Cats with flattened snouts: the problems of brachycephalics

Cats with flat snouts or brachycephalics are predisposed to some problems that are important to know in order to be prepared to care for them.

The flattened snout is a characteristic of brachycephalic cats: this anatomical anomaly provides a particular conformation of the head and skull which gives some feline breeds the particular appearance with the flattened face.

Brachycephalic syndrome does not only have implications from the point of view of the external appearance of the cat: cats with flat faces also have a predisposition to some health problems, considering that the shape of their skull causes an abnormal conformation of the upper airways and of the tear ducts.

After having explored the topic of brachycephalic cat breeds, let’s see today what are the problems that these flat-nosed felines face most often.

Cats with flattened snouts: anatomy and problems

Among the most famous cats with a flattened muzzle there is the Persian, the Exotic Shorthair and the Himalayan Cat: all share some unmistakable physical characteristics, among which the large protruding eyes and the flat face stand out.

Cats with flattened snouts are becoming more and more famous thanks above all to the Internet, but the continuous crossbreeding to maintain breed standards has caused a certain predisposition to health problems of various kinds: if you have chosen to adopt a brachycephalic cat, it is important to know them in advance in order to be able to deal with them in a timely and effective manner.

Anatomy of the brachycephalic cat

Although brachycephalic syndrome affects both dogs and cats, the problems of a squashed dog are different from those that can be found in a cat with the same facial anatomy. In particular, a brachycephalic dog like the Pug usually suffers from respiratory problems, which is not always the case for cats.

Being brachycephalic means that the cat’s skull takes on the characteristic short and round shape, which brings with it an incorrect development of the nasal cavities and tear ducts. But what do these particular physical characteristics entail in a cat?

Problems of the cat with a squashed muzzle

Most of the problems of a cat with a flattened head concern the eyes: we know that sight is a fundamental sense for cats, so it is easy to understand how annoying an eye problem can be in a cat’s life.

Usually, the brachycephalic cat has large, protruding eyes that often do not close completely: in this way, the cornea is practically always exposed and creates a breeding ground for infections such as keratitis. In addition, Persian cats in particular are subject to corneal sequestration : in this case a black pigment is formed on the cornea that can only be resolved with surgery.

Improper conformation of the tear ducts causes persistent eye discharge problems in these cat breeds because tears cannot be conducted, as they normally do, from the eyes to the nasal cavity. That’s why flat-faced cats often have watery eyes and are prone to eye infections.

However, there are also respiratory problems: flat-nosed cats are particularly predisposed to the so-called brachycephalic syndrome or upper airway obstructive syndrome (BAOS).

This syndrome can assume 4 different levels of severity, depending on how much the anatomical anomaly of the skull is accentuated. The more severe the syndrome, the more the cat is prone to show specific symptoms:

– noisy and difficult breathing,
– difficulty moving,
– recurrent eye inflammation,
– frequent dermatitis in cats.

Furthermore, precisely because of their limited ability to carry out physical activity, brachycephalic cats are more likely than others to put on weight and therefore find themselves having to deal with the problems associated with feline obesity.

How is brachycephalic syndrome treated in cats?

Since this is a problem that derives from the congenital anatomical conformation of the cat, it is not possible to cure BAOS even if it is possible to help the cat to better live with the difficulties deriving from its flattened snout.
There are some tricks not to forget, and specifically:

– pay attention to the environment in which the cat lives: it must be cool and ventilated to prevent respiratory complications;
– make sure that the brachycephalic cat follows a healthy, correct and balanced diet to limit problems in terms of overweight;
– clean your cat’s eyes regularly to prevent eye inflammation.

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