Everything You Should Know About Canine Laryngeal Paralysis
Our chocolate lab Dylan was about 6-1/2 years old in 2007 when he started making a honking noise (think of what a goose honk sounds like) when he breathed heavily after running or swimming, especially in hot weather.
The sound the dog in this video makes is similar to what Dylan sounded like:
We didn’t think much of it until a woman at his day care, Dog’s Day Out, told us she noticed the noise and that it could indicate that Dylan had a breathing problem. She recommended that whenever we heard the noise we should make Dylan rest and wait several minutes before playing with him again.
This helped for a couple of months, but then his “honking” episodes began to occur more frequently and last longer so we took him to our vet to see if he could identify the problem.
Almost immediately after we described Dylan’s symptoms, he said Dylan probably had canine laryngeal paralysis.
CANINE LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS – MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK
Have you ever heard of it? We certainly hadn’t even though it is a somewhat common condition, especially in larger dogs.
Laryngeal paralysis (LP) occurs when the muscles on either side of the cartilage covering the opening of a dog’s trachea (windpipe), begin to weaken.
When a dog inhales, these muscles contract and pull back the cartilage at the opening of a dog’s trachea. This allows air to flow into the trachea and travel to the dog’s lungs. The muscles relax when the dog exhales.
If a dog has LP, these muscles begin to weaken and cannot completely pull back the cartilage at the tracheal opening. When the dog inhales the cartilage still covering the tracheal opening is sucked down into it. The honking occurs when the air the dog inhales causes the cartilage to flap back and forth.
However, dogs with LP don’t always make a honking sound. Others just struggle to breath because their tracheal opening is partially blocked.
The weakening of muscles that pull back the cartilage is rarely static. As the muscles continue to deteriorate, the cartilage covers more and more of the trachea which makes breathing more difficult, particularly when the dog is overheated.
This can eventually lead to respiratory distress because, as the dog begins overheat, it will breathe more rapidly to compensate for the reduced flow of cool air into its lungs. As the dog breathes more quickly and forcefully, the weakened muscles that pull open the cartilage at the tracheal opening are unable to keep pace with the faster breathing and the tracheal opening is blocked more quickly.
The American College of Veterinary Surgeons notes that dogs with laryngeal paralysis are “more prone to overheating under conditions that would not make a normal dog hot. This may be a simple walk outside on a sunny day or vigorous play on a cool day.”
CAUSE OF LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS STILL UNCLEAR
So far, no one has determined a specific cause of laryngeal paralysis. However, I’ve read in several places that putting constant, excessive pressure on a dog’s throat could cause it because it eventually weakens larynx muscles to the point where they can function properly.
That’s why I believe I caused Dylan’s LP. The woman that taught his puppy training class said to correct our dogs when we walked them by jerking their leashes. This put excessive pressure on his throat and most likely damaged the muscles that controlled his larynx.
For this reason alone, if you have a large breed dog, NEVER attach a leash to a dog’s collar. Use a harness or a gentle leader. Putting pressure on a dog’s throat can cause LP.
You can see in the second image how cartilage blocks the trachea when muscles are too weak to pull it back. The third image shows a larger opening after the cartilage on one side is tied back. Image from vcsmilfordblog.blogspot.com.
Jerking the leash to correct a dog is unnecessary and considered inhumane by dog trainers that use positive training methods. I’ll talk about this more in another post.
SYMPTOMS OF LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS
- The most common symptom is noisy respiration and a high-pitched sound (honking) when inhaling
- Excessive panting
- Panting when cool and calm
- Hoarse or raspy-sounding bark
- Tongue may be a darker red or purple in color
- Resistance to being touched or restrained
- Reduced activity, exercise intolerance
- Elevated rectal temperature (especially during warm weather months)
WHAT TO FOR A DOG IN RESPIRATORY DISTRESS
If your dog goes into respiratory distress, do not immediately try to load it in a car and take it to the vet.
Dogs in respiratory distress must be cooled quickly or else they can suffocate. The best thing to do is to take it to a place with air conditioning or a shady area and make it lie down. This could be difficult as your dog could begin to panic as breathing becomes harder. Be sure to remain calm so you don’t stress out your dog and make the situation worse.
If its breathing is still labored you should take it to a veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately to prevent it from suffocating. If it starts breathing normally you should schedule an appointment with your vet to determine what caused its respiratory distress.
YOU THINK YOUR DOG HAS LP – WHAT NEXT?
When you take your dog to your vet be sure to find out if she has had any experience with laryngeal paralysis. Some veterinarians have limited or no experience diagnosing laryngeal paralysis so they may misdiagnose it.
If your vet thinks your pet is in the initial stages of dog laryngeal paralysis but not in any immediate danger of having an episode of respiratory distress, she might give you a list of things to try that will minimize the progression of the condition such as cutting back on exercising your dog in warm weather, getting a harness instead of a collar, and cooling your dog down immediately whenever it starts to wheeze.
But if your vet diagnoses your dog with a more advanced case LP, she should refer you to a board certified surgeon who has extensive surgical experience with dog laryngeal paralysis to confirm the diagnosis.
Post Surgery we confined Dylan to a space in our basement for 6 weeks. The shaved area on the left side of his neck is where the surgeon made the incision. Photo from Seattle DogSpot.
The surgeon should tell you, based on the information provided by you and your vet and the examination of your dog, whether or not he should examine your dog under sedation.
Our surgeon told us that Dylan’s LP symptoms had advanced to the point that he wanted to set an appointment to sedate Dylan to confirm the diagnosis.
Noting that sedating dogs stressed them both mentally and physically, he preferred to perform the surgery to tie back the cartilage immediately after he confirmed the condition while Dylan was still sedated instead of scheduling another appointment for the surgery.
WHAT HAPPENS IN LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS SURGERY?
Here’s how it worked for us. The surgeon said he would call us immediately while Dylan was sedated after he determined whether or not he had LP.
If he confirmed Dylan had LP that warranted surgery, he would ask us on the call to give him permission to keep Dylan sedated and perform the surgery.
For a tieback, the surgeon makes an incision in the side of the dog’s neck and uses sutures to tie back the cartilage on one side of the tracheal opening far enough to allow the dog to breathe normally and prevent respiratory distress.
The cartilage isn’t pulled open completely so food and fluids can’t easily enter the trachea and go into the dog’s lungs.
The surgery lasts a couple of hours, and usually the dog is kept overnight for observation.
PROPER POST-OP CARE IS CRITICAL
The vet told us Dylan’s recovery would be about six weeks. Here are the post-operative orders he gave us:
1. For the first week, Dylan could not do any walking (except to go to the bathroom outside) because it would put pressure on both the external and internal sutures and possibly pull them out. To prevent this the surgeon told us to keep him in his kennel to restrict his mobility.
We tried this for about 24 hours, but we ended up creating a small area in the basement for him to lie down in because we wanted easier access to pet and comfort him.
2. For the first 3 weeks, Dylan couldn’t do anything that could pull out the sutures. This included walking up stairs, getting up on furniture, and barking. Keeping him off stairs and furniture was easy. We just kept him in the basement and blocked access to them.
Preventing him from barking was a little trickier since he barked like crazy whenever someone knocked at the door. We solved the problem by putting a sign at the bottom of the stairs to our front door telling people to call us instead of knocking on our door, and that worked out fine.
3. For six weeks we couldn’t take Dylan on walks or allow him to take part in any physical activity.
4. Dylan could only eat and drink from elevated bowls to prevent him from inhaling food and/or water into his lungs. In a normal dog, cartilage covers the to tracheal opening to keep food and water out of the lungs. The tieback surgery created a permanent opening in the tracheal opening where it could get through.
5. Dylan could only eat and drink in very small quantities to prevent vomiting or choking which could also push food or water into his lungs.
Although he preferred to sleep alone, our other dog Miguel kept close to Dylan during his recovery. Photo from Seattle DogSpot.
We followed the post-op protocol and Dylan’s recovery went well. We both work from home so at least one person was with him 24/7. I realize this isn’t possible for most people.
If your dog has LP surgery and no one is home all day you will probably need to get a dog sitter to at least check on it and take it out for bathroom breaks during the day.
We also slept in the basement with him so we would know if he needed anything during the night.
BIGGEST POST-OP DANGER: ASPIRATION PNEUMONIA
The biggest danger after surgery was aspiration pneumonia, an inflammation of the lung caused when a dog inhales a foreign substance. Although the vast majority of dogs recover from tieback surgery with no complications, aspiration pneumonia is the most common reason for postsurgical complications and/or fatalities.
Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include:
- Rapid breathing
- Heart rate
- Blue tint to mucous membranes
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite
- Aversion to exercise
Aspiration pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics if caught soon enough, so early detection is critical. Some people take their dog’s temperature regularly after surgery to check for fever.
You should also watch for any of the other symptoms. Fortunately Dylan didn’t develop aspiration pneumonia after his surgery.
The surgery can damage its vocal chords so your dog could lose its bark. This didn’t happen to Dylan.
Your dog could also develop a seroma, which is a collection of fluid that forms around an incision. This shouldn’t be a problem, but if it gets too large, your surgeon may want to drain it.
Dylan developed one about the size of a golf ball. The surgeon told us to put a warm, wet washcloth on it for about 15 minutes 2-3 times a day. It disappeared after a couple of days.
POST SURGERY ACTIVITY
After your dog recovers from surgery, you must remember that your its tracheal opening will always be partially open. This means you must constantly guard against the danger of aspiration pneumonia.
Opinions vary regarding the best way to do this.
Some people say that they don’t allow their dog to do anything that could cause LP post surgery. This includes swimming/playing in water because dogs can inhale it inadvertently into their lungs.
Eating grass is prohibited as well because a dog could also inhale it into its lungs.
Some people continue to feed their dog by hand and only allow them to drink small amounts of water. They may also stop feeding their dog kibble or dry treats because their dog could inhale the dust/crumbs into its lungs.
Our vet told us that dog owners had to decide what to allow their dog to do during its recovery. He also noted that the chances of getting LP from swimming or eating grass was extremely low. He wasn’t concerned about feeding Dylan kibble either and as long as we soaked it in water beforehand.
The only things he said we should do were to put Dylan’s food and water in elevated bowls and to NEVER allow him to wear a collar, even around the house, because any pressure on his neck could rip the sutures holding back the cartilage at the tracheal opening.
We replaced his collar with a harness and bought elevated bowls and continued to feed him kibble mixed with wet food in warm water.
WE CAVE ON SWIMMING
We struggled with whether or not we should allow Dylan to swim again. He was a lab, so of course his favorite activity was swimming after a tennis ball.
But once we saw the shock and horror in his face whenever we passed water without throwing his ball in it, we relented.
We started out throwing the ball into shallow water so he didn’t have to swim. But like a typical Lab he quickly caught on and started swimming on his own. A few days after that, he was flying off the bank or dock into the water just like always.
He continued to swim with no problems for 6-1/2 more years.
LP TAKES MY DOG
Dylan had no health problems related to LP until Thanksgiving 2013 when he contracted aspiration pneumonia on Orcas Island.
Dylan refused to eat or drink for several days during his 3rd bout of aspiration pneumonia. I took this picture the day he was euthanized. Photo from Seattle DogSpot.
We quickly knew he was sick as his behavior changed significantly over the course of a few hours. Initially he was listless and lethargic. We had to help him up on the couch, and that’s where he stayed all day.
Then he refused to eat anything. He even turned up his nose at his favorite treats.
The next day we took him to the island’s only veterinarian who quickly diagnosed him with aspiration pneumonia.
He gave Dylan a massive dog of penicillin and gave us strict orders to keep him quiet until he recovered.
Dylan took a couple of weeks to fully recover, but in the spring he contracted aspiration again.
This time he took much longer to recover. He lost a lot of muscle mass, especially in his hind legs.
After several weeks he recovered, but by then his legs were so weak he couldn’t climb the 45 stairs to our house.
He started hydrotherapy to help strengthen his legs, and it appeared to help.
Unfortunately we had to stop it when he got aspiration pneumonia for the third time in late September.
This time he couldn’t recover. Three bouts of aspiration pneumonia within a year was too much for a senior dog. After spending a few days at the emergency vet and refusing to eat or drink anything, he made it clear to us he was ready to go.
We had him euthanized at home on October 1, 2014.
Dylan lived about 7 years after LP surgery. His case was a bit different because it’s more common in older dogs.
As I said earlier, I’m convinced he contracted it when he was only 6 because of the excessive pressure I put on his throat muscles when I corrected him during walks.
I have no regrets Dylan died from a condition most likely caused by the surgery that corrected his LP. It allowed him to have a normal life for about 7 years. Without it he would have died much sooner.
People who have older dogs with LP have a tougher decision. They have to determine whether or not the extra time their dog could have is worth putting it through the trauma of and recovery from major surgery.
Some are able to keep their dogs comfortable without surgery by restricting their exercise, especially in hot weather.
SEEK OUT INFORMATION, CONFER WITH YOUR VET
If your dog is diagnosed with LP and you have to decide about surgery to correct it, get as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision.
The most helpful resource I found was this Yahoo group for owners of dogs with LP. These people will happily answer any of your questions or concerns, share stories of their dogs’ surgeries, and clarify what you should expect. This group also has an extensive collection of information regarding LP that you can peruse. You must join Yahoo (it’s free) to have access to the group.
The best thing the group did for me was provide access to a community of people whose dogs were diagnosed with LP and reassure me that the vast majority of LP surgeries are successful with no complications.
You will also find people who strongly recommend against surgery or say you should never allow your dog in the water again after surgery. These are legitimate points of view, and you just have to decide what will work best for you and your dog.
Other than the Yahoo LP group, you can get more information from websites like the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, PetMD, the American Medical Veterinary Association.
While I hope this information is helpful regarding dog laryngeal paralysis, I prefer that your dog has a happy and healthy life with no LP.
Terry Flannery says
I’m glad you had 7 more years. I’d like people in the East to know about Dr Sadanaga who does a different surgery. He takes the larynx out and creates an airway. Only about a 2% chance of aspiration. He is just outside Philadelphia
I’m so glad I read this. I love within 30 mins of Philly and my dog has LP. She’s a 12 year old lab and needs it ASAP. We have it scheduled but now that i know about this guy… i rather go to him! Thank you thank you! I can’t thank you enough for this comment.
Diana Ryan says
Hi Amy, I saw that you own a 12 yr old lab that you had planned on getting the tieback surgery a month or so ago. If you did follow through, could you please let me know how things went? By all means if things didn’t go as planned I do apologize for anything I might say to cause pain. I do hope all is well.
I too have a lab who is 12 will be 13 next month. I am looking to talk to another who has a lab as I do with this terrible disease known as Lar Par. I never did do the surgery on my chocolate lab for fear that at his age he might not recover as fast and likely develop pneumonia. He is a sloppy water drinker.lol
I also have a 13 year old yellow lab 14 in June who was starting to cough quite a bit. He was also diagnosed with Lar Par but not nearly to the extent of the chocolate.
I am reaching out to another because now things are progressing faster and age is as well. Please get back to me so we can chat about our babies who hold such dear places in our hearts.
Sandy Hall Bourrie says
We have a nine year old Lab who may have LP. He has been very quiet for several years, but joyful at times also, with energetic bursts. Recently every few weeks he coughed and wretched a few times. The vet took xrays and saw some lung congestion, put him on antibiotics for two weeks, as well as an an anti-inflammatory. During that time, he was more energetic, until the antibiotics caused an over bloom of yeast and he developed an ear infection. He pants frequently as if anxious, especially at night (he has done this most of his life..) He seems to settle down after half an hour or so; he has always been very heat sensitive, prefers the cooler spots in the house. His energy level has declined again, off the antibiotics. He has a slight rattle when breathing, not always presenting itself. We have another Lab, two years younger, who is his playmate and companion, and he does play with her on our walks. Any comments or tips will be appreciated. Interested in the alternative surgery referencing the PA vet surgical procedure.
If you don’t hear the distinctive goose honking sound he may not have LP, but a vet would have to confirm it.
Sandy, our chocolate lab Wrigley has this and we have been getting laser treatment for her and Chinese herbs and suppliments from Standard process. There seems to be improvement already! We are looking into acupuncture as well. I would recommend holistic options because I do believe there has been more research on this. Good Luck and don’t give up!
Did you ever hear from Amy about her 12 year old lab. I too have a 12 year old chocolate lab and am trying to make a wise decision. I gladly do the surgery if it gave her a year or so of quality time. I would certainly appreciate hearing about your experience.
I’m so glad it helped. Good luck with the surgery!
