Clinical Trial for Brachycephalic Cats

Jul 11, 2019 / Practitioner Updates

persian cat

Surgical Procedure May Aid Breathing

Serious heart and lung disorders in brachycephalic dogs contribute to life-threatening disease. Despite suffering similar conformational deformities, brachycephalic cats such as Persian, Himalayan, and Exotic Shorthair cats remain largely unstudied as a population at significant risk for systemic and quality of life issues. Mounting evidence suggests brachycephalic cats also develop health problems related to conformation. It is critically important that the potential for such disorders in brachycephalic cats be thoroughly investigated.

The University of Illinois Small Animal Surgery Service, led by soft tissue surgeon Dr. Heidi Phillips and senior surgery resident Dr. Hadley Gleason, invites inquiries and candidates for an open clinical trial with the objectives to evaluate the respiratory tract by head, neck, and chest computed tomography (CT) data and by both visual and scoping examinations; heart and lung status by blood oxygen levels, heart enzymes, and heart ultrasound; and the benefits of surgery to open the nostrils by comparison of these diagnostics pre- and postoperative.

The doctors speculate that brachycephalic cats suffer from airway, heart, and lung afflictions proportional to the severity of their facial deformity. It is hoped surgical treatment will result in reduction in clinical signs and improvement in nasal airflow and measured heart and lung parameters.

The diagnostic studies performed will provide data concerning airway, heart, and lung pathology and identify cats in need of airway surgery. It is hoped surgical treatment will result in immediate and long-term clinical improvement in symptoms and measured values.

The goal of this study is to define the feline brachycephalic syndrome concerning airway, heart, and lung problems. Defining methods for diagnosis and options for treatment will provide invaluable insight for owners and veterinarians and will be a critical step in improving the quality of life of brachycephalic cats.