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Unfortunately, my Pug, Trevor, has some of the typical problems seen in his breed. He is almost four years old and has had surgery on his soft palate to stop it obstructing his airway and improve his breathing. The obstruction caused him to faint from time to time. He has largely been OK until recently, but now some of the problems are returning.

Although he has not fainted, I can hear a lot of mucus rattling around and can see it coming out of his nose. He snorts a lot and sometimes struggles to get enough air in because of the mucus. I am not keen on surgery and feel that if I can reduce or loosen the mucus his condition would improve.

What do you suggest? I am not keen on drugs as a long-term solution.

Tim Couzens advises…

The problems that you describe are common within the breed and surgery is often carried out to correct the anatomical issues that lead to the difficulties, such as airway obstruction. I can sympathise with wishing to avoid further surgery, and so reducing or loosening the mucus sounds like a good idea.

There are a few things that you can do, the easiest of which is to feed him some fresh pineapple. This sounds a little odd, but pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down mucus. I have known this to help on a number of occasions, so adding a couple of chunks to Trevor’s food is a good idea.

Herbs can also help. Adding remedies such as elderberry, golden seal, mullein, peppermint, Iceland moss and coltsfoot will reduce the amount of mucus and make what is present more watery so that it does not stick in the airways so easily. It’s best to seek help from a veterinary herbalist, as they will be able to make up a specific prescription for Trevor and advise you on the correct dosage.

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