Does my dog have laryngeal paralysis?
Rumpy breathes heavily, especially when he sleeps. He also becomes tired more quickly when he walks. Sometimes when he’s excited he gags. And a few times while walking he’s seemingly tripped over something but nothing was there.
The vet first mentioned it last year but passed it off as a normal part of his growing older, so I didn’t worry too much about it. During his recent annual exam I mentioned what that vet had said to our current vet and he advised me to monitor Rumpy’s breathing. If it worsens he will sedate Rumpy and examine his throat to determine if it is indeed laryngeal paralysis. If it is, he could surgically alter his throat to help with his breathing.
But after doing a bit of research online, I’ve learned this is more than a problem with aging. Studies conducted on dogs with the disorder (and they are usually large breed dogs with Labrador retrievers the most common sufferer) have found it’s a sign of neurological degeneration. Some dogs eventually have trouble walking and a few lose the ability to walk.
The most common treatment is surgery that permanently sutures open one side of the larynx. Sounds easy enough, but one out of 5 dogs who have the surgery develops aspiration pneumonia. And almost half of the dogs have problems with swallowing.
In addition, in one study, within 6 months of diagnosis, nearly 60% of dogs showed signs of neuropathy in other parts of the body.
That having been said, many dogs who have been diagnosed can continue to have a quality of life years after diagnosis. And to be clear, Rumpy has not been formally diagnosed.
We are all getting older, and we all have our ailments. I have some joint issues. June Buggie has his hyperthyroidism. And Rumpy has this issue with his breathing.
I am unsure how to proceed. Do you have experience with laryngeal paralysis? Will you share with me what you know?
In the meantime, I will enjoy what Rumpy and I can experience together today. After all, tomorrow is not guaranteed any of us.