Influence of feline brachycephaly on respiratory, gastrointestinal, sleep, and activity abnormalities

Hadley E. Gleason, Heidi Phillips, Annette M. McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the influence of brachycephaly on respiratory, gastrointestinal, sleep, and activity-related parameters in cats. Study design: Prospective questionnaire-based study. Animals: A total of 194 BC and 1003 non-BC cats. Methods: Owners completed an online questionnaire regarding respiratory, gastrointestinal, sleep, and activity-related parameters. Response options were scored, and individual scores summed to give a total clinical severity score for each cat. Results: Brachycephalic cats had more frequent snoring (odds ratio [OR] 6.89; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.06–9.41), sneezing (OR 6.52; CI: 4.75–8.98), nasal discharge (OR 8.26; 95% CI 5.77–11.85), coughing (OR 1.75; CI: 1.17–2.59), and dyspnea (OR 5.32; CI: 3.42–8.28); shorter activity before becoming dyspneic (OR 2.71; CI: 1.93–3.79), slower recovery from activity (OR 3.17; CI: 2.19–4.57), lower activity levels (OR 2.16; CI: 1.59–2.95), and increased respiratory noise (OR 6.68; CI: 4.71–9.52); and more hypersalivation (OR 2.50; CI: 1.47–4.16), halitosis (OR 1.40; CI: 1.00–1.95), and difficulty chewing (OR 5.19; CI: 3.65–7.38). Median clinical severity scores were higher for BC cats than non-BC cats (p <.0001). Conclusions: Brachycephalic cats (BC) were at risk for respiratory, gastrointestinal, and activity-related symptoms compared to non-BC cats. Clinical relevance: Some BC cats exhibit clinically relevant symptoms and behaviors as reported by owners. Medical or surgical interventions may improve these symptoms and warrant investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-445
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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