My English Setter was diagnosed with LP several weeks ago. Hevhas been having symptoms of for almost a year – raspy, sometimes almost silent bark; diminishing stamina when racing through the woods on one of his “Spencer ‘ventures”; and increasingly heavier panting after any exertion. Also, lately, he has been having weakness in his hindquarters. He developed a persistent bronchitis several weeks ago, which led to his vet’s diagnosis of Lar Par. He was on one antibiotic initially, but, we had better results when the vet switched him to Temaril. He’s had two courses of that but is still suffering from the residual “huffing” cough, with an occasional hacking spell, exacerbated by stress or excitement. The coughing/huffing worsens at night.
Spencer has always been the happiest dog I have ever been lucky enough to know. He will be 13 yo next February 2019, but he acts as though he is two. He fills my heart with joy just watching him so revel in life. I swear he has a perpetual smile on his face -which can’t help but put one on mine. It breaks my heart to think of losing him. I’m at the point of deciding whether or not to operate. Although not a pup, he had been strong, healthy, and active up to just prior to his diagnosis. I’m recently retired so could take care of him during his convalescence. I am concerned about pneumonia, and the possibility of my not recognizing it’s symptoms in a timely fashion. But, I think I am even more terrified of him asphyxiating and my not being able to get to the vet to end his suffering than I am of him dying as a result of pneumonia. And if the operation gave him a few more months or years of mostly quality life, I think it would be worth it. Well, I’ll talk further with the vet and find out about the surgeon. I’m on the Oly Peninsula so my options are a bit limited. Thanks for all the input. And I’d be happy for more to help with my decision.
I’m sorry. Can you tell me if the vet examined Spencer while he was under anesthesia or if he based the diagnosis on Spencer’s symptoms.
Lisa Garofalo says
How is the laser treatment and acupuncture working? Where do you find this? My 13 year old mix has been recently diagnosed with LP. He is a cancer survivor too and has been through a lot.
How did your Lab do after surgery?
She made a preliminary diagnosis after hearing his symptoms and listening to his breathing, his severe coughing, and what I call his “huffing” cough, when I brought him in to see his usual ( newly graduated) vet. I returned a week or so later after running out of the Temarile. His cough had returned, despite being on the medication, (which had previously helped diminish his cough), and which seemed to help him breath. She manipulated his larynx area through his mouth, took blood and urine samples, during which time he had a very severe coughing spell. We were hoping the blood might show thyroid issues, (he has a patch of fur that has not regrown after trimming), or one of several other possibilities. But, no luck. I have an appointment in a few days with Spencer’s primary vet, during which he was going to teach me to give Spencer shots if it became necessary. But, I think I will call and suggest a change of topic in which we discuss the ramifications of the tieback. The practice does host a traveling surgeon who has performed the surgery. I would want to know more about his success rate and his training. I don’t know if he is board certified, but that would be important. From my reading, it seems that the surgeon would be able to completely confirm LP during the operation, prior to performing the tieback.
I am inclined to move towards the operation. But, due to the cost, the arduous convalescence, the fear of AP, and my concern if this is the right decision for Spence, I am seeking all the knowledgeable information I can find. He is not young in age but has always been young in energy, activity level, and joy of life. If I can get one or two more happy, active years for him, I will be ecstatic. But I can not bare the thought of him slowly suffocating.
Sorry about how wordy I have been. I’m afraid to leave anything out that might inform your thoughts. Thank you for responding.
I can’t give medical advice since I’m not a veterinarian, but I would be hesitant to have a traveling vet do the surgery. If complications arise I’d want to be able to see the vet who did the surgery. And I would only want a board certified specialist to do the surgery.
I was privileged to be the companion of a very special Brittany boy who at age 9+ was diagnosed with LP. It was then that I discovered that it is more prominent in Brittanys than I ever thought. I used a traveling surgeon, a specialist contacted by my local vet. She was personally acquainted with this surgeon who kept me informed during the diagnosing and surgery. He was great and this surgery is his specialty. The benefit of using a traveling vet was that the surgery was done locally (less stress on me and the dog). I would do the surgery for him again in a heartbeat. We had an additional 4 years together with no complications. As stated, we had to take precautions but he continued to enjoy life with no compromises until he passed. My heart breaks for you. It is a real feeling of helplessness. I am in healthcare and always looking for answers. There was nothing definitive and no real answers for this. Since this post was a few weeks ago, I hope your dog is stable and if you decide to go ahead with the surgery, I wish you and your baby an uneventful recovery lots of good time ahead. Good Luck.
Thanks for sharing your story. I know Labs appear to get it more than other breeds I didn’t know Brittanys do too.
Our boy Gus just had Lar Par surgery. We went in on Saturday for a consultation with the surgeon ( we were told only Board Certified vet surgeons did this surgery.) Dear Gus got all excited and had an attack. The fabulous staff stepped right in with oxygen and medication. They brought our boy right in and did emergency surgery. And now our boy is home. He is pretty medicated but doing well. The surgeon and the staff were wonderful. They took the time with us and explained everything. We are so grateful. We are near Olympia Washington and I have only good things to say about this surgeon and his team.
Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad it worked out!
Leo Richards says
Look into PEMF devices and accupun cture. I am researching it myself so far looking at earthpulse and OMI. Check mercola web for vet advice from Dr.Karen Becker
My ‘Sadie Mae’ (Rottweiler/Shepard mix) was diagnosed with LAR PAR when she was 12 years old. She was a very youthful 12 years and developed breathing symptoms along with shortness of breath and some scary breathing episodes. I had a consult with a surgeon to discuss the pros and cons of the tie back surgery. He stated that he would do it but in his experience the incidence of aspiration pneumonia was higher than the approximately 20-25% my Vet mentioned, especially at her age, she was already at the ‘top of her game’. I was already managing her well on diuretics/diet/vitamins and so I decided to not do the surgery and manage her with the meds. The surgeon was agreeable with this and concurred. Sadie lived another 16 months and passed away at 13 years and 4 mos old, mostly due to old age, exceeding her breeds life expectation. She still had a few scary ‘breathing episodes’ but I was able to manage them and she pulled out with rest and watchful love. She had a full last life of eating however and whatever she wanted, going to the park at times for a few minutes on ‘good days’ and of course constant love. She was always able to get around ‘her’ house and backyard with no problem, just no more walks due to the LAR PAR. I feel that more time would have been taken away from her with the recovery from surgery and displeasure brought to her by the way her eating/drinking habits would have to be changed. I also feel that she may have been ‘in and out’ of the hospital during her final days/months due to complications/pneumonia from the surgery. Basically, due to her age and ‘risk vs. benefit’ I decided to not do the surgery. I feel that Sadie (at her age) lived a longer and more quality filled life without the surgery than if we would have done it. She became an ‘old lady’ and went behind our tree this past summer and passed away. Just sharing my experience and any decision made by other loving ‘parents’ please know that my best wishes and love is with you all the way.
Thank you for sharing your story.
BERNICE THOMAS says
We have a 12 yr old chocolate lab who has been diagnosed with LP. The Vet put him on Dxcycolpine and Preniodsone for a week or so. The Vet is hoping the meds will take care of the problem. Koby has LP on one side. We are praying that meds will resolve the problem. Koby also has a heart murmur. Koby has always been a active dog , some still thinks he is a puppy.. I’m concerned because of all the comments I’ve read on this post. We couldn’t imagine Koby not being in our life. I’m not sure if surgery is recommended if we would do it because of the aspiration puenomoina .
Lots of 12-yo dogs have done well after the surgery but hopefully the meds will work.
Carmela Schneider says
How is Koby doing? My 11 yr old staffordshire bull terrier, Tank has LP & a heart murmur. The preniodsone is causing an enlarged heart. Did you opt for surgery for Koby? If so, how is it going? Hope all is well.
Colleen Heaney Mertz says
what meds did you use to manage your dog’s condition? I have an 11 year old dog that I am not sure I want to put her through the surgery.
Charlynn Clark says
Thank you for your story. It helps a lot.
Kelly Lynn A’Harrah says
I live outside of Philadelphia as well. My dog needs evaluation for LP. May I ask where you took your dog, please? Were you satisfied with the care?
My 11 1/2 year old yellow Lab has been diagnosed with LP and is scheduled for surgery with Dr. Sadanaga next week. I’ve heard nothing but great things about him, in fact he did LP surgery on her brother last year and it was successful. Everyone on staff has been wonderful at VRC in Malvern, PA.
We lost Sir Coach Cotton, 15 year old white lab, this week to Lar Par. We are in Phoenix AZ and he had been “honking” for well over a year. Due to his arthritis, we had been limiting his walks to very short distances. He had his first episode 2 months ago where he collapsed on a walk and was in respiratory distress. We immediately loaded him in the car and off to the vet. They diagnosed Lar Par and intubated him. After an hour or so, they removed the tube and we brought him home. He remained happy and normal (as normal as a 15 yr old lab can be) until this past Friday. At 10:00 pm at night, after a normal meal and calm evening with his two “brothers”, he went into respiratory distress again, with no provocation. We rushed him the 24 hour hospital and came to the conclusion that this was going to continue, that given his other health issues, a difficult surgery was not reasonable and we didn’t want him to suffocate when we weren’t home. Like all of yours, he was the kindest, most gentle and loving companion you could ask for. A giant of a dog that the grandchildren used as a pillow. I don’t think there was anything that any of us could do to cause this, it seems to be very common for Lab’s. For what it’s worth, we “won” Cotton in a Phoenix Suns auction and they brought him to our table with a bag of medicine. He suffered twice from a twisted stomach, first on a Saturday night at 10 pm and fortunately the second when we could get him to the vet during the week. Lately he had a Thyroid condition. He was the real “Steve Austin” of dogs……and we wouldn’t have had it any other way…..
Jim – I’m so very sorry for your lost, but you were fortunate to have 15 years with Cotton, I hope my Cody can make it to 15 now with the surgery. Interesting that you mention he had twisted stomach, Cody was also diagnosed with a hiatal hernia by Dr. Sadanaga, so he did surgery for that at the same time as LP. He attached her stomach to each side of her ribs to avoid any future twisting. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Take care.
There is a non-surgical option to explore as well. We had a retriever/St. Bernard mix who got LP at 13. Due to his age, we were reluctant to do surgery because of thr chance for aspiration pneumonia. I googled non-surgical treatments for LP. It brought up one video of a vet dicussing the use of Doxepin. Doxepin is a human drug so my vet had not heard of it. We looked it up with her and decided to give it a try. Our dog loved another 3 years without having another LP episode. My understanding is that Doxepin is not necessarily always this successful but please be aware there are now at least a couple of trials on the effects of Doxepin on LP in dogs. One is at a vets in NJ and one is at Cornell. There may be others. It is worth a look, as my pup was able to have a really good quality of life living with LP. Hope this helps someone out there!
Thanks for the info – I hadn’t heard of that procedure.
Lisa Garofalo says
My dog goes to Cornell and has recently been diagnose with LP. He is also a cancer survivor. So, he has been through a lot. What doctor did you see at Cornell and can you share links to the studies?
Awww! Loved your story and learning all about your sweet Cotton. God bless!
My dog just had lar par surgery with Dr. Sadanaga. He is sleeping all night with NO breathing problems. This man is exceptional! He was recommended to me by another vet who said he was the best in the country! Worth the trip!
Great! Glad he’s doing well.
Shari Matusow says
I live in New York and my almost 6 year old Labradoodle was diagnosed with LP today. Do you think it’s worth it to reach out to Dr. Sadanaga? I’ve read up on him. How is your dog now?
Give me this doctor’s phone number
My cavachon didn t honk but began to snore loudly and pant.
She still kept up with my pit and poodle but you could hear her breathing. She came through surgery but someone gave her food..they claim…a small round ball of her dog food…they claimed she suddenly stood up…and they put her in an 02 cage with 50% 02. We were called to visit…pandemic issues…but were let in…why didn t they put her on their ventilator?? This happened Oct 15. I brought her in for help….no one said she was dying…refused to use those words so we watched her struggle thinking she would get better. She died 12 hours after surgery…I held her for an hour after death while my sons went to get our other two dogs so they would know what happened. We are absolutely devasted. We brought in a happy dog…financed $6700 for icu care and left with our 13.5 year old frozen in a box. I feel I did this to my dog because I wanted to help but now feel responsible for her death.
I’m so sorry. You shouldn’t blame yourself. You thought you were doing the right thing, and surgeries, especially on old dogs, have some risk.
Hi Terry, thank you for this. I made an appointment after seeing your comment. my dog is 6 and was diagnosed yesterday with LP. I live in NY but I’m going to see Dr. Sandaga. Did your dog have surgery with Dr. S?
Kevin McCaughey says
That scared the life out of me and I had to go hug the dog when I read it. Our lab pulled on it’s lead bigtime when he was younger but it took us a couple of years to switch to a harness (out of sheer ignorance, I didn’t know we could get a H harness). I dread to think that those years pulling on the lead may lead to LP. I hope to god not.
Thanks so much for sharing this (and being so thorough), even though I hope I never need the advice.
Thank you. I hope you never need it either.
Margarette Canape says
Our boxer had a complete blood and urine panel done and all was normal. The vet gave us Trifexis and days later our boxer lost his “voice”. The diagnosis is laryngeal paralysis. Who knows if it’s related, but highly suspect.
I haven’t heard of a connection between Trifexis and LP but I’ll look into it.
.my vet said my cavachon had allergies or maybe anxiety. The diagnosis is done with endoscopy by a surgeon.
I’ve had 2 yellow labs, and 2 black labs. The yellow labs, both had the breathing problems. They both even laid on their backs, which we called “the alligator” because his jaws would hang down, making him look like an alligator. We thought it was just cute, but now I’m gathering it could’ve been those flaps in their throat. And possibly, this is a condition more common in Yellow’s. Both my black labs pulled their leashes horribly, and never had issues. My 11 year old yellow has had a deep throat noise in his breathing since he was 5 or so. Its gotten worse now. Noticed a difference evenmore after a dental cleaning probably from traching. I use no collar and a u harness now. He is Very heat intolerant, after laying for long periods he has trouble swallowing, and choking easily and more frequently. I still take him for walks, which he is eager to go. But more frequent short walks, no long walks. And very early when weathers warm. I am not sure, at 11, if I’m willing to put him through tieback surgery. But I hoped to have him around till he’s at least 13 or older. I think the frequent walks help. Sedatary life, in my opinion,would make things worse for paralysis in the flaps, and arthritis, as well. Any suggestions or insights on the subject, I invite. As for now we just take it a day at a time. But my sleepless nights and anxiety are building.
You didn’t mention what the noise sounds like. If it’s a honking goose sound it’s probably LP but you should confirm it with a vet. I’ve heard of dogs older than 11 having the surgery successfully but again, you should decide with your vet. Shorter, more frequent walks are a good idea, especially in the summer. I haven’t heard the it’s more prevalent in yellow labs, but I don’t think their color is a factor.
We just learned of a simple way to keep the large dogs from pulling and putting pressure on their necks. With a standard collar and leash, connect the leash to the collar, bring it around their shoulder (either left or right) and under their belly. While this seems to look awkward, it immediately stops them from pulling against the leash and changes the pressure from the bottom of the neck to the top. But the real affect is the leash under their rib cage that keeps them from pulling. In addition to the Lab we just lost, we have a large terrier mix with DM who does great in a 2 wheel cart and a 9 yr old Aussie that is a rambunctious as you can imagine. This leash trick really helped with walking him. He is very docile now with no distress from the leash or collar. Learned this from a friend in Alaska as a way to manage the Husky Musher’s.
I am in Seattle too and suspect that my dog has LP that my vet hasn’t yet diagnosed. Do you have a recommendation for a good veterinary surgeon in the Seattle area who can perform the tie-back surgery?
I’m sorry to hear that. We used Dr. Mark Engen at Seattle Veterinary Specialists in Kirkland. He was excellent.Good luck!
I’m sorry your dog is having symptoms. I’m not a vet and can’t recommend what you should do. I do know of people who chose not to do the surgery because their dogs were too old. The surgery and recovery for an LP operation are rough on any dog – our dog had it when he was six and he still had a tough recovery.
My beautiful Black lab Tessa (15 yrs) passed away Christmas day 2016 from this horrific disease. Now my 12 yr old chocolate lab has the onset of the same disease.
I have done such much research on this disease.
I have found Botox injections into the Larynx in Dogs helps. The “v” cut into the Larynx then it’s coterized. Helps! I would do one of these before I would do the tie back surgery that has more complications. We have to be our fur babies voice to help them. I wish the choke collars of all types were removed from being sold… people use them for absolutely no real reason. I’m mostly speaking of the collars with the prongs that go into the skin and neck. That collar really upsets me.
So I have started using CoQ10 along with the prescribed meds my Vet has put Beau on. Along with this I keep an humidifier going at all times. Keep it at his bed side while he sleeps. Night time seems to be the worst for this disease. That’s when Tessa struggled the hardest, and being out in the cold air. I limited her time outside in the cold for this reason. But right now Beau seems stable until he gets excited. I bought a calming collar. It seems to help. They last only two weeks. Time to buy a new one. I feel with Tessa there was not much on the internet on this disease (very out dated info) my Vet is old school. A bunch of steroids, sedatives. She did not do well on that regime. Beau is on Truprofen, CoQ10, Benadryl and a daily multi vitamin. The Dr treating Beau is a different Vet from Tessa. Like I mentioned the Vet treating Tessa was old school. I just wonder if things would have been different for her if I took her to this Vet.
