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What is Chest Bone Deformity?

This deformity almost always shows up in puppies when they are born, and it may get worse or it could fix itself during growth. Your puppy’s chest should form an outward curve, rather than a flat or sunken chest. Chest bone deformity is a deformation of the chest and ribs, which can cause a smaller space for the heart and lungs. This will lead to serious breathing and heart abnormalities, so the deformity should be treated as soon as possible. It the deformation is mild, there is usually no need for treatment of any kind, but you should set an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect your puppy may be suffering from pectus excavatum or pectus carinatum.

A chest bone deformity is a genetic malformation in the chest. There are two types of chest bone deformities: pectus excavatum (funnel chest) is a separation of the sternum and cartilage, thorax narrowing, and unusually shaped ribs causing a flat or sunken chest. Pectus carinatum (pigeon breast) is a chest bone and rib disfigurement causing the chest to bow outwards into a point instead of a curve. Both of these disfigurements can cause serious compression of the lungs and heart.

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Chest Bone Deformity Average Cost

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$2,500

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Symptoms of Chest Bone Deformity in Dogs

Symptoms of chest bone deformity depend on whether your puppy has pectus excavatum or pectus carinatum.

Pectus excavatum

  • Narrowing of the chest on one or both sides
  • Flat or sunken chest
  • Panting or heavy breathing due to compressed lungs
  • Coughing
  • Heart murmur
  • Erratic heart rate from compressed heart
  • Blue tint to skin and mucus membrane (cyanosis)
  • Curving of the spine (scoliosis)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Throwing up food and water
  • Losing weight
  • Exhaustion
  • Unable to walk

Pectus carinatum

  • Bump or point on chest
  • Chest that bows outwards
  • Difficulty walking
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Disfigured limbs
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Dental problems
  • Appetite loss
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Inability to exercise
  • Digestion problems
  • Blue tint to skin and mucous membranes (cyanosis)
  • Depression

 Types

Pectus excavatum is a genetic deformity of the chest bone, which causes the narrowing of the ribs and indented or flattened chest. Pectus carinatum describes the congenital deformity of the chest bone causing the breast to bow outwards.

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Causes of Chest Bone Deformity in Dogs

Chest bone deformity is almost always a hereditary disorder, which shows up more often in males rather than females. Both pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum are already present at birth, but may not be visible until your puppy shows symptoms of breathing difficulty and failure to thrive. Pectus excavatum is much more common than pectus carinatum, which is quite rare in puppies. Those that are most affected by these disorders are:

  • Boston Terrier
  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pekingese
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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Diagnosis of Chest Bone Deformity in Dogs

If available, it is helpful to give your veterinary caregiver a complete medical background and history of illnesses of the mother and father of the puppy. The veterinarian will do a complete and comprehensive physical examination on your puppy to determine the extent of the deformity and whether it is causing the symptoms you have described to him. Although your veterinarian can usually tell just by looking at your puppy, he will need to get some tests done for a concrete diagnosis. These tests are:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Packed cell volume
  • Blood gas and chemical panel
  • Glucose analysis
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine specific gravity
  • Digital radiography (x-rays) of the chest and abdomen
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Echocardiogram (EKG)

Some other tests that may be done are an ultrasound to check for heart disorders, a CT scan and MRI to further investigate the chest deformity.

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Treatment of Chest Bone Deformity in Dogs

The treatment that your veterinarian chooses for your puppy depends on which type of chest bone deformity he has and how severe it is. If the deformity is mild and is not compressing any major organs such as the lungs and heart, there is no need for treatment. The veterinarian will just want to monitor your puppy to make sure the lungs and heart do not become compressed as your puppy grows.

Corrective splints can be used if the deformity is not severe enough for surgery. Surgical procedure to remove the deformed part of the chest bone and replacement with a cast made of fiberglass. The cast will be made by fitting it to your puppy’s chest and then attaching it to your puppy’s sternum with sutures. This surgery is relatively new and is usually only done on puppies if they are over three months old and the deformity is severe. 

Physical therapy is usually necessary whether your puppy has surgery or not. This kind of deformity can correct itself as the puppy grows so the veterinarian may suggest you wait and try physical therapy for a few months before getting splints or surgery. Antibiotics and pain medication are usually prescribed if the veterinarian suspects any kind of infection.

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Recovery of Chest Bone Deformity in Dogs

An important part of any treatment is to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and to bring your puppy back for check-ups. If surgery has been done on your pet, providing a quiet place to rest will be an important part of his recovery. As with any medical condition, be sure to contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns or feel that your dog is not well.

