will return to the hospital, and the suture will be cut and the monitoring probe will be removed. After this time, dogs will again be discharged to their owners, and surgery for BOAS will be scheduled for a future date
  • Cost: A $100 incentive will be provided to participating clients to be applied toward future surgical treatment of BOAS. You will not have to pay for any part of the study. Costs associated with trans-nasal catheter placement, radiographs, and anesthesia will be covered by this study.
  • Contact: Please complete the Study Interest Form for more information.
  • PI: Dr. Kathleen Ham
  • Study Coordinator: Dr. Eva Ruzics

Background: Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is a disease that affects brachycephalic, or flat-faced dogs, such as French bulldogs and pugs. This syndrome is caused by changes in the structure of the skull and result in narrowing the passage of air flow from the nostrils to the windpipe (trachea). These anatomic abnormalities cause obstruction of airflow resulting in difficulty breathing, airway noises, and even collapse and death. Many of these dogs also suffer from gastrointestinal signs, such as regurgitation and vomiting, which are thought to be due to the changes in the upper airway. The aim of this study is to investigate the frequency of regurgitation or reflux into the nasopharynx (the top part of the throat and nasal cavity) in dogs affected by BOAS as compared to healthy, non-brachycephalic dogs. This will be accomplished using 48-hour at home pH monitoring. The results of this study will help to guide further research into issues affecting brachycephalic dogs and into medical and surgical treatments to help improve their quality of life.


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