So currently I’m researching here in the Salt Lake City, Utah area for a Vet that does the Botox injections into the Larynx or the “V” cut into the Larynx. I do not want to put my boy, Beau thru the Tie Back surgery and/or the complications that follow.
If anyone knows of any Vets over in the western area’s that provide these procedures please email me at [email protected]
I need to get on it before he is too far gone with this horrific disease.
Thank you for reading.
I don’t know any but maybe someone else will. Or you could check with the state veterinary association.
What did your vet say the CoQ10 should help with? I am looking for options to steer clear of surgery until absolutely necessary and adding in a supplement is an easy thing to do. Did you notice any difference?
I hope your Tessa is still going strong and by your side!
Our TRAVELER had. LP… had the tie back surgery with an excellent surgeon… we followed al the rules of recovery. His quality of life was still GONE… he never really recovered. He had aspiration pneumonia, several times. Treated with anti-biotics as prescribed. After the 3rd time we knew he was ready to cross the bridge… it was totally devistating… watching him go downhill… I don’t know that I could put another fur-kid through it… hopefully, we will never have it again with another… to this day, we wonder if it was the right way to go…
I’m so sorry. Our dog had it when he was about 6 and had no problem until he got aspiration pneumonia when he was 10 or so. He lived to be 13. How old was he when he passed?
Susan Logan says
My yellow girl Chevy was just diagnosed with LP. She will be 14 on the 4th of July. The vet gave me sedatives to give her when her breathing starts getting bad. I’ve been keeping her inside when it gets over 70. So far so good. I haven’t had to give her any sedatives. I don’t know if I would go through with the surgery at this late stage of her life. So for now she is doing good and will make that decision when it’s time.
The information you shared was very informative and helpful.
Oh good, I’m glad it helped. I’ve heard from several people who said they chose not to put their old dog through surgery. I hope she continues to do well.
LYNETTE Sprague says
My 11 1/2 yo black lab was diagnosed last year and he was fine for a year after. Just that annoying hoarse panting. Until September when we went for a ride and he couldn’t relax. We stopped for lunch and i took him out of the car and he started to cough up white foam constantly. Got him home and he started struggling to breathe. Took him to the vet and they sedated and intubated him and got his temp down. Since i can’t afford the surgery, they told me to be prepared if they removed the tube and he couldn’t breathe on his own. He pulled thru. They gave him meds for home, prednisone and sedatives. He still has bouts more often then not. I don’t know how long i should let him suffer like that. Other than that he still plays like a puppy. Has no other health problems. They say you’ll know when it’s time. I hope i do
Ed Whitelock says
Hi, Lynette, my 12 year old black Lab …same thing a car ride on the first warm day and overexcitement and barking in the car
lead to a second emergency breathing episode….intubation iv line sedatives Lasix…..I suspected Lar par in summer of 2017…he collapsed on Folly beach the humidity/heat terrible but it was 6pm
and to make it worse he had a long rope leash dragging on sand..then he did not want to slwim…I did not know anything about this disease …he collapsed I carried him off and he recovered in my car with a bowl of ice water from cooler.Fast forward…no issues since but haking and coughing. until my second episode last week. so they took him off tube and he continued to struggle recommending euthanize…so I caved in in tears ,asked for a private room and the first shot put him to sleep so nicely I stopped the kill shot,saying lets see what he looks like upon awaking… he opened his eyes wagged his tail and drank a bowl of water…walked out staggering from the episode and sedatives….but here with me and trying to medically and environmentally manage.But in the last 24 hours
been regurgitating food. Trying to decide which way to go…tieback surgery or some other newer options…or stay with
low key lifestyle …he is 13 in march….but otherwise healthy…This is starting to wear him out though, Ed
We live in the Charleston area as well with our almost 13 yr old black lab, Dufur, the love of our life! He was diagnosed with LP in March and has been getting progressively louder breathing since. My question to you, are you familiar with any vets around here who specialize with LP? We just moved here in August and haven’t found one yet.
I cannot tell you how much I hope your baby is still with us and doing well (we lost our other lab, Tucker, in january and our hearts are still grieving).
Much love and health to you both!
Whomever you end up picking, be sure he/she is a board certified surgeon.
Hello Lynette. I hope you’re still on here & your baby is doing okay. I’m new on here & I’m learning so much. I’m so glad I found this site.
My 13 1/2yo Husky mix was diagnosed with unilateral LP several months ago. I can tell he’s getting worse with chronic rapid breathing & panting, though he hasn’t been in respiratory distress.
The reason I’m writing you is to make you (& others) aware of a very serious condition in dogs called “bloat”. It affects my baby, Jake, due to all the air he swallows from panting. It can be fatal if you don’t catch it in time, but it’s really easy to treat with Gas-X. My vet didn’t tell me about it, but like many on here, I do a lot of research. I’m wondering if bloat is what caused your baby to foam at the mouth. Here’s a great article about it, including dosage for Gas-X. I hope it helps you & others on here.
Kathy Friscia says
Reading all of these posts is just amazing..such wonderful and dedicated dog owners and parents you all are! ! ..my Bosco is suffering from LP, although my vet is the one who suspected the beginning of it about 2-3 yrs ago without being fully diagnosed. ..my Bosco is a beautiful 13.5 yr old Chocolate Lab. …he is truly the love of my life…I too believe that inadvertently I caused this LP to happen with incorrect use of a choke collar (novice dog owner 13 yrs ago )with a very strong and unruly rescue. ..we adopted Bosco at approx 10mts of age…he was terrible then..suffered separation anxiety etc…oh what we went through …but I would never believe that all these years later what a huge part of our family he has become…best friend to our 10yr old daughter and perpetual lap dog even though he can’t fit on your lap..he taught my daughter how to walk and has protected many a child from any safely issue. ..the best babysitter we have ever had…to see him suffering now is just terrible to watch…I also, after learning about this condition, did switch to a harness ..absolutely no collar or pulling of the neck…we are in the Northeast and it just recently got warmer…all of a suden, the occasional choke has now become a horrible honk sound and almost an asthmatic wheeze…I am doing all I can think of..limited exercise or exertion..only stairs once a day…cool environment, elevated bowls etc..he does seem to enjoy cold water more often and I always have that ready whenever he needs it…he is slowing a bit on eating..only things with flavor..I have had him on an excellent grain free raw meat diet with sweet pot and probiotic..truly believe that gave me the last 3 yrs of his life…now that I think the LP is worsening, I can’t imagine putting him through the surgery…I need to see the vet this week and see if any reasonable options exist for Bosco
. ..he is my family’s love…we all agrue who loves Bosco the most…he sleeps well at night on the bed with me…but climbing the stairs causes him to pant and then choke, honk and wheeze. …he does come out of it quickly but it is scary to watch…thank you all for listening and sharing your stories as well…God Bless and prayers to any of you going thru this..and please no choke collars…big mistake on my part. ..and I was told to get one…imagine that…live and learn I guess. .please say a prayer for my Bosco and mostly for me to know that a difficult decision may have to made soon…I prayer I am a good advocate and have a good voice for him…k.
Thank you for sharing your story. Bosco is lucky to have you looking out for him.
Linda Gadoury says
So glad I found your site. My 12 year old Golden boy, Sam, just diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis. Noticed his breathing becoming louder since last Fall, but never knew this was so serious. In the East we had 2 early very hot days this week. I have no air conditioning. I saw Sam struggle and was terrified.
Now bought air conditioner, fans, and air cleaner. Vet gave my prescription for Doxapin, which is thought to help and Prednisone for severe breathing only.
Has anyone else tried the Doxapin? I am afraid to start it, but compared to risks of surgery, I have to try it.
Sam lives to swim and chase chipmunks ( doesn’t catch them), but is breaking my heart to not let him do these things.
I am going to look for a harness, although he has large lipoma on his shoulder so not sure that will work for him.
The “v” procedure I read about here sounds hopeful rather that “tie back”.
I appreciate any support or advice you can give me.
Sounds like you’re doing everything you can. We never tried Doxapin and I’m not familiar with the v procedure. I’m glad Sam doing better!
Hi, my 11 year old Labrador with LP has been on Doxepin for about 4 months & I do notice an improvement. His dose is 50mg twice a day. Also had similar situation for a harness, large lipoma in his armpit. Found this harness – http://www.harnesslead.com – works great.
Our Cream lab, Penske, was diagnosed with LP around 3 months ago. I,too, feel our initial collars and our ignorance regarding the possibles LP later in life, were the cause of his paralysis. He is only 10.
We have decided to not have tie back surgery. Too many problems. Post op recovery sounds horrible for the dog and stressful for both owner and dog.
Our boy is on Doxipen also. IT HELPS. It will make ur dog tired but eases their stress. We give it to him in morning and evening. He gets an aspirin a day and a 1/4 mg of Rimadyl to help his joints. He gets pet vitamin and fish oil 350 mgs a day.
I know soon he will pass and take my heart with him. He is my boy. He has been among the angels in my life, snuggling with me during my illnesses and surgeries. I love him and we take care of him the best we can.
Ed Whitelock says
do the lar par surgery….you wont regret it
Hi our 11 yo lab was diagnosed but no honking sound constant panting though. We tried doxipen but after about 20 days she started acting strange; very lethargic and she started leaking urine when lying down. I thought about the surgery but I am not so sure it’s right for us. If she were younger possibly. I haven’t ruled it out completely yet. She has a vet appointment tomorrow we will discuss taking her to a vet who specializes in the condition. Good luck it’s never easy to make these choices when a pet becomes a beloved family member. ?
PETER Desmier says
Thank you for this informative a deeply personal experience. My 10 year old black lab has LP and although there is no “honking” he does have that asthmatic like breathing.
I have gone against the tieback because of the risk of pneumonia.
He is on prendisone for his summer allergies and I’ve switched to moist food as he’s been throwing up his kibble the last few days.
I am also feeding lSmaller amounts but more frequent rather than the two feedings a day.
He doesn’t come out with the other pups on our morning run in the woods but manages a slow walk to the park at night time when it’s cooler.
Thank you. I’m glad non-surgical treatments are working for your dog.
Doxepin and Gabepentin are working for my dog. Diagnosed at 13, immediately onto the drugs. We recently upped his Doxepin from 100 to 200 mg a day. He hasn’t had a distress episode full blown in about a year. No collar, no walks, I built a ramp for him to go outside. Still gets excited when anyone comes to the door, we just get him to lay down and he recovers within 1-2 minutes. Quality of life is good, tail wagging, playing around a bit. When the bad days start to outnumber the good we will make the tough call..14 years old next month. We have had him on Meloxicam since he was 11, to keep any inflammation and soreness of old age at bay so he is in no pain at all right now. Also – with all these meds he’s not a zombie, he is still himself.
Hi- so glad I found this page! I have a senior golden retriever, Larry, who is at least 13 years old (rescue) and was just diagnosed with LP. I would say he has had symptoms for at least 2-3 years, starting with hind limb weakness and now has been panting and hacking for about a year. Vet initially thought arthritis dt age but that never sat right with me. Anyway, he just started on gabapentin and was curious what your dog’s dose is and how you know its “working”? Overall Larry’s personality is the same, he’s never been in pain and loves to do walks and go swimming. I’ve limited it to early mornings and evenings when temps are high but these still bring him joy. He’s never had a distress episode that I’m aware of and also wondering if these episodes are drastically different than his everyday panting? Thanks so much for sharing!
Thank you so much. My dog’s surgery was over 10 years ago so I don’t remember what dose he was on. If it’s working he shouldn’t look as if he’s in pain, and since you said he didn’t look in pain he’s probably fine. The episodes are DEFINITELY different than everyday panting. They make a honking sounds that sounds like a goose. There’s a video in the post that shows what it sounds like.
I hope Larry continues to do well!
My boxer has been diagnosed with LP and an enlarged esphosgus, he is 10 1/2 years. It’s been a scary experience. We are hand feeding, once he eats we need to keep him elavated, we also had to raise his water dish. Both diseases came on at the same time, he also had aspiration pneumonia. We will do everything we can to keep him as long as we can as he is our 4 legged kid. It did not help that we had to put our Beagle down a month ago since she had cancer and that depressed him.
I’m so sorry. I don’t know where you live but it’s important to keep him cool and don’t let him get overheated. Are you considering surgery?
My beautiful 13 yr old yellow lab Zoe was just diagnosed with LP. She was put on a short course of steroids and was given acepromazine for her episodes. She seems to be doing well but watching her have an episode is truly frightening. For now I just give her all the love I have and keep her as cool and calm as I can. Every day that she has now is a blessing and I know she will let me know when it is time to let her go. For every dog owner who goes through this my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Thank you for sharing your experience with LP. I hope she continues to do well.
Deby Bailey says
Our 12 yr old yellow lab HannaRose has LP. My regular vet diagnosed her, did not think the surgery was the right treatment for her. Got a second opinion from a very trusted second vet, he agreed not a good idea to put her thru the surgery. He said this was a neuromuscular disease, that is why we see weakness in her hind legs. She also has hip dysplasia so that adds to the issues. She gets laser treatment for that 2-4 times a month. Feed her kibble and canned food mixed together, letting the kibble soak in water for at least 30 minutes before she eats. She only gets soft treats as well. She too has an elevated bowl. She had a bad episode last week which scared me so took her to the vet that afternoon. She was put on an antibiotic and a cough tab which has helped. My vet has also sent me home with prednisone for when needed. I’m dreading this 4th of July due to fireworks. Noises such as fireworks and thunder storms get her to breathing, panicking and panting so bad I know that is not good for her. I keep a supply of Acepromazine on hand and will be using it. My husband and I love her so much, but agree once this gets so bad her quality of life has diminished, we will do what’s right for her.
It looks like you’ve done a lot of research about this. I’m sorry your dog has LP but she’s in good hands with you guys. I don’t know if any pet stores sell cannabis oil for dogs are near you but I’ve found it works well on anxiety. You can get it online canna-pet.com.
Deby Bailey says
Actually I have some cannibus oil as we have a black lab that has separation anxiety. I’ve never tried it on Rosie, but I will!
I hope it helps!
Nikki Rash says
Our yellow lab was diagnosed with LP around age 11. He had been quite a hiker before he developed this awful condition, but it got to the point that he could barely walk to the corner because of his breathing difficulties. The tie back surgery bought us an additional two years with our sweet boy, and, luckily, he never developed aspiration pneumonia. Ultimately, it was the hind-end weakness that often accompanies LP that was his demise.
Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad the surgery helped your dog.
Herb Skovronek says
Hi all, I’m way on the other side of the US, in NJ. My 12 yr (maybe!) rescue brittany has just been diagnosed with LP, but I think it’s clear that it’s been around for a while.
Any non-invasive suggestions? I read that some have gone that way with meds. For today’s episode he was given ACE, which put him to sleep, but did calm his breathing. Half the problem is that he goes absolutely ballistic at the vet-any vet.
Any suggestions, any Vet recommendation here in the east?
I’m sorry I don’t know of any vets there. From what I’ve read, the most important thing is to strictly regulate his exercise and keep him as cool as possible in hot weather. And if you attached a leash to a collar, stop immediately and get a harness. Any pressure on his throat will make the problem worse. The post has a link to a yahoo LP group where you can more help.
I am in nj and also have a Brittany 11 years old with LP. North Star vets in robbinsville is the best for trauma and/or surgery. I have my Brittany on theophylline for his breathing and trazodne as needed for anxiety. I have kept him cool through summer and restricted activity. He gets it when his breathing becomes difficult he stops and catches his breath. I calm him by stroking his ears. His LP is progressing , more frequent episodes of catching his breath.
I have local vet emergency places nearby in case he needs to become stabilized quickly.
We are considering the surgery at North Star because my children insist on it since we love our Kobie !
This is so helpful to read and help us to consider what to do.
I’m glad it helped!
