What is Nasal Fold Resection?

Some dogs, especially certain dog breeds, are prone to obstructed breathing because of the natural shape of their face, nose, and muzzle. The brachycephalic breeds are the breeds with short heads. Commonly, these breeds include bulldogs, both French and English, Pekingese, Boston terriers, and pugs. The breeding of these dogs has caused them to have relatively short, wrinkled noses and short muzzles. These short passages often make normal breathing difficult for these breeds. Dogs with short, wrinkled noses or nasal passages which are forced inward by the shape of their muzzle and nose may require a nasal fold resection to clear their airway for easier and manageable breathing. Another problem with these nasal folds is bacteria, skin conditions, or eye irritations or infections from the skin folds pushing fur or eyelashes into your dog’s eyes. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend a surgeon to perform nasal fold resection if your primary care office is not equipped to do so.

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Nasal Fold Resection Procedure in Dogs

Nasal fold resection is an invasive surgery and may require a specialized surgeon. Your dog will be placed under general anesthesia. If your veterinarian is recommending this resection for breathing issues, a chest X-ray may be necessary for the doctor to view breathing passages. If this facial surgery is to decrease the number of skin folds to treat skin infection or eye infection purposes, an X-ray will not be necessary.

The veterinary surgeon will cut the folds, decreasing the thickness of the layers but cutting some of the fold off, and reattach the skin. This reconstruction of the muzzle and nasal skin folds will reduce the amount of bacteria growing between the folds causing skin infections.

Efficacy of Nasal Fold Resection in Dogs

Nasal fold resections in dogs are highly effective in most cases. If your dog is having nasal passage breathing problems, or if their nostril folds are too close, causing nasal breathing troubles, opening these folds can help to clear the breathing passages. However, some of these breeds also have soft palate issues while breathing because their soft palates may be elongated. Your primary veterinarian would be checking for this during the initial exam.

Nasal fold resection for the purpose of decreasing the wrinkles of the nose and muzzle to treat ongoing skin or eye infections and dermatitis is highly effective. Some folds may remain after surgery, but the folds left in place will be minimal and easy to clean. Removing excess nasal folds is often curative for conditions such as dermatitis.

As an alternative to nasal fold resection for dermatitis, your veterinarian can prescribe prescription cleaning wipes or recommend skin safe anti-bacterial wipes to keep the surfaces between the folds clean and free of bacteria.

Nasal Fold Resection Recovery in Dogs

Nasal folds are in a sensitive area, so your dog will be sore and possibly lethargic after the resection. Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions for aftercare. These instructions may include dressing changes and applying antibiotic creams or medications. Keep the area clean and keep your dog from pawing at the nose and face. Your veterinarian may recommend a cone to keep the dog from irritating their face. The resection should heal within two weeks. Once healed, keep a close watch on the area and keep the dog's face and muzzle clean. For dermatitis care, once these nasal folds are resected, the skin conditions should cease.

Cost of Nasal Fold Resection in Dogs

A nasal fold resection will typically cost between $500 and $1,000. Many primary veterinarians are trained in the skin fold removal unless the resection is required for eye infections or nasal passage breathing. In many of these cases, a veterinary surgeon will be required to perform the procedure. The cost of a chest X-ray for breathing issues should be between $50 and $100.

If you are able to use skin wipes or a cleanser in lieu of the nasal fold resection or for aftercare, these cleansers cost about $20 for approximately a month’s supply. This may be an option if the dermatitis is caught early, and you are able to keep the area clean and free of debris and bacteria each day. Once the area has proven to be a trouble spot, though, the resection may be required for the overall health of the dog.  

Dog Nasal Fold Resection Considerations

Nasal fold resection is an invasive surgery, but recovery is easy and relatively quick. Some breeds are susceptible to the issues these extra skin folds present. The benefits of this procedure are the overall good health of your pet. With nasal folds potentially blocking the airway, your dog may struggle to breathe without pain or discomfort. Additionally, these excess nasal skin folds can create painful spots where debris and bacteria can build up. Once these folds are gone leaving the skin smoother, your dog will be more comfortable overall. Resection is curative when used to treat nasal dermatitis that results from skin folds.

Nasal Fold Resection Prevention in Dogs

For nasal skin folds creating dermatitis issues, the best prevention is keeping the entire face and muzzle clean each day. The areas of skin between these folds are usually warm and moist, providing a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast growth. Using veterinarian-recommending cleansing wipes, you can keep the skin between these folds clean and dry. Ensure you are drying the area to keep moisture out as well. Your veterinarian can recommend a specialized diet for skin conditions. Supplements with omega 3 fatty acids may also be recommended. Always talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog supplements or changing their diet. Keeping your dog indoors during allergy seasons in your area may help with bacterial growth within these nasal folds. This could also help dogs who are having trouble breathing as a result of nasal folds. Unfortunately, for some breeds, a nasal resection for improved breathing may be necessary. However, you can help your dog by keeping their weight down, so regular activity is not markedly painful or difficult for the dog. Proper hygiene and care for your dogs are important. Before owning a dog, research the specific breed so you know it well and have the confidence to care for the dog.