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What is laryngeal paralysis?

Laryngeal paralysis is a condition that prevents the opening of the larynx (opening the tracheal tube) during breathing, which leads to obstruction of the airway and at a pinch to asphyxia. This condition is most common in older large breed dogs mostly Labradors, but can also occur in young dogs like Siberian Husky. In older dogs, the condition is acquired, and it is often associated with former polyneuropathy (a generalized disease of the nervous system). In young dogs the disease is hereditary. Unfortunately, the conservative therapy such as rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, bronchodilators are not appropriate in the long term for this disease. Surgery is recommended in most cases and is often good and it has excellent results. However, there are some complications that can occur after surgery and the owners must be aware of the risks associated with surgery.

How to diagnose?

The laryngeal paralysis is diagnosed after sedation and examination of the upper airways.This procedure must happen with a mild sedation, but not full anesthesia. Manual laryngoscope or endoscope is used to see the larynx during spontaneous breathing. The diagnosis is confirmed if the cartilage of the larynx could not be opened during inspiration. Other researches that are recommended to make as routine in dogs with a doubt about this disease are: blood tests: complete blood count, biochemistry and testing for thyroid, urine test, X-rays of the chest. In some cases, abdominal ultrasonography.

What happens in surgery?

There are many surgical techniques for treatment of this condition in dogs, but the most used procedure is called “unilateral cricoarytenoid lateralization” or more commonly called unilateral laryngeal “tie-back”. This surgical procedure consists of making a small incision on the appropriate side of the neck and subsequent dissection of the outer wall of the cartilage of the larynx. One or two stitches are placed to connect the cartilage rim of the larynx. The result is a permanent opening of the one side of the airway, which in most cases leads to a significant improvement and / or final solution of the respiratory difficulties.

Postoperative care

Most dogs have no significant complications in the close postoperative period. Your pet will need close monitoring and intensive care for 1-2 days after the surgery. It must limit the movements for six weeks in order to reduce the risk of compromising the surgery and to allow the tissue to heal around the seams. By the end of the life of the dog is not recommended to swim, the use of collars because of the risk of damage to the airways or aspiration pneumonia.