Jeffrey Heyde says
My Dakota was a 12 year old Brittany and had to be put down yesterday. He was such a good boy. Over the last month and a half his symptoms went into a tail spin. This last Saturday when we got home from a funeral, was his worst incident. His gums turned white and tongue was blue. I loaded him into the truck and drove him to the nearest emergency vet, who managed to get him stabilized. I was given a large dose of ACE in case he had another episode. We tried meds, but in the end, anything that go him excited put him into respiratory stress. Keeping him calm and cool allowed us to talk him down from the LP, but I didn’t have faith that I could leave him home alone and not have something get him excited and induce an attack and he not have any help. The sheer pain he and myself went through with these attacks, it was unbearable to think of that going on without me there to get him help, or him going out of this world gasping for air. He also was beginning to experience hind end problems that were beginning to become more frequent. He had lost 12lbs in the last year. He struggled with stairs on occasion and in the morning he would move to multiple locations trying to poop, all while looking at his butt, like something wasn’t right. I decided against the tie back for this reason. I felt there was other things going on here and so did my amazing vet. His last night, he had labored breathing all night. I know it was all night, because I didn’t sleep and every time he’d start to breathe hard, I’d lay down with him to calm him. His last morning, the kids tried to love on him, and that got him too excited and put him into an episode. When the dog has lived his whole life off of a chain, free to chase birds, squirrels and chipmunks, and used to crawl up into our beds and laps for attention, and go for walks and travel league baseball games with us, and now it seemed none of that was going to be possible without causing him distress and possibly a miserable death, I knew what I needed to do. He had one more episode, just as we were leaving to go to the vet, where he started panting. His back legs gave out and he pee’d on himself and collapsed. It was hard to believe a month and a half ago, he was fine. He’d get a little winded, but NOTHING like this. I got him calm and in the truck with the AC on (It was 37 here that morning). We got him calmed down and cool and off to our final vet appointment. I picked up my mom on the way and she said he looked tired and sad. We spoiled him his last day with us and my vet granted my wishes to have him put down in the back seat of my truck, where he was the most happy. I’m writing this because it’s fresh in my head, and I loved my dog so much and I want to help others going through the same thing. IF you feel this is becoming an issue, the ACE shot was my crutch in case of a bad incident that he couldn’t come out of. Dakota was on steroids and a ‘doggie xanax’ and antibiotic. I didn’t want my dog to continue life sedated, so I carried the syringe as my crutch in case it got horrible again. I almost lost him that past Saturday and the only thing that saved him, because it had gotten so bad, was they put him under and intubated him. When I got him I was 24, and I too, corrected him off his collar. 4-5 years ago I was introduced to a gentle leader and I had used that ever since. I’ll never go back to anything else. The gentle leader is more effective and I just wouldn’t chance hurting my dog. I miss my dog SOOOO MUCH and I hope that this information helps someone else who was in my situation.
Reading this brought tears to my eyes. My lab had the surgery 4 days ago. She has a little cough after drinking water which they say is to suspected.
Yes, it is. Ours did that too. Hope she recovers quickly.
John – My 12 year old lab had surgery early November and for nine weeks she was like a new dog, her whole quality of life was 100% improved. She never showed any sign of coughing but one night in January her breathing became rapid and she had signs of fever , we got to the vet but unfortunately only 15 hours later she succumbed. I really hope that you do not have any issues but please be ready at a moments notice to identify the seriousness and possibility of a sudden onset of pneumonia, even some time after surgery. Know exactly where the best 24hr support services are should they be needed. Hope you have many more happy years with your lab and that my experience may help someone.
I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story.
Barbara Crosby says
My Labrador Anabelle was diagnosed with paralyzed larnx a couple of years ago. Under advice I chose not to do tie back surgery because she has a tendency of gulping her food and the fear is she would aspirate. She is 11yrs old and her PL is taking a toll. She frequently vomits her water deter drinking, sometimes her food even though they are elevated. She chokes more frequency, and snores like crazy at night. About a year ago I noticed her hind end which she had been diagnosed with arthritis but now she was falling and she is experiencing lameness in her front leg. Today my vet informed me there is nothing more they can do. Plus she has had a UTI since February that antibiotics have not cleared up. My vet has never prescribed steroids I’ve used acupuncture for her back legs. She is on rymadry and gabapinten. I’m not ready to lose her. Is there any dr in Michigan that specialized in this?? Or should I just accept this is the end of our journey
I’m sorry your dog has LP. I don’t know any vets in MI but if you look at the post there’s a link to an LP Yahoo group. There are hundreds of people in it so there’s a good chance one of them will know a vet in MI. Good luck.
I found that cold laser therapy and a sacroiliac adjustment has helped my dog with the rear end weakness a lot. He can get up on his own most of the time unless he is on a tile floor, in which I will help him out. We also do acupuncture.
I stumbled upon this, and I’m just sitting here crying reading about all of your pup’s who have passed or are suffering from this disease. We just had to make the decision whether to let our Chocolate Lab, Cannon, go a couple of days ago because of this. We chose to help him pass. After the fact, I’m really beating myself up second guessing if we made the right choice, and I know that I’m just torturing myself reading the testimonies of others who chose surgery and it was successful. I know there’s nothing I can do now after the fact, but I just miss that guy so much and really hope that I truly made the best decision for him
We didn’t know anything about this condition, and didn’t realize our Cannon had it, but when the Dr at the emergency vet we took him to late the other night was describing symptoms, I feel like I should have caught on months ago. His breathing had become much heavier over the last several months, and it was common for him to begin panting without doing any physical activity. He snored a lot. He was about 12 years old (we picked him up from the shelter when he was about 1 and a half). He had arthritis in his hind quarters and had lost most of his muscle mass there over the last year or so, and was on daily medication. All of a sudden, we came inside after being out for about an hour, and he had been inside. He was clearly struggling to breathe and he was trying to vomit. We gave him a few minutes thinking he just ate something he shouldn’t and was working it up (he’s a lab, so known to eat all sorts of things that he shouldn’t!) He rapidly progressed to being lathargic, laying on the ground unable to move, struggling to breathe. We rushed him to an emergency vet where they diagnosed him. His heart was barely beating by the time we arrived. They stabilized him, but he was sedated and they were operating the larynx for him so that he could breathe. They talked to us about the surgery, and we asked questions about his prognosis with or without surgery, and they made neither sound good. Cannon already had aspiration pnemonia, so he would need to recover from that before possibility of surgery could be considered. The Dr told us that if we tried to stabilize him and remove him from ventilators and take him home, he wasn’t confident that the muscles would have much to any function on their own at this point, and he would likely meet the same terrifying and painful fate. With the surgery, the doctor thought our pup would have high chances of suffering from future aspiration pnemonia, and then that would likely take his life. Seeing him in the state I saw him in that night wanted me to spare my old guy from continued suffering from this. I really did feel we were making the right choice then, but even with two toddlers and a golden retriever at home, the house is too quiet and I miss him terribly. I feel guilty that I took his constant presence in our home for granted. I’m glad he’s at peace, but I do worry that I didn’t do all I could for him.
Thank you for sharing your story. Based on the circumstances you describe, my nonveterinary, nonprofessional opinion is you did the right thing. Our dog was almost 13, had significant muscle loss in his hind legs, and had aspiration pneumonia when we put him down. It is very difficult for a an old dog to fully recover from aspiration pneumonia. Ours had it 3 times during his last year, and after each episode he was weaker and more fragile. I think you made the right decision for your dog. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Thank you for posting. It helped to read your story. I made the decision to euthanize my lab on Saturday and like you- have been second guessing that. I don’t know why. I had such anxiety watching her on her bad days. I can only imagine how she felt. She was also diabetic and had lost much of her hind end in just a matter of a week. Two weeks ago she was walking and even trotting (slowly). Things seemed to have gone downhill in such a short amount of time with her LP – but looking back I know she starting slowing down two years ago. She hasn’t been fully able to enjoy life like she used to. She was such a huge part of my life! As another owner stated, ” It’s better to be a week early then 5 minutes too late.” It’s just so stinking hard and I miss her! Thanks again…
I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad I was able to provide some help in making an incredibly difficult decision.
My dog was just diagnosed yesterday with LP. He is 13y/o, has a thyroid condition, allergies, arthritis in spine, and hips. He is on thyroid meds, anti- inflammatory for hips/spine, and Benadryl for allergies. The Vet never mentioned raising food bowls, soft food, or prednisone. She only talked about surgery. How high should his bowls be? Should I switch to soft food? Will liquid Benadryl work? .
I’m sorry your dog was diagnosed with LP. I’ve heard of people giving Benadryl to their dogs for allergies but I’ve never used it myself. How high dog bowls should be depends on how big your dog is. The bowl should be high enough for him to eat without lowering his head more than a few inches. It is ok to feed him dry food as long as you soak it in water to keep him from inhaling crumbs.
I’m not a vet and can’t give medical advice, but I would get an opinion from another vet if your vet is only recommending surgery. Putting dogs that old under anesthesia for surgery with a tough recovery is a risk, so you have to balance the risk vs. how long he could live and what will be his quality of life.
Thank you so much for your quick response. I am not putting him through surgery. Soaking his food in water sounds horrible tasting. I think I will just switch to canned which would make it much easier to give him his meds. Or something soft and chewy and sneak the pills into something yummy or crush them.
Sounds good. Hope everything goes well.
I would like everyone that feels they gave their dog LP by using a choker or collar to know that my Yellow Lab Rufus has been walked with a harness since he was a pup. He is 11 this month and has been diagnosed with LP tomorrow he will have tie back surgery. He has been in great health until a few months ago when his bark got raspy on the inhale also his panting otherwise very active and swimming. I elected for surgery before he gets worse.
I’m one of those people – thank you for sharing that.
Dawna Lough says
How did his surgery go?
Rufus handled surgery great it’s tying to keep a very active Lab calm that has been ruff! So glad the Vet gave us sedatives. It’s been 6 weeks and I’m now taking him on short walks. I have always had raised bowls for my larger dogs they are more prone to bloat then other dogs. Had to hand feed him at first he is now eating out of bowl I soak his hard kibble in water then add some can food. I have 2 other dogs it’s been hard on them to.
Rufus had to have his other side tied back. 2 months after his first surgery his breathing was actually worse then before the surgery thought maybe the tie pulled thru his activity level was good but I couldn’t take the noisy panting. Had the exam and 2nd surgery 3-22. My surgeon said the first tie held but the opening was smaller then it was post-op surgery in August. It’s been ruff going thru it all over but worth it if he can breathe freely again. Super hard to keep a Lab quiet my surgeon orders 4 weeks restricted activity and he is allowed to walk around the house no steps so we are all sleeping in the living room.
We did that as well. You could try cannabis oil to keep him from being restless.
Sharon misch says
Raine,thank you for easing my guilt. Our dog pulled terribly on his collar /leash as a puppy. We have been managing his LP for a year now- and are trying to decide whether to do surgery. He is 11 1/2 years old.
Mickey and Freda says
We have a 13 yr old lab/shepherd mix and has Laryngeal Paralysis. She coughs and gags a lot- like an old person does. We have chose not to have the procedure. Too risky. About 2 years ago she had a 12 inch 4 pound mass took off her left side, thank GOD it was not cancerous. She had about 41 stitches. But it wasn’t long after that she started with the hacking, coughing, and tires easily. She is such a loving dog and part of our family. We have had her since she was 10 months old. We are just going to let her live out the rest of her life, BUT WE WON’T LET HER SUFFER, we can also tell her joints are stiffening up on her even though she takes the COSEQUIN daily. When it is time, we will make the decision to have her put down. I hate hearing of all the stories of all the fur babies out there living with this. Prayers for all the families out there dealing with this.
I’m so sorry. I’ve heard of other people who have dogs 13yo or more with LP and chose not to do the surgery because they don’t want a dog that old to go under anesthesia for major surgery. I would probably do the same thing. Just keep her from getting overheated and get some elevated bowls to make it easier to eat. s
OMG, Mickey & Freda. The same thing happened with my Husky mix. He’s 13 1/2 now & his problems with LP began right after major surgery a year ago to remove a massive intramuscular lipoma from his left side that had abscessed. I almost lost him. The surgery saved his life, but he’s been moaning frequently ever since & I can trace his unilateral LP symptoms back to then (though it was diagnosed about 6 months later). I’m wondering if anyone has found a link between anesthesia used for the length of time needed to perform a major surgery & LP. Though I haven’t found anything linking the two, I’m convinced that there’s a connection. Kinda like with Fluoroquinolone (Cipro, Levaquin) antibiotics & neuromuscular disorders. You don’t make the connection until you or your baby has an adverse reaction. . . Then it’s too late.
I’m still seeking ways to better manage my baby’s LP symptoms. Have you found something that works for your baby? It breaks my heart to hear him sighing due to rapid breathing. It can’t be comfortable. I’m considering buying some strong CW CBD Hemp oil or looking into the Botox injections (tho I don’t know where they would do it down here in Central Florida; I should call UF Animal Hospital, tho my funds are very limited). My vet is researching the Doxepin or a light sedative. My baby gets elevated liver enzymes whenever he’s on antibiotics, steroids or NSAIDS, so those aren’t an option- so my vet has him on Galliprant, which I was told doesn’t affect the liver. It’s hard to tell if it helps with LP-related inflammation.
Dawna Lough says
Thank you so much for creating this post. We used to live in Seattle and swam our now 11 year old labbie at Mercer and St. Edmunds many many times. We relocated to Los Angeles in 2013 and our poor girl has been having a tough time since then. The heat here has been really kicking her butt. She was diagnosed with Lar Par this summer and it has gotten very bad the last several weeks. We have elected to have the tie back surgery tomorrow. Anxious as to how it goes, but I would like to give her a better quality of life. Besides having slowly lost her vision, she is in pretty good shape. Abdominal US and chest x-rays are all clear, blood work all clear as well. I am sad that we have to make tough decisions for our fur babies, I wish they could just tell us how they feel at all times, but I am going to sleep tonight (or try to sleep at least with the stress), knowing I am making the right decision for my girl.
Sounds like you’ve researched this well. Good luck with the surgery. Be sure to follow post-op instructions and keep her calm.
Aileen Henner says
My Fred is 13 yr old yellow lab
Started the honking noise. At first I thought he had gotten kennel cough from going to dog park. Vet finally diagnosed lar par. Discussed options and of course I googled everything. Decided against surgery due to age and all the side effects
Raised bowls. Cut back on walks and outside adventures no collar. Spends his time lying in my bed and frequent trips to backyard. Last month or so frequent pee accidents at nite and honking at nite
Takes consequin melatonin and gabapentin daily
Kibbles mixed with wet food twice daily
Considering CBD oil
I don’t know your dog’s health history but in general, I agree that it’s better to avoid LP surgery for a 13 yo dogs. You’re doing everything I would do. If you haven’t already you should check with your vet about the peeing at night. Could be a UTI or something else. We use CBD oil to keep our dogs calm and it works well. If you still have questions you can check out the LP Yahoo Group – there’s a link to it in my post.
Our Lil Bit is a Cocker that we rescued almost 10 years ago. She had her tear glands removed by accident and, as a result, she has gotten 7 meds in her eyes twice a day for all these years. She also has Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia and has been on Atopica for 7 years. Now she has developed LP and we’re trying to decide what to do. We are lucky that we live in a University Community with a highly respected teaching hospital so, after consulting with her cardiologist and gp, we’re probably going to the vet school next. This information has been very helpful as we go forward.
I’m so glad it helps. Good luck!
Rene Cogar says
My beautiful yellow lab Max had LP. At first I didn’t know what he had. It was so scary. He would have episodes of struggling to breathe that would last days. We learned really quickly how to soothe him at home. Keeping him cool and calm was key to getting him out of an episode. He was 13 years when he passed away from LP. He lived with it for a year when it eventually took his life.
I miss him everyday.
I hadn’t heard of it either. Our daycare person told us about it when he started wheezing. I’m glad you figured it out and were able to address it without surgery.
My lab just turned 11 yrs old and was diagnosed with LP. Her breathing had become more labored / audible over the past 10 months and on my 3rd visit to the vet, she was sedated and diagnosed. He told me she needed surgery. Its been difficult finding well-rounded information and I was surprised when each hospital (one of their choosing & one of mine) said they’d perform consult & surgery same day – sight unseen, history unknown. I’ve done one of two consultations, and still don’t know what to do. Though the first consult went over the basics (I was and am still in shock over all of this), I hadn’t considered not going through with the surgery – basically because no one has provided any other viable alternative. I want Olive to have the best quality of life, for the rest of her life, but it’s hard to know what that will be. I’d love to have her not work so hard breathing, but also don’t want surgery to take the rest of what she has left. The prospect of no swimming, when that’s all she can do after elbow dysplasia and years of arthritis, is heartbreaking. So confused about how to make the right choice and knowing what that is.
I’m so sorry your dog has LP. Doing a consult and surgery the same day is not unusual if he’s already been diagnosed. Because surgery and recovery can be tough on older dogs and, like you said, surgery can take the rest of what she has left, some people choose to manage the symptoms by preventing their dogs from getting overheated and keeping them calm. There are also some medications that can help but I don’t recall what they are.
I’ve heard of people approving the surgery for labs as old as 13 or 14, and after recovery their dogs lived another year or two. But lots of people do choose to avoid surgery and manage the symptoms.
In the article I posted a link to a yahoo group for people who have dogs with LP. I joined it while trying to figure out what to do with our dog and it was incredibly helpful. If you ask for advice from anyone who chose to avoid surgery you should get tons of info that could help you make a decision.
