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How Much Does Stenotic Nares Surgery Cost? 2024 Price Update

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

Shar Pei with stenotic nares and ectropion

How Much Does Stenotic Nares Surgery Cost? 2024 Price Update

Brachycephalic dogs have shortened heads which will lead to respiratory problems. Although the extent of the respiratory problems varies from breed to breed and dog to dog, it can especially lead to the nostrils, or nares, of the dog collapsing and closing. This makes breathing through the nose difficult, or even impossible, causing snorting and heavy breathing or forcing your dog to breathe through their mouth.

Stenotic nares surgery removes part of the outer fold of the nares, widening the nostrils and making it easier to breathe. The cost of surgery depends on your location, as well as the severity of the problem and the type of surgery used by the vet, but you can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for this procedure.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TESTWhat Is Brachycephaly?

Brachycephaly translates from Greek as “short head” and refers to the shortened skull structure found especially in certain breeds of dogs, like Pugs, Boston Terriers, and various Bulldog breeds, with seemingly flattened facial features. Brachycephaly can lead to problems including eye and sight defects, skin infections, dental problems, and especially breathing difficulties.

If you have one of these breeds, you may notice heavy breathing and snoring. Your dog may struggle to breathe in general, especially after long walks or periods of especially intense exercise.

Close up of brachycephalic dog nose with nostrils of a French Bulldog
Image by: Firn, Shutterstock

The Importance of Stenotic Nares Surgery

If you do notice any of these signs, you should speak to your vet and they will be able to advise whether your dog would benefit from stenotic nares surgery or some other surgical or non-surgical alternatives.

Stenotic nares surgery removes a small section of the dog’s nostril. This increases the size of the nostril and makes it easier for the dog to breathe through their nose. It can help reduce snoring and heavy breathing while reducing breathing difficulties.

If left untreated, pinched stenotic nares can put increased pressure on the windpipe and may cause it to collapse. In extreme cases, this can be fatal. The surgery not only provides general health and lifestyle improvements, but it can also be lifesaving.

How Much Does Stenotic Nares Surgery Cost?

The cost of stenotic nares surgery depends on several factors, including your location as well as the severity of the problem and the type of surgery the vet will perform. While some vets use a scalpel and cut the nare flap away, others use lasers for greater precision. Taking all of these factors into account, the cost of this surgery ranges from $500 to $2,000.

  • Severity – The more severe the pinching of the nostril, the more sutures or cuts that will need to be made. The procedure will take longer, and the cost tends to be higher in these cases. Less severe cases may be less expensive, although the procedure generally requires that the surgery be performed on both nostrils.
  • Surgery Type – Some vets prefer to use a scalpel while others prefer to use a laser. The use of a laser means that there is less bleeding because the laser itself essentially cauterizes the wound. This makes it easier for the vet to see so the procedure is quicker and the work is more accurate. It also means that there is less chance of stitches being required, so the recovery time is quicker and there is less chance of permanent scarring following the procedure.

However, the machine required to perform the laser surgery is expensive, and some of this cost is passed on, so laser surgery tends to cost a little more than scalpel surgery. It is also less common. Generally, it is better to opt for the technique that the vet is most comfortable performing and has the most experience in.

It may be possible to combine stenotic nares surgery with another procedure, like neutering. Because the dog will be receiving anesthesia for both procedures, it could save some money on both operations. Speak to your vet to see if this is an option to help with the overall cost.

Will My Dog Need Any Other Treatment?

Stenotic nares surgery should improve your dog’s breathing and the effects should last their whole life, although your dog may never have the same open breathing as a non-brachycephalic dog regardless of how successful the treatment is. Following treatment, your dog will usually be released on the same day of the operation, and some general care is required.

If your dog had stitches following scalpel surgery, you will need to ensure that they do not lick or pull the stitches out, or this could require additional treatment.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Stenotic Nares Surgery?

Generally speaking, pet insurance does not cover hereditary conditions like brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), and if your dog needs to have the surgery, you will have to pay for the procedure yourself in these cases. Some policies specifically mention BOAS as an exclusion. If your dog is a brachycephalic breed, you will need to specifically look for those policies which will cover these costs.

Look for policies dedicated to the specific breed of dog you own, check the terms and conditions paying attention to any exclusions and, if you are in any doubt, speak to the insurers and ask whether BOAS is covered.

woman filling up the digital pet insurance form
Image by: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

Are There Any Alternatives to Stenotic Nares Surgery?

There are different treatment options available for dogs with BOAS, but which option is preferred will depend primarily on the signs and problems your dog is suffering. The soft palate can be shortened in dogs with long palates or tissue can be removed from around the larynx if your dog is susceptible to laryngeal collapse.

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Conclusion

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, or BOAS, is a condition that affects brachycephalic dogs. It is especially common in popular breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs. The squashed face of the breeds may make them popular with potential owners, but they can also lead to breathing and eyesight problems. Stenotic nares surgery involves the removal of nostril flaps, effectively enlarging the size of the nostril opening and therefore allowing more air to pass in and out of the nostril and making it easier for your dog to breathe.

The procedure is common, but it does require making several cuts with a scalpel or using a laser procedure, and costs vary according to the type of surgery and the severity of the condition. Expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for this surgery.


Featured Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

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