Laryngeal Paralysis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Smiling Male Vet Trying To Cheer Up Dog During Examination. Dog could have laryngeal paralysis.

(Picture Credit: AleksandarGeorgiev/Getty Images)

Laryngeal paralysis in dogs is a condition where the nerves of the animal’s laryngeal muscles become paralyzed. As the dog’s muscles weaken, cartilage can fall inwards, which in turn leads to laryngeal paralysis.

In many cases, the exact cause of the condition is unknown; although, trauma can sometimes cause it. The paralysis can affect the animal’s voice and can also lead to problems with eating and even breathing. It often affects older and larger dogs more than younger and smaller canines.

The Siberian Husky, Golden Retriever, and Saint Bernard are the breeds most often affected. If you see signs in your dog, you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment.

Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for laryngeal paralysis in dogs.

Symptoms Of Laryngeal Paralysis In Dogs

Symptoms of laryngeal paralysis in dogs often become apparent through changes in the voice. In many cases, affected animals begin to sound hoarse.

Along with changes to dogs’ voices, symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Problems eating and drinking

Causes Of Laryngeal Paralysis In Dogs

Vet examines a dog - Jack Russell Terrier

(Picture Credit: K_Thalhofer/Getty Images)

The cause of laryngeal paralysis in dogs is often not precisely known, which is called an idiopathic condition.

However, sometimes tumors and trauma to the neck area have caused the condition. Cases of dogs born with laryngeal paralysis have also been recorded.

Treatments For Laryngeal Paralysis In Dogs

If your veterinarian suspects your dog has laryngeal paralysis, they’ll ask about any relevant symptoms and examine the dog. They’ll likely give your dog anesthesia so they can safely look at your dog’s larynx with the use of an endoscope.

In some cases, vets may order blood tests and urine tests. They may also recommend X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment may start with medication, including anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics. Vets sometimes suggest lifestyle changes such as avoiding excessive exercise and high heat conditions, along with making sure the dog’s collar isn’t too tight or putting unwanted pressure on the animal’s neck.

In more severe cases, vets may rely on surgery as a treatment option. This can involve attempting to tie any cartilage that has collapsed to the side of the dog’s larynx.

Has your dog ever suffered from laryngeal paralysis? How did your vet treat it? Tell us all about it in the comments below!