I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. Just realize that managing the symptoms is a viable possibility. And if there’s a holistic vet near you it may be worth asking them about ways to manage the symptoms. Here’s a link to the The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) https://www.ahvma.org.
Deb, I also have a 13 year old golden. He was diagnosed with LP a year ago. He has an inactive thyroid for which he takes meds, a little arthritis for which he takes a joint supplement but is otherwise a happy go lucky healthy guy. Our vet has him on brethine twice a day (smaller dose at night) which has helped him. He has had more labored episodes when he is active in the last month so the vet has him on a daily dose of prednisone which has helped tremendously. We are starting to lower his dosage and ween him off of prednisone gradually next week or the week after when the weather breaks (in Maryland) as weather and humidity we have found has had a tremendous effect on his ability to breathe.
Our vet recommended 2 surgical specialists in the area and we will seek consultations in the next two weeks as well. Our primary vet said that our dog is not a prime candidate due to age and size (he’s not heavy but is a large breed dog), but that his otherwise healthy organs and liveliness make it a difficult decision so he wants us to have all of the information to make the decision.
We have also been soaking his food, not because the vet said but because our dog likes it! We saw oprah do it for her goldens on a tv special and tried it with ours years ago and he LOVED it. So might be worth a try!! I know it sounds gross, but my dog actually gets excited like it’s something special when we wet it with warm water for him.
It seems like we are in a similar decision making space and I’d be happy to talk more if that would be helpful. My email is [email protected]
My 13 year old in Dec. Just had the surgery last week. Her breathing is amazingly improved and her energy level is likewise. I have been hand feeding a combination of pulverized, soaked dry dog food mixed with wet (at the beginning mixed with ground up chicken). She is doing well with this. However, she is having problems with drinking and swallowing water without having a mucus wet cough. She always did drink fast. Any suggestions on how to slow her down? Any additives available like they put in liquids for humans with swallowing difficulties?
I’m glad the surgery helped! Our dog made the same noise when drinking water for several weeks after surgery. The vet said it was normal, but you can slow down her drinking by putting only small amounts of water in her bowl to slow her down. Try putting in about a 1/4 in of water in her dish. She will have to stop when she finishes this small amount of water. When she finishes it add a little more, and keep doing this until she’s done. Never leave more than 1/4 inch of water in her bowl.
I hope this helps!
My 12 year old Labrador had this surgery 2 weeks ago and is doing great. We always thought he was just an anxious dog as he would pant heavily in the car. At one of our vet visits two years ago, the vet comented on his labored breathing and suggested he may have LP. We avoided exercising in hot weather, and would do trazodone before car rides. A few weeks ago, he began having a episode of respiratory distress (breathing 50 times a minute, fast but deep breathes). I called the emergency vet and he recommended Rimidyl and Trazodone which helped. We got him scheduled that week for surgery and it’s gone super well. He seemed to be in some pain on the second day but 2 weeks out he is back to his normal self (he carried a full carton of eggs across the house yesterday and only broke one…. typical lab, stealing food). He just seems so much more comfortable and is sleeping thru the night again. We have elevated his food and are mixing it in with wet food and feedings seem to be going well. I was really nervous about the surgery but I am so glad I did it. If any of you are in Washington, I have a wonderful vet who did the procedure in Wenatchee (it actually ended up being quite a bit less than the WSU vet clinic quoted). I know how hard and distressing have a pet with this can be. Wishing the best for everyone on this forum.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m glad it worked out well for your dog.
Can you share who your vet was in the Washninton area?
Jenni Ferguson says
We live in Richland. Just was told about 2 weeks ago our 12 year old Lab possibly had LP. I suspected something months ago, but I’m a busy mom of two toddlers and NP student. Who is the vet in Wenatchee? Have you heard of anyone in TC? I already pay WSU a ton of money for post-grad school, I can’t bring myself to pay them more. We don’t have extra money anyway. I have had Doc since he was born. I ripped his bag off him and cut his cord with my fingernail. He is literally my baby. We just lost his mom in October 2018 and I don’t think my heart can handle another stressful event. The vet we went to was not his normal vet, I just hurried to the closest vet. They recommend surgery or if we don’t want surgery trying Doxepin. I did find research about Doxepin and I am for trying it if it keeps Doc calm.
Anyway, any suggestions on vets other than WSU would be helpful.
I don’t know of a vet in TC area. It’s important to have him examined by a board certified surgeon to confirm the vet’s diagnosis. Check to see if any are in your area. Dr. Mark Engen in Kirkland diagnosed our dog and operated on him. He was great but probably too far for you to go.
I don’t know how severe your dog’s LP is but many people do control it without the surgery. Check out the Yahoo LP group I link to in the post. You’ll find a ton of info there.
My 13and 1/2 year old Lab. Reagan has Lar Par and has been throwing up a white foamy muscus. Is this aspiration pneumonia? It seems to happen after he drinks water, and its been cold in the south the last few days.
I’m sorry I don’t know. You should have a vet check him out asap.
Hi Bill. Is Reagan ok? Did you find out what the cause of the white foam was? I don’t know if it’s related, but I suggest you read the following on bloat:
Can you give me the link to the Yahoo group, I can’t get there for some reason.
Our 6 yr. old Scottish Terrier was just diagnosed with LP.
The link is now https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LP/info. Looks like they changed it. Thanks for letting me know. I hope your dog will be ok.
Do you know of any specialist in the Los Angeles ca area
Based on reading from MSU and proposed theory that Laryngal paralysis is a primary presentation as part of a generalized neuropathy that includes worsening swallowing difficulties ( and subsequent increased risk of aspiration) as well as a polyneuropathy (affecting the hind legs leading to atrophy) it is likely that this dog died not as a complication of surgery but rather a progressive polyneuropathy leading to weakened esophageal musculature , increased frequency of aspiration and death.
John warren says
Hi are afghan hound was diagnosed with LP when he was 7 yrs old and was coughing a lot, so are local vet referred us to a vet in Taunton uk
When he was x rayed and found to have problems with his lungs and was put on serroids until he was better but this nearly killed him and was rush to are vets, after coming off the serroids he was put on antibiotics, he then had the tie back opp from the top europeian special
Surgeon where we nursed him for 6 weeks, after that time he had a lovely life running free with no big health problems but he had lost his big bark , he went on until this February but then started coughing again so we took him back to the vets and was given antibiotics which helped for a week but then he went down hill, so the vet advised us to put him through a cat scan which we did but it came back with nothing we dident know already which was arthritis in his joints and bad lungs and was given the strongest painkillers and injections, bye then he had stoped eating for 6 days and was being sick ,we knew he had given up so we talked to a friend who was a animal communicator to find out from him what he wanted to do, she phoned back next day and told us he said he wanted to be with his mom and thanked us for giving him a lovely life, the vet came and he passed away very peacefully at nearly 10yrs old, we are having him cremated and are heart broken.
I am desperate for help ! I have “Sisters” – 10 year old cavaliers. Bailey is experiencing difficult breathing. She wakes up – gasping for air – at times, falls over. I pick her up, rub her throat and then she goes back to normal. IT’s crazy . She was diagnosed recently with Mitral Value Disease, through an ultrasound. To date – I am 2k in and going trying to help her. I don’t think the heart disease will take her life, it appears whatever this other issue with her breathing will. Today, we noticed her “Sister” doing almost the same thing, but on a smaller scale. How do I convince the Vet’s to look into this and ‘WHY” are they not versed in this ? I hate to see Bailey gasping for air and the scared look on her face.
I’m sorry I don’t know. Have you tried taking them to another vet?
I’ve been reading about this sad disease as my (lab) dog has been raspy and having some struggles to breath when excited or exercising or usually out walking. It’s not awful, it calms down after a bit depending on how much energy she’s exerting. She’s still energetic and always ready to play. BTW, she’s almost 14! We adopted her a year ago and I knew what we were getting into with an old dog, I wouldn’t change anything but this scares me! We went to the vet yesterday and were told she has it but it’s not extreme and to just keep an eye on it. I was hopeful to get meds or something that would maybe help her be able to run and play like usual. The vet said to still do those things but take more breaks etc. I am still nervous that we’ll do too much and she’ll end up struggling to breath. I also worry that she’s in pain from it. Does anyone have a recommendation or had a similar scenario where their dog probably didn’t need surgery, how they handled it? I worry about her all the time, she’s my girl and I will do whatever I need to to help her. Should I get a second opinion or just see how it goes? It’s still cold here in NJ but I worry about the warmer weather and keeping her safe.
I’m sorry he’s having trouble. If you click on the link to the Yahoo LP group in the post you can ask people there. I found it extremely helpful when my dog had it. A second opinion can’t hurt, but if she’s almost 14 I’d consider whether or not you want her to have major surgery as it can be tough on a dog that old. You may be able to control it by taking play breaks and avoiding exercise on hot days.
I adopted my dog 5 years ago, she is 15 aprox. She was diagnosed a year ago, the vet that diagnosed said limited activity and did not recommend the surgery. Her legs are starting to fail, another vet from same clinic is talking about LP surgery, I do not believe is in the best interest of my baby at 15 to put her on that ordeal. I will help her go when it is time, it will be painful for me but I do not want to see her suffer.
I’m not a vet so this is just my opinion – I would also be hesitant to put a 15yo dog through LP surgery.
My Lar Pat pup was 2—allnof the sudden he was showing neurological issues and it was getting harder for him to breathe. Tongue was blue and he started having seizures
He had he surgery and now lives a mostly normal life. I do see other neurological issues going on—sometimes cannot remember how to climb stairs etc. his quality of life is good and I am so happy we had great vets and specialty hospital close by
My English Bull Terrier is only 15 weeks old and has been diagnosed with LP. Her breathing has been steadily worse since we have had her.
The vet says it is usually seen in older dogs and a puppy with LP is going to get neurological problems. It isn’t fair.
No it’s not. Is she going to have the surgery?
My black lab just turned 12 on May 5th. He’s been seen by the vet and we believe him to have had LP for about 2 years now. The cough started a while back, but we brushed it off as “fat dog cough” because he’s overweight. It’s progressively gotten worse. He’s been on antibiotics for about a week or so. Tonight he had his first bad episode. He couldn’t catch his breath, he was wheezing, and after Benadryl and laying on an air vent he finally calmed down. This happened after he ate his dinner, which we now put in an elevated bowl. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve witnessed. We’ve had a yellow lab that was put down due to cancer some years back. He was 14 and one day just wouldn’t get and refused to eat… this is different. Knowing when to take your best friend on their last car ride when they still give you the sweetest, most excited puppy face is heart-shattering. I pray i know when that last ride will be. But thanks to this article i do know what not to do if we have another pet. I was unaware that i was causing this every time i put him on a leash… knowing i probably caused this is a tough pill to swallow but that is something that will never be forgotten.
Please don’t beat yourself up. Most of us never heard of LP before our dogs got it. Veterinarians and dog trainers need to do a better job of explaining LP to dog owners and why they should use a harness. And trainers should stop teaching people to correct their dogs by yanking on its leash! There are other, more humane and less damaging to train a dog.
My yellow lab, Brewsky is 12 years old and was diagnosed with LP earlier this year. I too had never heard of the disease. After a couple of fainting spells, I was finally fed up with the lack of direction from my vet and took my baby to the University of Florida School of Veterinary Medicine where he was diagnosed. Brewsky’s surgery was on Wednesday, May 23rd. Though surgery is always hard, especially on a older dog, if you are able to afford it and your dog is healthy enough, it was worth it. Even if Brewsky only lives a few more months, it was worth it to see him finally be able to breathe with ease. We live in Florida and I knew there was no way he was going to make it through our very hot and humid summer. If you are considering the surgery, do your research. This forum is a godsend! What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of aftercare (primarily feeding). It now takes an extra 30 minutes to roll tiny meatballs safe for him to consume. If anyone has any advice on meatball rolling, I am all ears :). I will say I do not regret it, but I am very fearful of aspiration pneumonia. My dog is doing some dry hacking/coughing which is apparently normal, but I want to know what is considered too much coughing if anyone has any experience? We did have a scare the other day where I am pretty sure some food went down the wrong pipe. I have been monitoring him and taking daily temp readings just to try to catch anything that might arise. Going through surgery is a huge commitment and patience is required. Finally, Brewsky has been diagnosed with severe anxiety which we think is attributed to this disease. He is on anti-anxiety medication but, he started to self mutilate his back foot. Though our road to recovery is far from over, I still do believe that I made the right choice. I hope this helps anyone who is on the fence.
I’m so glad he’s doing better. I don’t know what too much coughing is but my dog did it a lot after surgery, especially after eating and drinking, and the vet said it was normal.
I just lost my sweet, beautiful Golden this morning to this awful condition. I had never even heard of it until I had rushed Maddy to the emergency vet this morning. If only I had known about it and the symptoms…..she never coughed but she did do the panting.
I’m so sorry for your loss. My thought are with you and your family.
We have a 2 1/2 year old GSP that was recently diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis on left side. We are located in North Dakota and we’re willing to travel anywhere in U.S. to get him help. His greatest joy in life is hunting, so the thought of him not being able to do that is unbearable. We’re working with our local vet to find a specialist at university level that will consult or see him. We’re also looking for anyone who has experienced this with a young dog to seek out advice or referrals. Thank you.
I’m so sorry your dog has LP. Ours was fairly young too – 6yo. We had a great experience with our surgeon. Here’s a link to him https://bluepearlvet.com/kirkland-wa/our-team/mark-engen-dvm-dacvs/.
Washington State University has an excellent vet school. I don’t know if they do LP surgeries but I know they’ve done other kinds of complicated surgeries so check with the school. It’s on the WA/ID border so it’s much closer than Seattle.
Be sure whomever you pick is a board certified surgeon that has done several of these surgeries.
We live in nw Montana and are going to Spokane, WA. I can provide info of the facility if you want.
Yes, please share it here!
The facility in Spokane is Veterinary Surgical Specialists.
Veterinary Surgical Specialists: vssspokane.com
Erin Blackwell says
My 12 year old black lab had surgery on July 5th to correct his Lar-Par. We too had heard of the doctor in Philly but there is not a whole lot of info on his procedure and we didn’t want our boy to just be a statistic. We went with the traditional way and so far so good. He has been drinking small amounts and eating lightly. We put chicken broth on his food to make it moist. I hope he does not lose his bark!
Glad to hear he’s doing well. Good luck!
We have our 10 yr old yellow lab, Gracie, scheduled for tie-back surgery next week. The information you shared was great. Amazing how many people have responded and know about LP. Other than our recent diagnosis, it is new to us. We live in the country so our dogs have a lot of area to roam. Collars have only been used on vet visits or socialization outings. We live in nw Montana and are going to Spokane, WA for the surgery.
Glad it helped! Seems like most people (including me) knew nothing about LP until their dogs got it. Hope the surgery goes well.
Our yellow lab had tie-back surgery last Thursday. We are so glad we did this. She is breathing so much better. We went to the facility in Spokane – they are great. So far, I would recommend surgery for LP.
Great news! I hope she continues to do well.
Jennifer Partelow says
Our dog Jake (Black Lab) had the tie back surgery this past June (just in time to avoid a very long, hot summer). He is 12 years old. The surgery went very well and he is breathing normally again and even goes swimming. He does not seem to want to go hiking like he used to, but I think that is more to do with the summer heat – this year was especially bad in NY or maybe just a normal change in getting older. He still plays fetch and loves to go swimming and go for car rides. The side effects of the surgery is that he coughs when he wakes up and when he drinks water or eats too fast. We have also noticed a slight increase in the reverse hiccups, but other than that he is doing really well and we are so happy we did the surgery. I am really not sure he would have survived the summer. Newtown Veterinary Hospital in Connecticut (Dr. Weissman) did the surgery – we highly recommend.
I’m so happy it worked out for Jake. Our dog had the same side effects. Vet said they were normal.
Our 12 year old chocolate lab is scheduled for LP surgery next week. I’m super nervous but I know I’m doing the right thing. I’m just worried about feeling him safely after his surgery. Any suggestions?
I’d be happy to help – first, can you tell me what your vet said to do? I don’t want to repeat things he already told you.
