BOAS grading

Shenick Vets is delighted to announce that our vet Ian Finney has become an approved regional assessor for The Kennel Club (UK) and University of Cambridge Respiratory Function Grading Scheme, Ian is the the only approved vet in southern Ireland.

The Respiratory Function Grading Scheme asseses Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs for a breating problem known as BOAS (Bracycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome) The same principle can be applied accross other brachycephalic breeds as well. The scheme advises owners if their dog is affected by BOAS and gives guidance to breeders on how to lower the risk of producing affected puppies

What is BOAS?

Dogs with a flat, wide shaped head are said to be brachycephalic (‘brachy’ meaning short, and ‘cephalic’, meaning head). The soft tissue in the nose and throat of some brachycephalic dogs may be excessive for the airways, partially obstructing the airway and making it difficult for them to breathe normally (causing heavy panting or noisy breathing). This condition is known as BOAS and is a progressive disorder that can impair a dog’s ability to exercise, play, eat and sleep.

How can I book an assessment?

Contact the practice via email  for the attention of  Ian Finney and state “BOAS” in the subject 

What do I need to bring to the assessment?

You will need to bring your dog’s Kennel Club (UK) and/or Irish Kennel Club registration certificates, pedigrees and microchip identification in order for your dog’s assessment to be completed. An assessment form will be completed by the regional assessor Ian and a copy will be given to you following the assessment, with another copy sent to the Kennel Club (UK)  for publication including on the Health Test Results Finder, if the dog is Kennel Club (UK) registered. Results for IKC only registered dogs will still be forwarded to the University of Cambridge for their research.

What happens during the assessment?

Your dog will be assessed by our vet Ian, who will initially use a stethoscope to listen to your dog’s breathing while they are calm and relaxed. Your dog will then be encouraged to move around an exercise area at a quick pace for 3 minutes, either by the vet or yourself. The vet will then listen to your dog’s breathing again and will use a list of criteria to give a grade.

How often do I need to have my dog assessed?

As BOAS is a complex syndrome the ways in which it can affect a dog may change over an individual’s lifetime. Therefore it is recommended that dogs are assessed from the age of 12 months and that this is repeated every two years for their lifetime, or until you stop using them for breeding.


What does each grade mean?

Grade 0

Your dog is clinically unaffected and is currently free of respiratory signs of BOAS. If your dog is under two years old we suggest they have an annual health check with their own vet, as BOAS can develop later in life.

Grade 1

Your dog is clinically unaffected but does have mild respiratory signs linked to BOAS. These signs do not affect their exercise performance. If your dog is under two years old we suggest they have an annual health check with their own vet, as BOAS can develop later in life.

Grade 2

Your dog is clinically affected and has moderate respiratory signs of BOAS that should be monitored and may require veterinary treatment.

Grade 3

Your dog is clinically affected and has severe respiratory signs of BOAS and should be seen by your own vet for a thorough veterinary examination with treatment. We do not recommend that you breed from your dog.

Breeding advice

The way that BOAS is inherited is not fully understood and is not always entirely predictable. Using the guidelines below can help you reduce the chances of breeding puppies affected by BOAS. However, even if used responsibly, this guidance cannot guarantee that a puppy from two unaffected parents will be free from BOAS.


Green: The lowest risk of breeding dogs affected by BOAS.

Amber: A higher risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by BOAS.

Red: A mating which has a high risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by BOAS. These matings are not recommended. Producing puppies affected by BOAS has a serious impact on their health and welfare. A mating which may produce affected puppies should never knowingly be carried out.