With the hot weather approaching we will be seeing more laryngeal paralysis cases at Animal Accident & Emergency. This is a condition that mainly afflicts old large breed dogs (usually older than 10). Due to degeneration of the nerve supplying the larynx, afflicted dogs lose the ability to open up their airway when breathing. This leads to noisy breathing and difficulty breathing. Owners may also notice a change in bark.
High ambient temperature, excitation and stress can lead to panting which can worsen airway swelling, narrowing the airway further. This can cause life threatening respiratory tract obstruction. Affected dogs are at risk of death via asphyxiation and require emergency treatment with sedation, cooling and oxygen therapy. Severely affected dogs may require emergency intubation to alleviate the obstruction.
Fortunately, a highly effective surgical treatment exists for the condition. The laryngeal cartilage causing the obstruction can be pulled out of the airway using 1-2 stitches.
The surgery is performed via a small incision on the side of the neck just below the lower jaw. This typically alleviates the clinical signs and greatly reduces the risk of death via asphyxiation.
If you think your dog may be afflicted please seek advice from your vets. The condition can be quickly diagnosed by evaluation of the larynx under light general anaesthesia. If your dog is showing signs of an impending respiratory crisis (rapid noisy breathing, purple or blue gum colour) try to eliminate anxiety and stress and take your pet to a cool area. Wet towels can be used to try and cool your dog down. Your pet may require immediate transportation to a veterinary clinic for oxygen therapy, sedation and intubation if necessary.
Pet Emergency Centres
Pet Emergencies occur at all times of the day and night. Our Pet Emergency Centres are open daily, 7 days a week, we are a 24 Hour Melbourne Animal Hospital.
Animal Accident & Emergency – Essendon Fields (03) 9379 0700
Animal Accident & Emergency – Point Cook (03) 8368 7400