Jennifer Lovett says
I have an almost 13 year old Flat-Coated retriever who has had Lar Par for about a year. It was easily managed until this summer when we had intense heat and humidity for several months on end. We stopped walks and did a lot of swimming in our pond which helped dramatically. Until recently, Shelby would simply pant a lot but had energy and only one episode where we needed to quickly cool her off in the water—she recovered in about 10 minutes. About a month ago though we were away on vacation for two weeks and when we returned she got really excited and stressed. The next day, muggy as usual, she jumped up into our car to go on an expedition and rapidly became overwhelmed with difficulty breathing. Within minutes we were on the way to the vet instead of the errands. She was struggling for air, foaming at the mouth, and both vomited and pooped in the car. She could not settle down even with her head out of the window in the air. The vet sedated her and gave her steroids through an IV. A few hours later she came home and we dosed her with Acepromazine which she seems to be really sensitive to. It makes her lose control of her bladder and she really becomes a zombie—even on a small .25 dosage. So that is used for emergencies only. We progressed to doxepin, which I realize is somewhat experimental. Our vet agreed to let us try it since Shelby is in relatively good shape otherwise. Until this fall she was quit active. She does have hypo thyroid and takes a low dose med for that as well as dasuquin and carprofen for some arthritis. We’ve now been using the doxepin for almost a month and the effect is not overly evident. What tends to determine her breathing issues is the weather and humidity. If we have a dry cold day, of which there have been only a few, she is energetic and happy and her breathing is somewhat better. Humidity, even a rainy day, makes her pant unless she is lying down. Interestingly, Shelby does not pant at all at night when she is sleeping. This seems to differ from other comments above. So, we are doing doxepin twice daily, only short walk in the woods at her pace ( off leash when the weather permits), a raised food bowl ( she’s always had one), and she has plastic cool mats/ beds to lie on which seem to help a lot. She does fit the description of GOLLP, with noticeable and increasing weakness in her back legs. Our vet has not recommended surgery and we are inclined against it. Shelby was a rescue and has extreme separation anxiety at times. She is very fearful of noises like thunder and gunshots ( a problem now as we live in VT and it is hunting season). I just do not want to put her through the trauma of surgery. So…. we are hoping for a cold winter and are taking it one day at a time. This post is really helpful and I am shocked to hear how similar other experiences are to ours. I, too, had never heard of LP before. I am wondering now if, even on doxepin, an occasional benadryl might help in stressful episodes or is that too much with the doxepin. I do not like the way the Acepromazine affects her. Any tips would be appreciated. Thank you. This is just an awful disease.
It is an awful disease and I’m so sorry your dog has it. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of research and taking all the necessary precautions. Our dog had surgery when he was very young (6 yo), but I doubt I would have put him through the stress of the surgery and recovery if he had been thirteen.
I have seen comments from people saying their 13+ year old dogs had the surgery with no problems, but I’ve seen just as many from people who managed their dog’s LP without surgery.
I’m not a vet so I can’t give advice on medication. You should talk to your vet about other options. If his/she doesn’t provide help or isn’t open to other options, try talking to a holistic vet.
I don’t know how CBD oil would work with your dog, but it has helped keep our dogs calm during stressful events, so you may want to try it when it’s hot and humid, but I recommend checking either with your vet or a holistic vet trying it or other medications you don’t currently use.
I hope this helps. Please let me know what you decide.
Hey, this is such a great group and I am very glad to have found you guys. I live in Bangalore, India.
My dog, Neo is 12 and was recently diagnosed with LP. He is about 42kg. He was diagnosed with LP on the 1st of October when we had to rush him to the hospital after an episode of very heavy breathing on a warm day. They had to insert a tube down his throat to help him breathe. We were allowed to take him home after a day.
Neo also has weak hind legs. The vet has put him on a course of prednisolone and nervijen(to improve the nerve situation). Unfortunately, LP is not commonly diagnosed and treated in India. We are unable to find an experienced surgeon. I am wondering if any of the vets you guys have used might consider the possibility of flying to India to help us? I don’t even know if this is a thing, but at the moment, we are extremely worried and trying to think out of the box. Should you know someone who might fly to India to perform the surgery on Neo, could you please let me know at [email protected]?
Thank you very much!
I’m so sorry about Neo. I don’t know of vets from here flying to other countries to perform surgeries like LP. Is there should a board of certified vet surgeons in India? If so you should see if anyone in it can do LP surgery.
Hmm. I had not thought of that possibility. Being two plus hours away from Seattle, my options may be somewhat limited. I can tell that the senior vet in the practice has had a lot of experience with LP, but I don’t think she performs that surgery. However, your thought does give me an additional, and important, avenue for discussion during our appointment on Thursday. Thank you for bringing it up. From the various posts, I can see that the care given during the recuperation from this surgery significantly affects the outcome; as does the aftercare.
Thank you both for your thoughts. I spoke with Spencer’s vet after he had a lengthy conversation with the surgeon about his treatment for LP. The surgeon is board certified and has extensive experience with performing “tie-backs”. My vet indicated that the surgeon does most of the practice’s more complex surgeries and that he has no hesitation putting Spence under this doctor’s care., if that is the route I choose. The surgeon cautioned that the surgery will not return Spence to pre-LP condition as his respiratory system will always be “compromised”. He won’t be able to do his 1/2 mile swims in the Strait, nor run through the woods for an hour, both of which he loves. The aftercare is, as this site’s posts indicate, significant as is the concern for AP. And the surgery will likely only bring Spencer’s condition back to it’s current status, coughing and huffing, because, scariest of all, he won’t do the surgery until his condition worsens and he has a respiratory failure incident, complete with bluing of his tongue. His feeling is, because no one can know how quickly or slowly this condition will progress, why put Spence through the rigors and pain of the operation if he actually dies of old age before a catastrophic respiratory failure takes place. I understand his point and grudgingly agree, though such an incident is what I want to avoid. But, his vet showed me how to give Spencer a shot, using saline, (much less harrowing than I thought it would be) and he sent me off with a syringe of Acepromazine, (which will relax him and releave him of the acute anxiety an attack will bring) and instructions to put the office on speed dial. He said he would meet us there, regardless of time so that he can administer appropriate meds and oxygen until the surgeon could arrive. In the meantime, he is going to make any arrangements necessary with the surgeon to clear the way for the surgery if/when it’s necessary. He will also keep the the surgeon updated as to Spence’s condition. So, I guess we’ve done all we can do, at this point. Oh, I did ask the vet to find out what I might be looking at for the surgeon’s fees. I realize that might not convey accurately across the country, but it could give an idea as to a potential cost, so I will share that information when I have it.
Thank you, again, for your input. Please wish us luck, as I do to all of you whose four-legged “kids” are suffering with this appalling condition.
I’ll provide more information when I have it.
That sounds reasonable. I hope it works!
The surgery was about $1600.00. Thank goodness for the Care Credit card. I understand their reasoning. Just do not know if I agree. There are pluses and minuses to both approaches. Boils down to whatever you think is best for your dog. Just part of our task as their companions. I even took a pet first aid class that included pet CPR. I knew what to do on people but not animals..
Best of luck to you. Just know there are lots of us around who have dealt with LP if you need a sounding board.
Laura Clemons says
I’ve been quoted $3500-$5500 in Houston and there are only 3 vets in the whole greater Houston area that even do the tie-back surgery.
Barbara- thank you so much for your information and your kind thoughts. I would be thrilled if that was the cost of the surgery. Not that it isn’t a significant amount, but my cousin spent $10,000 to repair her doxy’s broken back. She is retired, too, and couldn’t really afford that hit to her budget, either. But, it is part of the commitment we make when we bring critters into our homes and hearts. And, I guess that’s why we have credit cards.
I’ll let you know what my vet says. I’m not thrilled about having to wait, but, I think the surgery outcome will be better for Spence if I it happens 10 mins. from home as opposed to two plus hours, with another surgeon. I have a lot of trust in his vets and their comfort level in the surgeon. Waiting is much harder on me, but, given the uncertainty of the progression and it’s timing of LP, it may be better for Spence.
Good for you taking pet CPR! I didn’t know that was available.
I’m so glad he’s doing better. But whats the reason for white foam ?
Victoria Ormand says
Leo, thank you for your suggestions. I will research both ideas.
Currently, Spence is holding his own. He is breathing better since we were able to overcome the respiratory ailment that was not helping his Lar Par symptoms. And he is back to being my happy dog, again; which he certainly was not at Christmas time. I try to keep him cool and unstressed, which does help. Only thing I am not sure about is if it is detrimental if I take him on walks. He still has strong Setter hunting instincts and loves to race through the woods looking for quail. He no longer can race around for longer than 1/2 an hour or so, and always ends up exhausted and exhibiting that terrible gasping sound as he breaths. But, even then he so obviously loved the run. I’m just not sure if it does his condition more harm. As I am still so hoping that he dies of old age before Lar Par affects his life more than it does now, I don’t want to exacerbate the progress of it. I would appreciate any thoughts other folks might have on whether this kind of exercise might speed up the progression of the Lar Par symptoms.
Thanks, again Leo.
Hello again, just an fyi i am a clinically training nutritionist for humans
from my research for my own dogs recent diagnosis of left side larynx paralysis it seems exercise is ok but the gasping and panting after is the sign it was too much. With any nerve paralysis or weakness you just do not want to increase the need for its use.
Nutritionally I am fortifying my dogs diet with high quality fats and protein to build nerve integrity. I make my own dog food, raw varieties of meats, grass fed liver, poached cod and salmon. I drizzle organic coconut oil or fish oils on meals. I am telling my vet everything I am doing including the supplementation of probiotics, enzymes, greens type powders, adrenal stress support, and homeopathics. I have also used benedryl as per vets suggestion. I have also had hydrocodone for dogs used mainly to help him sleep. The nite time is the worst of the symptoms.
The nerve regeneration is possible with PEMF technology. The nerve fibers have to be nourished to be ready for the therapy. Something happened that these nerves got damaged or worn out from over stimulation. Some great info on nerve regeneration comes out of Dr.Terry Wahls protocol for reversing MS in humans. She got multiple scelrosis (MS) herself and created the protocol. MS is a myelin sheath -nerve coating degeneration condition.
Following up on blood labs with my dog we saw elevated liver enzymes particular to steroid hormones. Stress hormones run high in ParLAr. I immediately got a pet product for stress management. It has adoptogenic herbs, made by OMEGA ALPHA called healthy pet. The first day i gave it to my dog he was so much calmer and breathing improved immediately! Wow i was impressed! PS I am in Canada, so if you try and find that product just search the company website.
I have also read somewhere there is a minor surgery called a V’cut to open for some better airways in the larynx. The tieback surgery in Canada is like $5000 and has pnemonia risks, I have ruled that one out for me.
I also put a fan in several places where my dog rests to keep him cool. It really is a senior citizen dog phase to keep them quiet, not anxious and calm as much as possible to manage this condition until you can consider the PEMF therapy purchase-very reasonable under $500. And you can use it on yourself too. Pulsed magnetic waves are something so under rated for trauma recovery, lots of research is out there, just look at youtubes.
Best wishes, cherish every moment with your pets!
Thank you for all the info. I’m not familiar with these treatments but I’m glad they worked for your dog. Anyone who is interested in trying it should do their own research and consult with a vet before trying it.
Here’s a PubMed research paper on veterinary use of PEMF.
It’s very widely used in the UK.
Sonali Shah says
Thanks for this good information. I have a chocolate lab diagnosised w lp. What is the PEMF product you use/recommend? My vet is recommended the Assisi loop but it’s $280 every 50 days!
Jennifer Lovett says
My dog Shelby, a flat coated retriever, has had Lar Par for about a year. I have written about her situation on this thread before when we put her on doxepin. We are not sure how it is affecting her but she has stayed reasonably stable since starting it in the fall. She really reacts dramatically to temperatures and it has been cold since she went on the doxepin so we cant tell what, if anything it is doing. But it is an anti anxiety med and that in itself is probably helpful since Shelby has suffered from anxiety all her life. She is 13 and tends to get anxious and over heated quite easily. She had one horrible attack that resulted in an emergency trip to the vet last October and recently had a bout of aspiration pneumonia. Fortunately, the recent situation was not as severe and she responded to antibiotics quickly. We have decided, with our vets advice, not to do the surgery. What I want to report now is that we have just returned from our second acupuncture treatment and have seen dramatic change for the good in our dog’s overall demeanor. She pants less and seems happier since having this treatment. In fact, the change was noticeable the day after the first treatment. I encourage anyone with a dog suffering form this horrible disease to investigate acupuncture. So far, for us it appears to be a game changer. The true test will be in the summer when the weather heats up. But for now, Shelby is doing much better.
Thank you for the update. I’m glad she’s doing better.
Joanne Kjolsen says
Thank you for the update on the Doxepin use. I have read through dozens of posts here and yours seems to be the only one I can find referencing its use. I am also so happy to hear your dog responded positively to acupuncture.
I was in the middle of doing my own online research on acupuncture for dogs with Lar Par and believe this is what I am going to do for my 15 year old lab mix who was diagnosed with partial Lar Par in December. Luckily the weather has been cooler so she has not been too bad but the hot humidity of FL summer is going to be here soon so I know I need to do something and quick to help her get through it. The surgery is not an option for me, she is too old to go through that and from what I have read, the recovery is long, so I would rather try something else that if I started her on now, would help her get through this upcoming summer. I really dont know how much longer I have with her, but while she is here, I need her to be happy & comfortable. She seems to be losing her appetite and not so excited for her walks and her hind legs are definitely getting weaker so its possible she has GOLPP. But I am so encouraged by your comments even though you couldn’t categorically say the Doxepin helped, it may have prevented it from getting worse, but the acupuncture excites me greatly.
I will discuss Saturday with her homeopathic vet who we only recently found and I’m so glad we did as she was the one who noticed her labored breathing and diagnosed her with the partial Lar par & I didn’t even bring her in for that.
Thank you for the acupuncture tip. I was wondering how things have been going with the Doxepin during the summer? Do you recommend it? We are trying to explore non-surgical options for our 13-year old lab Charlie.
Karen Elliott says
Has anyone had a puppy with laryngeal paralysis? My Siberian Husky puppy Panda was diagnosed and had the surgery to correct it. I am scared to death going forward. I am hand feeding her now and I was just wondering if anybody out there had a puppy that was diagnosed. It was told to me that that was very rare.
That is odd. I haven’t heard of it. Anyone else?
I have a 12 year old English Springer Spaniel diagnosed with GOLPP August 2018. It appears to be progressing much more rapidly than the literature suggests. In skimming through your posts I don’t see GOLPP mentioned until November of last year but many posts are suggestive of this condition. Do you use Lar Par and GOLPP interchangeably. It is my understanding they are different. I dropped in thinking members may speak to both.
I didn’t use the terms interchangeable in my post about LP. I hadn’t heard of GOLPP until I read your comment today. I’m sorry your dog has it.
My 11 yr old yorkie has just had the diagnosis. A partial ‘larpar’ that just started 2 months ago. This week I took him to an animal hospital that specializes in alternative and conventional rehabilitation therapies. It’s in Canada at the Windsor/Detroit border area, Essex Animal Hospital. Dr.Huntingford is a chinese medicine trained vet who also does acupuncture and chiropractic, also used a PEMF mat-pulsed electro-magnetic frequency, on my dog. he got all 3 therapies at once. She told me the LP root cause stems from liver stagnation. A toxic liver and over stimulated immune response furthering neurology damage as perhaps a cumulative buildup in older dogs? My thoughts.
She advised me to do weekly acupuncture and chiropractic for a month or so then monthly. She also suggested I buy an ASSISI LOOP which is a portable PEMF device that you place on the pets body like a necklace. assisianimalthhealth.com. you need a vet prescription to get it- only $300 very affordable. Lots of research out there on PEMF for animal use and it’s widely used in the U.K.
I have a conventional vet I go to and its just surgery and narcotics there. The surgery is expensive and risky on small dogs. With this polyneuropathy its seems treatable with alternative therapies in my case, please do your own research or find an alternative vet clinic. The acupuncture has some very promising outcomes and is very cost effective from what I have read. My vet told me to keep the dog calm, do short walks, keep him cool so he doesn’t need to respirate/breath heavily as dogs do not have sweat glands so the mouth is the cooling system.
They gave me Chinese herbs for the dog’s liver and a food supplement. I make my own dog food, twice a month a batch, put it in little jars in the freezer, healthy fresh food is critical for liver support.
I also give my dog liquid adrenal, immune and liver support, I just let it soak in the food. It’s from a company in Canada called Omega Nutrition. As soon as I started these 3 I noticed my dog was calmer and more at peace not struggling to breath as much and sleeping a little better.
From my research larpar can happen at any age and for multiple reasons. The geriatric is more what they commonly refer to as ‘idiopathic’ meaning unknown origin. The Chinese medicine trained vet has an explanation as I mentioned, and it seems logical to me.
best wishes, lots of good info out there, people are sharing experiences and it helps us all, pay it forward..
Thank you for sharing the info.
correction, I said omega nutrition but it’s omega alpha, they make human, equine and pet products.
Sonali Shah says
Thanks for sharing this info. Did you try the assassi loop? My vet is recommending it but she says it’s $280 for only 50 days. So pricey and wanting to hear if you had success?
hello, i looked at the assissi loop and decided against it because its disposable. i bought the earthpulse but i would now recommend something else. I further researched what integrative vets use even as far as the U.K where more natural therapies are used on pets.