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Chest Bone Deformity Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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Chest Bone Deformity Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pomchi

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3 days

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Concave Chest

Hello I have a puppy who is 2 days old his mother tried to cannibalize him. He seems to have characteristics of a swimmer pup, but he also has a very weird chest his ribs come out further than the other puppies and sinks in in the middle his chest feels more like a box than rounded. he has been separated from mom is being warned with heating pads and he is eating puppy formula from a bottle every 2 hours he was 2.7oz at birth the other puppies were 4.5 and up. The chest shape is very hard to see in pictures

Oct. 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your description, I'm not sure the puppy will Survive. It would be best to have the puppy seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine the puppy and see if there's anything that can be done. Until then, keeping the puppy separated from the mother is a good idea, bottle feeding and keeping it warm.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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9 weeks

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

My staffy’s chest sticks out and she has a very bad appetite so it’s making me worry as I’m unsure if it’s an abnormality in her chest or severe weight loss that is making it appear that way, it isn’t as noticeable in that picture as it in when she’s walking

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Parasites are a very common problem in puppies that can cause the signs that you are describing. It would be best to have your pup seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at a fecal sample under a microscope and see if parasite eggs are there, and they can examine her to see what might be going on. I hope that all goes well for her!

Oct. 5, 2020

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Chihuahua

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around 8

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Popping Middle Rib

he is having breathing problems every night

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I am not able to diagnose any problem breathing over an email, as I cannot listen to his heart of lungs, or examine him. It would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at him, assess his health, and see if his heart and lungs are okay, or what the reason might be for his ribs to be having that problem. I hope that all goes well for him!

Oct. 7, 2020

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French Bulldog

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Heart Murmur And Wonky Rib

Hi my puppies has a heart murmur and a wonky rib is it life threatening for him thnks g

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . Without knowing more about the heart murmur, it isn't possible for me to say if it is a problem. Some murmurs puppies grow out of, and some are quite serious. If you are concerned, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any treatment that they might need.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Pug

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty

Hello, my dog has pigeon chest and I would like to know what I should do. The vet I took him to said he didn't know if any surgery and that's splints weren't recommended.

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello Pigeon chest is a congenital abnormality. It usually does not cause any issues until later in life, but if it does, it is recommended to consult with a surgeon. Splints will likely not help. Good luck.

July 13, 2020

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Frenchie puppies

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French Bulldog

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4 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Inverted Chest

I am a breeder of french bulldogs and we recently had a litter where 2 of our male pups have inverted chest. One is more severe than the other with one being slightly indented and the other feeling more like there is a deeper hole in the center of the ribs. The pups are 3 weeks old, almost 4. We suspect that it is the breeder male that has the deformity somewhere in his genetics. The male himself has a completely normal chest as do the mothers. This is the second litter weve had where one or more pups have had this problem. We dont want to continue a genetic line that is very prone to this deformity. Should we consider getting another male? Or would you believe that it would more than likely be the mothers carrying this gene?

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Lady Bella Rose

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Basset Hound

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8 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Fast Breathing

I recently rescued a Basset Hound and I've noticed her ribs narrow on the sides then come to like a point. Is this normal in this breed? I notice that she breaths fast when shes asleep. I've never had a hound dog before and I'm trying to learn as much as I can about her breed.

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cilla

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French Bulldog

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10 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Unusual Breathing
Pointed Breast Narrow Ribs
Sneezing And Panting
Pigeon Chest

i have a 10 week frenchy and noticed that her chest bones sticks out very badly almost to a pointy shape and her ribs are very narrow. she pants quite alot especially when playing and when shes warm from snuggling in. shes start sneezing when shes napping and spraying very small amounts of fluid when doing so. ive noticed when breathing she inhales a very small breath but seems to have a bigger exhale if that makes any sense. when she is warm sleeping she tilts her head right back and pants quite alot which made me think she felt like she was smuthered which got me a little worried.. she is the smallest of the litter and is skinny and boney but not under weight. overall she eats well, drinks well even plays well and naps alot after her play time which describes a normal playful puppy to me but her chest and rib cage looks very dramatic how it sticks out.. when visiting vets they had never seen this before in dogs only in cats but not as dramatic as cillas. vet explained that cilla seems to be breathing from bottom half of abdomen rather than the top and explained that her deformity may have affected her diapgram or even a part of her spine but as i stated before she seems to be a normal puppy putting aside how her chest/breathing is and she walks and runs normal. i am very worried about cilla with vet not seeing this condition before and with her telling me what else her condition could have affected. vet explained when i return next week she will have a plan of action after she does her research on what she found after examning cilla.. hope i can find out a bit more information here to what i received from my vets to put my mind at ease as im automatically thinking the worst. thanks

Chest Bone Deformity Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

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