Laryngeal Paralysis In Dogs

Definition of Laryngeal Paralysis

It is the disease of the nerves, which controls the cartilages and muscles that close and open the larynx. Larynx, or the voice box, as a result, does not perform properly. The obvious outcome is a sudden voice change, with breathing and eating difficulty.

The larynx or the voice box is positioned at the rear side of the throat. Air travels from the nose or the mouth through the larynx, and lands into the trachea, commonly called as the windpipe. During normalcy, the laryngeal cartilages naturally opens during the breathing process.

During laryngeal paralysis, these cartilages do not close and open properly and makes natural breathing process difficult for the animal.

Most suffered Breeds

The condition is mostly seen in races like Siberian Husky, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and St. Bernard. According to experts, their natural massive size makes them readily susceptible to the condition. Races affected by the hereditary form of the condition are, Bouvier des Flandres, Dalmatian, English Bulldog, and Siberian Husky. One shouldn’t get shocked if we say that Labs are the number one breed which gets affected by the condition. Yes, some recent surveys report that the most commonly affected races are the Labradors.

Laryngeal Paralysis In Dogs


Usually, the larynx is normal during birth. Over the period, the muscles and nerves that control the laryngeal cartilages lose its functionality. In small pups, the condition can have a genetic background, and the typical signs take six to eight months to dispose of. One can see the young pup having problems in swallowing foods.

Abnormality in gaging, combined with an abnormal sounding bark, can be the apparent indications of the condition. The inherited variant of the disease, in most of the cases, is part a of the larger condition, called as laryngeal paralysis-polyneuropathy complex. Breeding needs avoidance if the disease is hereditary.

Laryngeal paralysis can also result as an after effect of damages to the muscles or traumas in the larynx, due to bite wound or any other injury. Some can have a relation with hyperthyroidism.

Can Cancer ignite the Condition?

Any principal cancer can undoubtedly spread to the voice box (metastatic cancer). Squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer can develop in significant parts of the body, including the lips, skin, mouth, urinary bladder, esophagus, etc. and stimulate the growth of the disease in the larynx. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a highly malignant tumor. Oncocytoma is a tumor of the salivary gland. Lipoma is a tumor of the fatty tissues. Cancer of the thyroids. Mast cells play a vital role in fighting various conditions, but can also become carcinogenic. Osteosarcoma, the cancer of the bones can also ignite the condition. Lastly, Melanoma.


The first sign of laryngeal paralysis is mostly a voice change in an animal. The bark may sound a bit cacophonic. The patient will make a lot of noise when breathing in air. Same way, they will choke and gag while having their food.

The signs will become worse during summer months, during regular exercising, and in obese dogs. At times the condition can become severe and can result in a life-threatening situation.


In the veterinary clinic, the patient will be first anaesthetized. The vet will then conduct a thorough investigation. When suffering from the condition, the larynx muscles will not open as it usually does, during inhalation.

Laryngeal Paralysis In Dogs2


Surgical intervention is needed in most of the cases. The most common sort after surgery is the arytenoid Laterization, commonly called as laryngeal tie-back. The operation will involve the use of permanent sutures, to hold the cartilages, which otherwise gets blocked.

Is there an advancement in the medical world, when it comes to treating the condition?

Some vets nowadays recommend an anti-vomiting drug (metoclopramide) for the patient for its entire life. The aim is to make the food move downward. It is an economical option for the owner. Hyperactivity can happen in some options.

Some vets may not suggest this medicine for the patient. This drug is indeed not mandatory. Nowadays, some surgeons do not make the hole as big as earlier. Just enough to allow the dog to breathe normally. We would suggest consulting a surgeon, who has an active experience in handling these kind of patients, because of the vulnerable nature of the disorder.


Most canines will do good after getting surgery. One shouldn’t get scared of the fact that the patient might have a little bleeding during operation. The surgeon usually operates on one side of the patient as it will allow an increased flow of air with a reduction in the risk of aspiration. Some patient will snort, but that should not be an issue as the normal breathing process of the pet matters the most. We hope our suggestions helps in fighting the disease.

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