I have also been to 3 vets who do accupuncture which is part of the traditional chinese medicine route. one vet had my dog on a PEMF mat while doing accupuncture and it really calmed him and he allowed the needles no problem. but this vet was out of town. locally i tried another vet, no pemf the dog was aggressive and resisted, current vet uses elctro stimuli on needles and the dog sits well for that too. so the magic is in the electro magnetic addition it seems. he is energized after the session.
I would recommend you look at this brand, i have no affiliations, and am going to buy one of these myself soon. Its a mat and they have the right frequencies programmed, its what the first vet had.
i like that its pet specific made and in the U.S. I am in Canada.
With the earthpulse i dont really know the correct frequency, tried a few, the dog leaves sometimes and other days he will sit on it for hours. but I have noticed a long session for my dog is better to feel good after it, thats why i have to put it where he is napping. I ran it at 9.6hz for 8 hrs for 2 days on him and he was active on the 3rd day, otherwise generally napping. that unit gets shipped from India and they dont have good support, i bought it in earnest. i do believe it has helped though. so that is where the assissi loop to me is not enough time. I also did research reviews on people who used the loop, some have good success but maybe for the older dog it isn t enough? I dont know I can only speak to my situation.
the poly neuropathy is nerve damage so treatment would need to be long term not short i feel.
I also added coconut oil to the diet, good for nerve protection. i feed the dog raw meat, pucks from petsforlife, cook quinoa carrots and beans, add greens powders, fish oil, probiotics, ascorbate minerals, ionic mineral drops in the water too. all this to support nerve conductivity and protect the neurology in general. No commercial dog food.
the stress tonic i give him made a big difference in calming him, i syringe it in his mouth 3x a day. his breathing normalized on day 1.
you need to keep the dog calm or he will get hyper cortisoling and the vets want to do tests for cushings, but its a response to the breathing stress maybe? i noticed this quickly and added stress calming herbs along with 3mg melatonin 2x a day and 1 tbsp. lignan powder from flax to calm the cortisol reactions. i researched that data as well. search for natural remedies for larpar, holistic pet health and you will find many holistic vets resources, my fave is Dr.Karen Becker on mercola.com, she is a widely reputed integrative online vet with lots of youtubes! I also recently found a homeopathic item for larpar, CAUSTICUM do a search there, i bought it at the health store last week.
the biggest challenge is to keep the dog calm and cool, they dont sweat to cool off its respiration and the foot pads need to be cool, no walking on hot pavement. grass walking is good it helps the dog be grounded.
I live in the Midwest…my dog has the lp…I went to a vet school to have the surgery..my lab German shorthair had it..she just turned 13…vets here just miked me with experience .but didn’t really tell me what is was..all iam saying if this is a common probably…then there needs to be more vets that really wanting help with this instead of not tell you and run up vet bills… putting ur dog down…
I’m so torn on what to do our lab who’s 11 years old has LP, he’s been an incredibly active dog and die, hard swimmer, however the past 3 years arthritis has set in so his activity has dramatically reduced. The vet said either he lives with LP as long as he can or surgery. We’re struggling with what to do due to his age and honestly financially it would be super difficult to pay for surgery. I feel terrible what to do what to do?
I understand it’s a tough decision. Our lab was only 6 when he had the surgery. How is your dog’s quality of life? Can he still do all the activities he loves?
for the most part he’s fine, still wants to chase the soccer ball although I tell the kids not too much, as for swimming since it’s gotten much worse the past few months we haven’t allowed him in the lake I’m extremely nervous about trying that. He was already slowing down especially with the distance he can walk. He truly slowed down a little over a year ago compared to how he used to be however, the LP didn’t really appear to worsen until the past couple of months, but he hasn’t been impacted to much it’s just loud breathing that scares me.
Hopefully it won’t get to the point where he’ll need surgery.
Research the drug Doxepin. Worked for 3 years on my 13 year old retriever mix. So he was able to have a good old quality of life until 16. Never had another episode after we put him on the Doxepin.
I will look into the Doxepin we just do not have 5k for the LP surgery. we’re both teachers and don’t get paid over the summer and have a daughter leaving for college. It kills us but it’s just not something that’s possible even financing it is not an option our Lab is 11, he seems fine except his breathing and panting is certainly obvious but he doesn’t seem bothered by it.
I’m a teacher too! Hope your dog is still doing ok. If you want some suggestions for the financial side, these things have helped me: There are credit cards that specifically help with medical issues; fundraising online/in schools; Selling something; going to a Veterinary school for the surgery (sometimes they do it for free/discounted), etc. Of course for emergency cases, hospitals do have payment plans. For me it was a one-time expense, but with immediate results. He started breathing easy again and it was so worth it. I think that you would definitely find a decent vet to do it for less than $5,000? Depending on the place.
Accupuncture/alternate therapies weren’t an option where we live, but i’ve heard people have good results from that. Good luck to you and your dog.
thank you for the tips, unfortunately, we cannot afford to incur any more debt at all, super tight budget so credit cards are not an option. He seems to be living life the same as always, still swims just sounds terrible but doesn’t seem bothered. I have tried researching Vet schools as that’s our only option especially, with his age but yet to find one. As long as he’s still enjoying life we’re not going to risky the surgery our friend just had the surgery done on their lab whos the same age as ours and he got the pneumonia and died within a week. It bothers me more than it appears to bother our lab.
my yorkie is 11 as well, recent diagnosis same, no budget for surgery so i researched options.
you may see my previous posts.so far i been giving him PEMF treatment for over 2 months daily where ever he sits i put it under a a comforter or small pillow. i give him omega alpha healthy pet liquid in combp with the liver tonic. I also have been for accupuncture over 3 times for the LP, got some chinese herbs for low chi in the liver and lungs.
so far my dog is doing very well no struggle at all, just at nite some breathing is disturbed, i put the air cond. on with a fan it helps. when his tongue is red he is hot and needs cooling, therefore reduced stress on respiration.
Our 12-year-old yellow Lab had the surgery about 14 months ago at a clinic in Des Moines, Iowa. I am convinced he would have died by now without it. he had several horrible incidents where he made a hiccup-like sound trying to get his breath. You could see the panic in his eyes.
He has had one bout of aspiration pneumonia but we caught it quickly and he recovered well.
It was an expensive surgery but it saved our beloved family member. I remember the veterinary surgeon saying how it was his favorite procedure to perform since the dogs were immediately more comfortable and able to get on with their lives.
I’m so glad it turned out well.
Ugh. I think we got it, too. Our sweet Husky mix. We adopted her as an older dog. She’s only been a part of our family a few years. I’m feeling ripped off. I love her so much. We’ve already been through a knee surgery and benign mammary tumor surgery. Big, big sigh. Some heavy decisions coming our way. My feeling is that our dogs are not disposable. I have to give her every opportunity to live. She was so full of life just a few weeks ago. But this sucks. Hardest part of being pet owners. So damn hard. I love her so much. And I hope she wants to be with us longer. We will give her the opportunity to fight it, if that’s what she wants. Thank you for this blog.
I’m sorry. How old is she?
We don’t know. She’s probably more than 10. When I went to adopt two of our other dogs, I saw her at the shelter. I knew she was a great dog. I promised her I’d find her a home. For two years I tried to find her a home. 3 people all said they’d adopt her then they flaked. No fault of hers – just people being people. Then on my birthday about 3 years ago, my husband surprised me and adopted her (we already had 4 dogs). I regret the two years we missed. She’s such a sweet girl who deserved more of a great life than she’s had. Our friend rescued her from being euthanized in a city shelter. She had rocks in her stomach, most likely from not having anything else to eat – she’s never eaten rocks with us. That damaged her digestive system. So we’ve had to give her fiber to help things pass. My friend named her Diamond. And not only is she a diamond in the rough, she’s a rough diamond. Waiting for our vet to call and decide on a path to take.
Will somebody please tell me what the right thing to do is?
Has she been diagnosed by a vet?
My 15 year old Golden Retriever had LP surgery 5 weeks ago. He started suffocating and I gave him hydro therapy (took him to my shower and gently poured water on him till his breathing calmed down). Then I took him to the emergency vet in the night and they stablilized his breathing. But he stopped breathing 3 times in the night, so Surgery was scheduled first thing in the morning.
Just because your dog is old, please don’t hesitate for life-saving LP surgery. The risk is there for any dog. My dog recovered like a champ. At his age, we never would have considered surgery for anything less than a life-threatening issue, but we wanted to give him a fighting chance. The first week was a little hard (he had arthritis so lots of leg weakness). We carried him using a harness for his back legs (very easy wonderful thing) and restricted his walks to just peeing outside.
Within a week he was almost back to normal. The surgery only took a few hours and he stopped suffering. Yes, we soak his kibble now, and we make sure he doesn’t drink too fast. But that’s it. Aspirational pneumonia is something we will be on the lookout for, but he lives a very normal life for a 15 year old. (We stopped using a neck collar about year ago anyway. It usually hurts older dogs).
My only regret: he had bad breathing for a week before he suffocated. It was misdiagnosed as something else (which is common for dogs with this condition). So he suffered for a week longer than he had to and needed a few extra days to recover his throat after the surgery. But other than that he is great, so great. I know we are lucky and he is a fighter, but from my research: as long as the surgery goes well the dog usually recovers brilliantly. This is a condition that usually effects older dogs of big breeds. Hope this helps.
I’m glad the surgery worked for your dog!
Thank you, Saria, so much for this. Unless her preliminary tests show that surgery is too great of a risk – I believe we will do the surgery. We are in the Seattle area, so I will give Mark Engen’s office a call. One big hitch is that we are leaving in two weeks for a trip that’s been planned for a year. We have a great dog sitter, but it’s not the same as me being home. So I am hoping this can be managed until we return. I think it will stress her to have somebody else taking care of her after surgery.
Does anyone else have positive outcomes with Doxepin?
Julie Dirks says
I’m at the decision point, again…. Our previous yellow lab, Booney, had LP and we did not have the money for surgery at the time. He was otherwise a healthy dog so we kept him as comfortable as we could. At one point he collapsed and we ran him to the vet. They intubated him, gave him oxygen and he soon came running out, wagging his tail, like nothing had happened. Then 2 days later he suffocated to death in our arms on the kitchen floor in Jan 2005, at the age of 12. It was a horrible experience that I don’t ever want to repeat again! I think he knew it was time and he waited until all 3 kids went to bed, bless his heart. I have always regretted not doing the surgery and felt I let him down.
Fast forward 14 years… Now our chocolate lab, Murphy, also 12, has the same thing. He’s been hacking for a couple years but it’s never bothered him or prevented him from a lot of play, swimming and having a hearty appetite. The arthritis in his back legs has been more of what we’ve focused on treating this past year with swimming, laser treatments and supplements, which have really helped. Additionally for the LP, we raise his food/water, use a harness instead of a leash, limit his play time and now mix canned food with his kibble.
Recently though, he experienced some kind of neurological episode, or perhaps one of his seizures he’s been randomly prone to for the last 6-7 years, we’re not sure?? But all of a sudden (like the very day after swimming at Greenlake on a hot day), he has a droopy eye, his back legs give out a little more, he presses his head against us, and his LP is a LOT worse. I know he’s old but I also know he’s a trooper and would recover from surgery well. I can tell he wants to feel better and I can see the confusion in his eyes, wondering what the hell is going on.
Some people tell me I’m considering the surgery for me and not the dog. The way I see it, breathing is a pretty important thing. If it were something painful for him or cancer that effected his desire to live, that would be a different story. However, the idea of immediate improvement (like Booney after intubation) is something that is treatable. It’s a lot of money and I know I’m taking a chance that he could go down hill quickly with his other ailments. However, I don’t want him to die a confusing, slow and terrible death by suffocation (especially alone if no one was home!), which is something I CAN help him with and try to prevent.
I have a surgery consult scheduled with Dr. Johnson at the Animal Surgical Clinic in Shoreline in 2 weeks. They said they have done the surgery MANY times with great results. (Anyone have any experience with them?) If Murphy seems to worsen though before that, I’ll take him into the emergency clinic and perhaps do it sooner. However I will listen to what the doc says, ask questions, investigate other alternatives, etc. and consider his advice if it’s different than mine.
Thank you for sharing all your stories. Our pets are indeed family.
I’m sorry Murphy is having a tough time. If you need another vet we used Dr. Mark Engen in Kirkland and he was excellent. Be sure to follow the post care instructions. You’ll have to keep your dog inside either in a crate or a small area where he can’t walk much for 2-3 weeks and no walks or climbing for several weeks. He shouldn’t bark either – Our lab barked when someone knocked on the door so we put a sign outside telling people to call us instead of knocking.
Theresa Cullins says
With the back leg issues, was there times where the dog peed unintentionally? Our 13yr old dog with only 1 back leg is starting to have spells he pees in the house and has been out to potty? He has never had these issues before.
Our dog had poop episodes in the house but not pee. The vet said this often happens to older labs because their spine narrows, which causes some pressure on nerves. The result was they sometimes couldn’t feel that they had to go to the bathroom. But this diagnosis was over a decade ago so I may not remember it correctly. Mention it to your vet and see what he/she says.
We were devastated when our chocolate lab Gus was diagnosed with Lar Par. He had collapsed and gone to the Emergency in Olympia 3 times. They thought it was heatstroke. He just turned 12. Our vet told us there was nothing we could do, he didn’t recommend surgery. It was a horrible death and we may have to be prepared to euthanize. After much discussion, we decided on a second opinion because Gus was healthy in every other way. We decided to put the bill on our CareCredit ( payments with no interest) if the vet said it was good to operate. We took him into Dr Scott Gustafson-Olympia Veterinary Specialists in Olympia. When Dr Gustafson came in to talk to us-Gus decided he need to go to the bathroom. When he couldn’t get out fast enough, he hyperventilated and. collapsed. I have never seen people move so fast-a whole team arrived with oxygen and medication. They calmed him down and we gave permission for the operation. Dr Gustafson was very open about pros and cons of the operation. He also explained the concerns with Gus’ thyroid and his taking medication. ( he has been on thyroid meds for years) We picked up our boy the next day. They said he was the happiest dog they had ever seen. He cannot bark, is still on a raw bone meat diet, and there were no complications from the surgery. His arthritis makes it hard for him to do things but he still runs and plays. He have him on marijuana cookies and arthritis supplements. His best is tummy rubs-any time he can get them.
Gus turned 13 last week. Everyday with him is a gift. Dr Gustafson and his team are the best ever and we thank them for saving Gus’ life and for giving us more time with him. We would do it all again-no question.
Yay, Gus. Thanks for sharing his story.
My Saint Bernard had the surgery done 10 days ago. She was struggling to breath and the ride to the vet took me 4 hours (normally a 20 minute drive) because I had to stop the car every 5 minutes, take her out and lay her in the grass to calm her down. The process was extremely frustrating. After the surgery she has been breathing VERY well! She has been recovering nicely although I noticed an increase in cough and a lack of appetite 2 days ago so I took her back and vet gave me antibiotics to get ahead of any aspiration issues.
I have been feeding her meatballs made from turkey, beef, spinach, carrots, and brown rice and I also started to introduce her normal food soaked in water. My concern is feeding. How/when do I go back to regular food vs meatballs? I understand there is always going to be a risk of aspiration. My research shows inconsistent results. Some suggest that you can go back to normal food as long as it isn’t dry, some suggest forever meatballs. Perhaps it is case by case.
She is only 4 and I am hopeful that she can return to her normal life as much as possible. Is there any recommendations on feeding and the conversion process from meatballs to normal food?
I went back to feeding him his regular food in a bowl after about 4 weeks. Dry food is ok IF you moisten it thoroughly with water to make sure he doesn’t inhale any particles. He did cough when/after eating. The vet said it was normal and it went away on it’s own. Be sure to get elevated bowls for food and water as it reduces the chance of aspiration.
We waited three weeks and then went back to the raw bone meat diet. (Gus hated the soft stuff) Vet said it was ok. He gets chicken backs but we now cut the backs into pieces. He chews them He has always chewed his food and it has been almost a year now. He does not get chewy treats. We also put his food in a dish that has circles in it so he has to slow down to eat and the same with his water dish. Gus has never had dry food or store bought processed food. Not sure what you were feeding your pup before his operation. Our Gus turned 13 a month ago.
Thank you all for sharing your stories! My beloved girl (12.5 years old) just had her tie-back surgery last week. She is recovering nicely and I am so relieved by the way she can breathe more easily now. She’s back to her long walks in the morning (surgeon approved) with little to no panting … it is truly a miracle. She is not even 1 full week out and she seems to be 100% improved with her breathing.
We had our surgery done at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey — they are also the hospital conducting the clinical trial of Doxepin. My girl had moderate LP when I brought her in and I was surprised this option was not recommended — although they did not tell me the results of the trial so far (it is ongoing) my gut tells me (and my observation of the doctor as he talked about it) that it is not showing promising results.
