Friday, October 1, 2010

Question: My Pet's Bark sounds odd?

Dr. Schaeberle,

My dog is unable to bark like he used to, is that possible? It sounds like he may have a cold.



Dear Morgan,

Paralysis of the nerves that control the cartilage flaps that cover the larynx or voice box preventing them from completely opening is an uncommon condition typically affecting middle-aged, large breed dogs, though dogs of any age or breed may develop this condition.

Inflammation or trauma to the nerve causes loss of movement on one or both sides of the larynx which narrows the airway leading to symptoms such as coughing, hoarse bark, difficulty breathing, and, sometimes fainting during exercise or excitement. Severe cases may be fatal if respiratory arrest occurs.

This condition must be diagnosed by observing the larynx with the dog sedated to see if the cartilage flaps open and close normally.

Treatment for mild cases may include steroids to reduce inflammation but definitive treatment is a surgical treatment known as a laryngeal “tie-back” procedure which opens the airway.

Prognosis for dogs with laryngeal paralysis is guarded to good depending on the severity of the condition and obtaining proper diagnosis and treatment.

For more information visit our website -, go to Resources then click on Pet Health.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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