OBJECTIVE To determine from MRI measurements whether soft palate length (SPL) and thickness are correlated in dogs, evaluate the association between the olfactory bulb angle (OBA) and degree of brachycephalia, and determine the correlation between soft palate–epiglottis overlap and OBA in dogs.
ANIMALS 50 brachycephalic and 50 nonbrachycephalic client-owned dogs without abnormalities of the head.
PROCEDURES Medical records and archived midsagittal T2-weighted MRI images of brachycephalic and nonbrachycephalic dogs' heads were reviewed. Group assignment was based on breed. Data collected included weight, SPL and thickness, OBA, and the distance between the caudal extremity of the soft palate and the basihyoid. Soft palate length and thickness were adjusted on the basis of body weight.
RESULTS Brachycephalic dogs had significantly thicker soft palates and lower OBAs, compared with findings for nonbrachycephalic dogs. There was a significant negative correlation (r2 = 0.45) between OBA and soft palate thickness. The correlation between SPL and OBA was less profound (r2 = 0.09). The distance between the caudal extremity of the soft palate and the basihyoid was shorter in brachycephalic dogs than in nonbrachycephalic dogs. The percentage of epiglottis–soft palate overlap significantly decreased with increasing OBA (r2 = 0.31).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that MRI images can be consistently used to assess anatomic landmarks for measurement of SPL and thickness, OBA, and soft palate-to-epiglottis distance in brachycephalic and nonbrachycephalic dogs. The percentage of epiglottis–soft palate overlap was significantly greater in brachycephalic dogs and was correlated to the degree of brachycephalia.