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Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs

What is Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs?

Laryngeal paralysis occurs when the larynx cartilage flaps no longer open and close properly. It can cause exercise intolerance, noisy respiration, and throat clearing.

It restricts the dog’s ability to breathe. Since the airways are obstructed in laryngeal paralysis, it makes it difficult for dogs to pant and cool effectively, especially in warm climates. This condition is very similar to collapsed trachea in dogs, as it presents with many of the same signs and can be improved with many of the same supplements.

What Causes Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs?

For some pets, laryngeal paralysis can be genetic and affect younger dogs, but most cases involve older, large breed dogs. Laryngeal paralysis is when the larynx no longer opens and closes with respiration. The esophageal function is also impaired in dogs with GOLPP. GOLPP is an acronym for Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis Polyneuropathy.

This term is used when geriatric dogs develop laryngeal paralysis, mega-esophagus and hind leg weakness concurrently. It involves a generalized polyneuropathy – all the nerves in the body are affected, but the symptoms begin to cascade with age. GOLPP is most common in Labrador retrievers, but can be found in any large breed. These three conditions can also develop independently.

Mega-esophagus is when the esophagus lacks the muscles and motility to move food and water down to the stomach. It becomes distended and the food is regurgitated.

Studies show that within a year of being diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis, almost 60% of dogs also showed hind limb weakness, muscle wasting and gait problems. There seems to be a general neurologic deterioration that occurs with GOLPP.

How To Treat Laryngeal Paralysis

While there is no cure for GOLPP, all three of the conditions can be supported with natural supplements and lifestyle changes.

Supplements to support the cartilage and connective tissue may delay the need for surgery and reduce symptoms. Ultra-Flex Collagen for Pets strengthens and repairs cartilage. Several of the ingredients in ArthroStride are scientifically proven to reduce inflammation and repair cartilage. Both supplements have been very helpful for pets with laryngeal paralysis.

  • Ultra-Flex Collagen can help to strengthen and repair the laryngeal cartilage and connective tissue. By minimizing excitement and stress, avoiding extreme heat and by using a harness instead of a collar you can help to reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

  • Gastro ULC & Power Probiotic help to reduce the pain and burning from acid reflux. They work complimentarily to stabilize and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Soothing Digestive Relief is a special blend of herbs and plant enzymes that help to break down carbohydrates and calm and soothe the digestive tract. Changing to a hypoallergenic, low carbohydrate diet can help your dog digest their food easier.

  • ArthroStride for Pets contains 15 ingredients scientifically proven to reduce inflammation and repair cartilage. Can be used in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or as a natural alternative.

How Is Laryngeal Paralysis Different Than Collapsed Trachea in Dogs?

Laryngeal paralysis and collapsed trachea are both respiratory conditions affecting dogs, albeit involving distinct parts of the respiratory system and manifesting different symptoms. Laryngeal paralysis relates to malfunctioning laryngeal muscles, causing airway obstruction and symptoms like hoarse barking and difficulty breathing, predominantly seen in older, larger breeds. On the other hand, collapsed trachea results from weakened tracheal rings, leading to airflow obstruction and a characteristic honking cough, more prevalent in small breeds. Overall, while each case is different, managing symptoms of collapsed trachea and keeping the dog comfortable may be easier than cases of laryngeal paralysis.

Treatment approaches for both conditions share similarities. Surgical options like laryngeal tie-back surgery address laryngeal paralysis by opening the airway permanently, while surgical interventions like tracheal stenting can assist in correcting collapsed trachea. Additionally, medical management, including weight control, harness usage, and medications to reduce inflammation or manage symptoms, proves beneficial for both conditions. However, supplements such as glucosamine, collagen, and fish oil may offer supportive benefits, primarily targeting joint health but potentially aiding in overall mobility and inflammation reduction, indirectly benefiting respiratory comfort in affected dogs.