Laryngeal Paralysis

loagiehoagieJune 19, 2009

My dog Duke has been diagnosed with this. He is a yellow Lab who will turn 13 in November. Apparently it is fairly common in larger breeds, particulary labs. There is a surgery for it, but of course there are risks. I love my Duker and had a knee surgery done in 2005 at the cost of $3,000, so money, although a concern is not the ultimate issue. From what I have researched he is not in the end stages, more like the beginning. Right now I have added 3 air conditioners to my house to keep it cool and the humidity low which is a problem. I really hate to subject the poor guy to an operation. I know labs live 12-14 years on average with a few going a little longer. I know one lady who's lab went almost 18 years, but he was blind and deaf and truthfully I think it is selfish to keep a dog alive for our own benefit when the quality of life is just not there. Just my opinion.

Duke is fine most of the time. He just gets excited of course (mild) for breakfast and dinner and can get quite agitated and overly excited when company comes over. I have read sedatives can calm that behavior a bit, but of course we don't always know when someone will stop by.

My inclination right now is to keep him cool during the summer and take things as they come for a while. It pains me to know he is on his senior days, but I also understand it is inevitable.

I want to do the right thing and nobody can probably give me the answer right or wrong, but I want to ask opinions nonetheless.

From what I have read people who have opted for surgery have found the dogs will run and play and swim again. Duke will play frisbee but really is past his days of running and swimming so I don't see that as a potential positive of opting for the surgery.



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I have not heard of this condition, I need to go do some research and educate myself on it. What does the surgery entail? That would be the deciding factor for me since he is older. As you may have heard me say before, I believe in quality of life more than quantity. Whatever is the most humane thing to do for the animal's benefit, is what drives my decisions.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:24PM
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duker, I just left to go do a little reading on this condition and unless what I read is simplifying the surgery, it doesn't sound like a major surgery. It doesn't even require any type of cutting from what I read, only tacking the extra tissue out of the way. If this is actually the case, I would then go ahead if it were my dog. I don't know if my opinion helps any though. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Brutus, thanks so much for both responding and also spending time to educate yourself on the surgery before responding. Their are two camps on this naturally. The one camp where everything went well and the dog was better for a few years and that was great. The 2nd camp is where the dog has continual problems with pneumonia afterwards because of food/water getting into the lungs due to the aftermath of the surgical proceduce. I suppose that is human nature. If things go well 2 thumbs up....if not money spent and dog miserable, so 2 thumbs down. Anyone else have any personal experiences with this?

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 10:19AM
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This is a common issue with my breed too, and may be indicative of the beginning of other neurological problems in senior dogs. The tieback operation is the most common approach and the dog then needs to be on a soft food diet to avoid potential inhalation of food and pneumonia. With just one side of arytenoid cartilage tied back to provide a better airway, there is much less chance of complications. If the surgery is not performed your dog may go into respiratory crisis and will not be able to breath. In any decision making process you do need to consider the dogs over all quality of life. My own choice (for my dogs) would be the tie back surgery as I believe that would provide better quality and less liklihood of a painful and frightening episode that could result in death.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 11:45AM
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Cynthia, thanks for your opinion as well. I have fed my dog canned food since puppyhood so there wouldn't be an issue for that at all. I have gone back and forth with the decision 100 times, and all in just a few days time. Some days he acts fine and then he has an 'episode'. The closest clinic which does the operation is very expensive. That is where I had Duke's knee operation done, and although they did a good job I got the feeling that the cost was more than it really needed to be. My other option is the school of veterinary medicine at Michigan State University in E. Lansing Michigan. I am going to have my vet give me a referral so I can speak with someone there.

My Duker is truly the dog of my dreams. I always had a 'family' dog growing up, but this is my first lab, and I always wanted a yellow lab, and he has been my pride and joy. He got me through the death of my mom, and without him by my side it wouldn't have been possible.

Thanks for your advice and time to post.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 2:10PM
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That's great that you have a veterinary school to get a second opinion. I have LSU I can consult with and they have been great in those dire cases I needed 2nd. opinions on. Good luck and keep us posted.

Matter of fact I know a vet who use to work there. She's not a surgeon however. I'll see if I can contact her and ask her opinion on this. Not sure she can give one since it's not her area of expertise, but let me ask. I'll let you know what, if anything, I find out.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 3:27PM
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