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Dog Laryngeal Paralysis

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Dogs suffering from Canine Laryngeal Paralysis have difficulty breathing and eating. The larynx is a voicebox and acts as a gateway to the airways and lungs. During breathing, the laryngeal cartilages (arytenoids cartilages that act like doors) pull open. This disorder prevents the nerves that control the muscles and cartilage to open and close the larynx. The arytenoids hang loosely. When cartilages fail to open and close properly, the dog has difficulty taking in air.

The cause of Canine Laryngeal Paralysis is not yet known. This disorder afflicts older, large breed dogs including Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards and Siberian Huskies. Although the dog’s larynx is normal at birth, the nerves and muscles may lose their function and not control the laryngeal cartilages.

This paralysis appears less common as a congenital condition in puppies. Puppies by two to six months of age show signs of breathing difficulty. Breeds affected include Dalmatian, Bouvier des Flandres, Siberian Husky and English Bulldog. A larger condition known as Laryngeal Paralysis-Polyneuropathy Complex may be at the root. Bite wounds or other trauma events may result in damage to nerves or larynx muscles.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Slow progression of symptoms includes a voice change that sounds hoarse. Breathing may produce a lot of noise. While eating, dogs may gag or choke. Symptoms may worsen during hot and humid weather and exercise. Obese dogs may suffer more. In severe cases, a life threatening event develops when the dog cannot take in sufficient air. Cyanosis (a condition in which the skin turns blue from lack of oxygen) or Syncope (fainting) may occur. If you have problems with finding a reliable essay service that offers assistance not only with creating essays but term and research paper writing as well, I highly recommend you to visit BestWritingService.Com.

A veterinarian can diagnose by examining the larynx under light anaesthesia. During inhaling, the laryngeal cartridges will fail to open as widely as normal. At this time, the veterinarian can check for polyps and cancers. Chest radiographs or echocardiograms may rule out heart or lung disease or other causes.


Treatment can include one of four surgical procedures: arytenoid cartilage lateralization, ventricular cordectomy and partial arytenoidectomy, modified castellated laryngofissure and permanent tracheostomy. The most common surgical treatment is arytenoid cartilage lateralization during which one or more sutures hold the arytenoid cartilage in the maximally abducted (open) position. In this open position, sufficient air can pass. Small risks include bleeding during surgery, drainage, swelling, and aspiration of stomach contents during surgery. After surgery, aspiration of food and water may occur. Pneumonia is another complication. For severe acute symptoms, oxygen therapy and sedatives, steroid or antibiotic medications may help.

Benefits of surgery include reduced symptoms linked to inadequate ventilation, as during exercise or overheating.

After surgery, position the feeding and water bowls eight to ten inches off the floor. Serve cut chunks of canned food for two weeks. Moisten kibble prior to feeding. Never feed dry kibble. For mild cases, healthy body weight is desired. Avoid high temperatures. The dog cannot swim because the larynx will not close properly: drowning will result. The dog will probably not bark or will emit a hoarse bark.

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