Enlarging Nasal Openings in Cats

Enlarging Nasal Openings in Cats - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention
Enlarging Nasal Openings in Cats - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

What are Enlarging Nasal Openings?

Surgery to enlarge the nasal openings in cats is performed when stenotic snares are present. Stenotic snares are pinched or narrow nostrils that occur in certain breeds of cats, referred to as brachycephalic breeds. Brachycephalic breeds include Persians, Burmese, Himalayan and some exotic shorthair cats. These breeds are characterized by flat faces with short noses and are susceptible to brachycephalic airway syndrome, which can be characterized by several abnormalities in the upper respiratory tract including stenotic snares, which limit the passage of air into the respiratory system through the nostrils.

If your cat has nostrils that are limiting air passage, resulting in mouth breathing, snoring, or other respiratory difficulties, the nasal openings can be surgically enlarged by removing a wedge of tissue from your cat's nostrils to increase the amount of airflow through the nostrils and improve your cat's breathing. This surgery can be performed using traditional or laser surgery. Both surgeries require a certified, experienced veterinary surgeon. Laser surgery especially requires a veterinary surgeon with experience in this procedure as laser surgery performed incorrectly in this area can worsen the situation. 

Enlarging Nasal Openings Procedure in Cats

This surgical procedure requires that your cat be put under general anaesthetic. Prior to general anesthesia you will be required to fast your cat from food and a physical examination will be performed to ensure their overall health prior to administration of anesthesia. Your cat will be sedated, administered intravenous anesthesia, and then intubated with a esophageal tube to maintain anesthesia through anesthetic gasses. 

Your cat's fur around the nose will be shaved off, the area cleaned antiseptically and surgical drapes used to maintain a sterile surgical area. 

The veterinary surgeon will make two incisions on each side of your cat’s nose and remove a crescent shaped wedge of skin at the opening of the nostril to allow passage of adequate air. If required, tissue extending down into the nasal passage may also be removed. Dissolving sutures will then be used along the incision, which will close off the incision and will pull nostrils up and out, also widening nostrils to open the airway. 

Laser surgery can also be used to perform this surgery and does not require sutures, but does require specialized equipment and expertise by your veterinarian to ensure success.

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Efficacy of Enlarging Nasal Openings in Cats

Enlarging of the nasal openings is achieved immediately after surgery. Your cat's nostrils will be larger and the nasal passage will allow for better airflow. Your cat will immediately experience improved breathing and quality of life. 

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Enlarging Nasal Openings Recovery in Cats

Recovery is usually quite straightforward and your cat will be able to breath better. If traditional surgical techniques and sutures were required, your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent them from interfering with the surgical incision and stitches. If laser surgery was performed, no sutures are required and this is less of a concern. If swelling occurs at the surgical site, a nasotracheal catheter may need to be inserted and oxygen therapy provided immediately post-surgery to aid your cat with oxygen intake. Cage rest for a few days post surgery is recommended, otherwise, recovery should be relatively quick. Your veterinarian may recommend follow-up to ensure healing is progressing.

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Cost of Enlarging Nasal Openings in Cats

Depending on the cost of living at your location, surgery to enlarge your cat's nasal openings can range from $200 to $1,000. The surgery will provide immediate relief for your cat's breathing problems and make him or her a much healthier cat long-term. 

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Cat Enlarging Nasal Openings Considerations

If laser surgery complications occur it can result in further narrowing or your cat's nasal structures, resulting in severe breathing difficulties. An experienced laser surgeon will be able to mitigate this risk. Traditional surgery techniques are not associated with this risk, however, require you ensure your cat does not interfere with stitches. As with any surgery, anesthesia presents a certain risk which can be mitigated by ensuring your cat is healthy and fasts prior to administration of anesthetic.

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Enlarging Nasal Openings Prevention in Cats

Obesity worsens breathing concerns in brachycephalic cat breeds. Ensuring your cat has a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise to control their weight will improve their breathing, and decrease the likelihood of requiring surgical intervention.

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Enlarging Nasal Openings Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Dobby

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Sphynx

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2 Years

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Hard Time Breathing
Snoring
Weezing
Breathing Difficulty

SO I have a sphynx and he has had multiple respiratory infections that have been pretty scary bringing his temperature to extremes, him needing multiple medications and IV's and antibiotics given to him thru the IV. It has now been a year since he was last sick but he continues to sneeze a lot and will have a hard time breathing at times. When he sleeps I sometimes feel like I am sleeping with a person because his snoring gets so loud! But its a snore as if there is something stuck in his nasal passage? I am just very worried about my "child", and want him to live as comfortably as possible. Especially since he loves walking outside on a leash and going on trips in the car but have noticed that sometimes he ends up snoring worse after spending time outside. Also noticed sometimes when hes having a hard time breathing he starts wheezing as if he has a hair ball (which of course isn't normal since he is a hairless cat). Does enlarging nasal openings in sphynxs work? I am asking because they have such small little noses. Also curious do they suffer any pain?

Sept. 7, 2018

Dobby's Owner

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Bonnie

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Persian mix

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4 Years

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Sneeze Wheeze Cough Runny Eyes Nose

I had sent my Bonnie to be fixed and while away a small group of barn kittens with an illness were let in and Bonnie caught it. I almost lost her. Had to keep her in the bathroom with steam, feed around the clock and water by hand, and multiple trips to vet with several shots and oral meds. Ever since then (since she got better) she has had wheezing, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, watery eyes that are often of a brown color, as well as the stuff that comes out, and runny nose. She has cleared a vet exam several times (been almost 3 years) and the vet says it's due to her having a flat and short nose. Is any of these surgeries listed a way I can help her? Thank you.

Jan. 30, 2018

Bonnie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Without examining Bonnie, I'm not sure that I can comment on her anatomy, but some brachycephalic cats will benefit from having the openings to their nasal passages surgically widened. It would be best to follow up with your veterinarian to see if she would benefit from that surgery, as they can examine her and assess what her nose looks like. I hope that she does well.

Jan. 30, 2018

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