Elongated Soft Palate

English Bulldogs are Brachycephalic - which means short skulled. This is often associated with some soft tissue features, pinched nostrils, elongated soft palate, and extra folds in the throat. These things combined are called the "Brachycephalic Syndrome" and they tend to obstruct their airway and interfere with his breathing. especially when hot, stressed or exercised. This is also what makes the bulldog snore.

What is an elongated soft palate?
A soft palate is an extension of the hard palate which forms the roof of the mouth. The purpose of the soft palate is to serve as a mobile flap preventing food and water from entering the nasal passages during swallowing. A soft palate that is elongated will either hang in front of the airway or will fall into the throat during inhalation.
How can I tell if my English Bulldog has an Elongated Soft Palate?
English Bulldogs with a elongated soft palate tend to breathe rather noisily when excited. This heavy breathing will become even more pronounced when a bulldog is hot or during periods of exercise, or when the dog is excited or agitated. A bulldog may frequently gag in an attempt to clear their airway and occasionally bring up foam and saliva while eating or drinking. The harder he breathes, the greater the swelling and elongation of the soft palate you will see their tongue turn blue as a result and their breathing may be what you describe as a hassling noise.
When should i be concerned?
If you would describe his breathing as a hassling noise or when excited and panting his tongue turns blue. I would suggest you take him into the vet to diagnosis. A puppy that keeps a upper-respitory infection could have an elongated soft palate,preventing a healthy airflow through his or her trachea.Your English bulldog may be fine the first years of his life, and with age or additional weight may devlope an elongated soft palate, so if you see any changes you may want to take him to the vet to be certain.

The good news is all this can be surgically corrected and will enable your bulldog to live a long happy life.

As with all surgeries performed on a bulldog,it is extremely important that you use a vet that is VERY experienced with the Bulldog breed before allowing them to surgically correct this. As bulldogs do not tolerate anesthesia well. So ask! " How many surgies do you do on a bulldog in a year" , could be the most important question you ever ask.

Elongated Soft palate surgery is normally done via a laser, as it cauterizes the tissue as it is removed. You will want to keep your bulldog calm, possibly crated, as panting will only irritate his already sore throat for a few days, or as you see needed.
Soft food is normally recommended for a couple of weeks, as a hard kibble will be very painful to swallow and irritate his throat. Think of this like having your tonsils removed, only soft food......

Overheating risk with a soft palate
It does not matter if your dog runs and pants with no noise. They will die in extreme temps. So if you are not prepared for your bully to live indoors with you. Don't get a bulldog. Over the years I have gotten many phone calls from people. They purchased their bulldog the year before and now it is dead. The breeder they purchased from did not tell them a bulldog cannot take the heat. I am often ask why did the puppy make it through the first summer? I don't really know the correct answer but puppies are not full grown and tend to be more heat tolerate. But if you live in a hot climate your bulldog will not live through the second summer. Here in the south May - Sept, we can be as hot as 90-100+. Think of it this way if it is 100 degrees outside a bulldog does not have a snout to help cool the air down before going into his lungs. Dogs do not sweat, so when he is breathing in this hot air he is getting hot all over and will over heat quickly.

Note: Trimbull Bulldogs has produced this document for education purposes only. Our definitions of the common problems in English bulldogs are our opinions only.These opinions have been formed by years experience in the bulldog breed having read numerous articles over the years. ALWAYS consult your veterinarian with any problem that may occur.