RBVH is a specialty teaching hospital with excellent surgeons — and I knew that the best option was to have the surgery. All my dog likes to do is walk and smell things – she is a beagle lab mix – and for the rest of her life, as long as her body will let her, I want her to be able to do that. With LP she was not going to be able to enjoy her 3 miles a day and that was not acceptable to me with the option to operate and give her that quality of life. She never had a breathing crisis, thankfully, but I am also sure that I would probably not survive it either if we were out somewhere and I could not get her help.
So, tie-back it was. She went in to the hospital for 24 hours and when we picked her up she was silent. No panting at ALL. Probably also from the many drugs and sedation too, but it was obvious it was easier for her to breathe. Her hind end was very, very weak but the surgeon told me that it would self correct as the drugs got out of her system. It did. We still have a ways to go and we are working on figuring out our new normal (they will always have a different airway than normal, so there are adjustments to their eating (slow down!) and also restriction during extreme heat) but I am very pleased with my decision at the moment. My surgeon does not restrict their eating other than to slow down — he feels changes in diet can be more disruptive and in his experience (which is a lot) dogs figure out the eating part quickly and on their own. I am soaking her kibble because that makes logical sense to me …
A few things for those of you considering the surgery:
1) DEFINITELY choose a Board certified surgeon who has done this surgery hundreds of times (if not more). They learn as they go, by experience, how much to tie-back for each dog to minimize the possibility of AP from eating. An inexperienced surgeon is still trying to figure that out.
2) AP is a complication you will deal with for the rest of your dog’s life, but probably not from food consumption. Most of these dogs have GOLPP (do a Google search on this if it is a new term for you) and their esophagus gets affected too which leads to silent regurgitation — that is what more often causes the AP and managing it it a key point to post-surgical success. We are waiting to see if my dog’s reflux self-corrects, which it does sometimes post surgery, but if not, we will figure out how to minimize it for the rest of her life. Some dogs never get AP — that is important to remember too.
3) Old age is not a disease. If your dog is otherwise healthy (after a vet does a complete exam) and enjoying all things in life but is hindered by the breathing challenges I urge you to seriously consider surgery if you can financially (it is $4000 at at the hospital I chose, it might be less at a non-specialized hospital) Even if your dog lives only 6 months after, it will do so without breath issues and that, to me, is worth it. Yes there is the possibility of complication, but as with all things in life, nothing is ever 100% guaranteed. The results of this surgery are usually positive an overwhelming amount of the time.
4) Do what is best for them, not what is best for you. I knew that without this surgery my dog would not have good quality of life just being inside all the time and sedated to avoid a crisis. No matter how this turns out, I know I did the best thing for her. If she was a couch potato who didn’t like to do much else, I might have considered a different route. If her hind end was weak or if she had other complications I likely would have not done it. So consider all things and make the right choice for them, even if it is a hard choice for you (surgery, euthanasia, etc.) This is our biggest and most important job as their owners. To do what is right for them and forsake our own needs.
5) This is a progressive disease. Your dog will likely and eventually experience other issues (hind-end weakness, esophageal compromise, other neuropathy issues) BUT treat for today, not for what if or what might be. If your dog can’t breathe today, that is and should be your focus. The other things may come, but you will deal with them as they appear.
I was so scared when I figured out something was not right with my girl’s breathing. Looking back, it has been coming on for years. I was and am grateful for the stories others have shared online so I could be informed in my decision making. I am hopeful my story helps someone else make the right choice for their dog.
Great points, thank you. My only comment is that putting old dogs (12yo+) through surgery is extremely traumatic for them, as is the recovery period. For these reasons many people don’t do surgery and manage their dog’s symptoms instead.
Heidi Bishop says
Hi. For everyone with a senior dog feeling guilty about causing LP with collar use, please know that likely your dog more likely has a progressive neurological condition called GOLPP (Geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy) that most commonly occurs in older medium-to-large breed dogs. Nearly all senior dogs previously diagnosed with idiopathic (no known cause) LP have been determined to actually have GOLPP. It is often accompanied by weakness and muscle wasting, primarily in the hind extremities. There is no cure, however tie-back surgery can help with symptom management. As the author notes, surgery is not always the answer. Quality of life and the ability of your dog to tolerate surgery should be considered. Conservative measures such as reducing stimulation, reducing amount of activity and ensuring a cooler environment can decrease episodes of respiratory distress.
Thank you so much for your post.
Our Milly is a 12 year choc old lab, recently diagnosed with LP. We live in San Francisco, so it isn’t very warm. She pants occasionally, not much.
Her hind legs are weak, but it could be due to arthritis or the two torn ligaments she’s had.
Surgery is scheduled in 2 weeks (Board Cert Surgeon $4600). She is not very active now, mostly sleeps and takes short walks. But she is still VERY happy and loving.
I’m struggling if it’s worth putting her through the surgery.
I’m sorry your dog was diagnosed with LP. I’ve heard of lots of 12yo dogs that had no problems before or after surgery. I’m not a vet and can’t say if your dog should have surgery. Some people choose no surgery and just take measures to keep their dog cool and calm. Is her LP very advanced?
I just found this website conversation while searching on behalf of my 14+ year old Border Collie. Like all Border Collies, Lucy has been super athletic most of her life. In the past 6-8 months she developed signs of of LP, which were diagnosed by our vet 4-5 months ago. At the time, the vet felt she was in no immediate danger, but in the past 3 days she has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. She has serious issues breathing while standing, and as of today she isn’t eating. She has lost a lot of strength in her hind legs, which others have attributed to this condition. My vet passed that off as loss of muscle mass and/or arthritis.
As others have noted, Lucy breathes (almost) normally when calm, and lying down. It breaks my heart to see her like this, going from full of life and energy to struggling to stand up. I am now looking into the option of surgery. As she is over 14 years of age, I am concerned about her post-surgery life. Whom in the Seattle area is qualified and reasonable?
Best wishes to everyone and their dog. A pet IS a significant family member, and I dread the day of coming home to an empty house.
Hi – Dr. Mark Engan of Seattle Veterinary Associates did the surgery on our dog in 2014. I highly recommend him.
I recently got a German Shepard mix puppy. After only a week (8 weeks old) he started to struggle with eating and especially drinking water. He was having major issues with breathing. I took him to the Vet ER and they at first believed it to be kennel cough. A few days later he seemed to be feeling better but had another breathing issue attack where he was striving for breaths including buildup of saliva. I took him back to the ER and they had to intubate him because his breathing was so labored and his gums were turning blue. The vet gave options for surgery yet she stated at this young age it would only provide borrowed time. My puppy was in major pain and suffering as Lar Par leads to suffocation and major struggles with breathing. Very sad, yet quality of life needs to be taken into account =(
I’m so sorry. Are they sure it was LP? I haven’t heard of it in a puppy before.
Joslynne Davidson-Bailey says
Dr Scott Gustafson at Olympia Veterinary Specialists operated on out Gus. Board certified. Fabulous team. I would recommend you take your puppy to them. Our Gus was 12 and we were told by our regular vet that he maybe had a year. Dr G . Did an emergency operation when Gus collapsed during his second opinion appointment. 2 years later-Gus is doing
really well. Dr G was very up front and honest. I strongly suggest you take your puppy to Olympia Vet Specialists.
Glenda and Bill Cunningham says
Hi we rescued a little Maltese a year and a half ago and he has the disease, he starts coughing at times it’s like he can’t clear his throat and spits up water sometimes when he drinks, loves his walks but noticed right away he doesn’t do well in the heat , he woke up from nap today and had a coughing fit but this time he ended up falling and kinda flopping around got him up and got him settled, he layed pretty limp for a while, we think he’s close to not me and not sure if we would put him through the surgery, he’s pretty spunky loves to play, he goes for his squeaky Afew times then gets tired and just lays down in the middle of play, it’s really sad as he loves his brother a min pin and has a big fenced yard which I guess he never had, but today was very scary when he went limp, will call our vet tomorrow being Monday hoping we can just keep him comfy and and try to keep him calm lol not so easy, his little eyes look like he’s scared, probably not as bad us us, we are in Saskatchewan Canada the little guys name is Oddi
I’m so sorry. Does he make a honking sound?
Joslynne Davidson says
Are you sure it is LarPar? I have a chihuahua who has similar things happen but she has a collapsed trachea. Our vet gave her an X-ray because we thought LarPar. We have to watch Zoe’s weight and she has pills. She doesn’t run much anymore but she does go outside.
Gusterboy, our choc lab, had the LarPar operation 2 years ago. He is still pretty good but his back legs are collapsing due to a thyroid problem. Can barely walk in the house-but boy-can he still run.
Check with your vet about the collapsed trachea. If it is LarPar- I would recommend the vet who gave our Gusterboy the operation. The vet is the best.
Please let us know.
Could you be a little more elaborate on one of the symptoms “ Resistance to being touched”. Is there a specific reason why. Thanks!
My understanding is that it’s because the dog is stressed when it has trouble breathing and doesn’t want any more stimulation.
My almost 6 month old Lab puppy was diagnosed with Lar Par. They’re recommending that I wait until she is about 10 months to get the surgery. They said for now all I can do is keep her cool and calm (which seems impossible to do with a little one as summer approaches). Does anyone have any experience with puppies having this disorder? The vet said it’s extremely rare and this is the first time she’s seen it so young.
I’m so sorry. I’ve never heard of a puppy having it. Maybe a Kong filled with treats would keep her calm?
Danielle – I’m so glad to read this! My sweet Tinzy, chocolate lab, just turned 5 months and was just diagnosed. We’ve already been dealing with the cough for weeks. It breaks my heart. Waiting for referral to a surgeon.
Joslynne Davidson-Bailey says
We had to keep our Gus calm so he wouldn’t get stressed and breath hard and collapse. We kept him in the house-not outside except for bathroom. We kept him cool. We fed him hemp biscuits and gave him CBD drops as well. We bought special water and food bowls so he wouldn’t drink or eat too fast (good also after his operation). He was trained to sit and 30 min down upon command. ( he actually lies down for 30 minutes on command). We gave him large bones which kept him busy for hours. And we gave him lots of quiet attention. The vet offered us medication, but we declined. The operation was the best thing ever.
So glad it worked out for Gus.
Thank you so very much for this story about Dylan. You shared so much important information from beginning to end that is so very helpful for the rest of us going through this. My heart goes out to you because I know he is and will always be in your heart. Reggie, our 14 yr. old golden retriever, was just diagnosed, and we have a consultation with the surgeon today. Thank you for helping me prepare for this visit. RIP Dylan – you had a beautiful family who loved you so much.
Thank you for your kind words. I hope your visit with the surgeon is helpful.
Thanks so much for posting your story. My rottweiler has early signs of larpar and I was distraught, stories like this is making my outlook much more positive.
My 5 month old lab was just diagnosed. It has gotten progressively worse in the 5 weeks when her cough first started. It was treated as kennel cough despite being fully vaccinated. I work full time and I’m a single mom with two kids. Anyone have any advice for a diagnosis with such a young pup??
Helena Okekai says
You all have older dogs. My AKC Golden Retriever was born with three congenital defects but I was not home in Hawaii but in Georgia when I got this 8 wk old pup.
The breeder was going for Irish cream color. In Hawaii we get our dogs from Australia as both Hawaii and Australia are rabies free. Australia breeds working dogs for cattle and sheep stations. Here on the mainland they’re bred to be cute.
I work w military, police, search and rescue and recover. Now I train service dogs for my disabled military brothers and sisters. It took me ten days to teach the seven basic commands plus outdoor defecation and urination to Australian bred dogs. This white dog? Can’t even sit. He was constantly scratching w liquid poop. Skin was red. He never ran and played.
I kept taking him to vets who said he had “behavior” issues. By 6 months he could only walk 20 paces without falling down.
10 days at Auburn vet school and hospital they found three genetic problems: undescended testicle, atopic dermatitis, and epiglottal paralysis. I actually had a vet who wanted to euthanize him!
I kept him, no way he could be a working dog. But he’s overweight, and I have to keep my home at 56 degrees. On multiple meds: meloxicam (anti inflammatory), Atarax for itching PLUS a $275 cytopoint shot every 4 weeks. Plus electricity bills you wouldn’t believe. I run the AC in winter…plus 200-300 mg trazodone 2x/day. My life is 24/7 “Endeavour!“
Inbreeding for color is dumb. Goldens were perfect as golden. The man who bred Labradoodles said it was biggest mistake of his life. Out of litters of 8 pups, 6 will be euthanized! I’m not giving up on my now 4 yo dog. I called the AKC but they weren’t in charge of defects. In the meantime this breeder keeps using the same dam and sire.
BTW…no dog should bark…ever. 50 yrs training with Seal Team Belgian malinois, shepherds, retrievers the first training is “drop it”, no jumping, no barking. We use the Disney method of training…all positive, no treats. Americans are doing a lousy job of caring for dogs. 94% of puppies end up in a shelter as no one ever trains them. We need to walk normal dogs 2-4 miles/day. Treat your pups well. You can have both a trained dog and happy dog!
Daniel McLaughlin says
I just lost my 13 year old lab. He let out a terrible hacking cough then couldn’t breath.
He was suffocating in front of me. I had no choice but to try to load him in my truck and get to the vet but he became unconscious before I could even pick him up. I knew we would never make it to the vet so I held him until he passed. I don’t know if it would have helped but I seriously regret not having a can of oxygen on hand. I think if I has that can it could have gotten me to the vet. Whether they could have done anything I don’t know, but they would have done a lot more than I was able to do. The night before he was bringing me toys and playing like he has done his entire life. It happened so quick. For the small price of a can of oxygen, he may still be here with me.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
Helen Eschenbacher says
Oh Daniel! We had become owners of “special needs” kids. A 24/7 regimen of cold mist nebulizers, low A/C temps so our pups can breathe more easily.
It’s a tough job of constant surveillance!
As an MD, I found out that we owners became primary caregivers. Learned to do CPR on our pups. It’s hard work, but we did 1,000% more for these pets than do other owners. Not having a cylinder of O2 was NOT your mistake! Our homes are NOT ICUs ready for any crisis.
You gave your pup the best life possible w incredible loving care. You gave your lab the best care possible and your pup KNEW that you gave him all!
I’m an Emergency Room specialist and still am not 100% sure I’m ready for any emergency for my white inbred Golden Retriever. But Endeavour gives me so much love.
This COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of grief. So many ppl want to pet him and I have to make sure that folks w/o masks don’t touch him. Our dogs already have trouble breathing…Dogs CAN get COVID-19! My dog was born with 90% paralyzed epiglottal folds. Almost 5 yrs old now…just the two of us now at home.
Daniel, you did a GREAT job caring for your lab. Be Proud! Don’t feel guilty! You did so well!!
I have a 16+ y/o lab/mix. He was diagnosed with LP when he was 13. I would like to share some of our experiences because there are a few things that never seemed to come up when he was diagnosed.
1. Our vet didn’t tell us how quickly things can go from diagnosis to an emergency vet visit. I took him for a short walk about 3 days after his diagnosis when he started having severe difficulty breathing. We live near Michigan State University so I took him there and decided to have the surgery done because he was in excellent physical health otherwise. The initial cost estimate was
$2100. They told us about the risk for aspiration pneumonia (AP) but we thought that would be something we might have to deal with later on. We were wrong. He developed AP while at the hospital. This resulted in an extended stay making the final bill
2. Since his surgery, we have always fed him wet pate’ style food. We feed him one bite at a time from a plate so that he doesn’t gulp down his food.
3. This disease continues to progress (this is the important part that they don’t tell you much about). The nerve that causes the paralysis, runs all the way back and if the dog lives long enough, he/she will become increasingly weak and eventually lose the ability to walk/stand without difficulty or control its bowels & urine. We now have to use a diaper (which is not always effective). Our dog is very healthy for a 16 y/o but we are struggling with the idea of euthanizing him because he is constantly falling down, and we have been cleaning up urine & feces on a daily basis. If he was otherwise unhealthy or unhappy, this would be a no-brainer but if you could see the light in his eyes, you would understand the struggle.
I am not trying to discourage anyone from having this surgery done but you should be informed/aware of what your future may hold. God bless our furry babies!
Thanks for sharing your story. Our dog had the surgery when he was 6 but didn’t develop leg weakness until he was 12. He lost control of his bowels at about the same time.
Dr. Jean Dodds’ Pet Health Resource Blog
Wheezing? Raspy? Rattling noise? Panting more heavily than usual? Loud panting? Pitch or volume changes to your dog’s bark? Oftentimes, we attribute these stridor and other sounds to old age, allergies, or heat. It could be one of these conditions. The problem is we may become accustomed to the slow progression of changes that actually reflect laryngeal paralysis, which can become life-threatening.
Laryngeal paralysis is a neuropathy (nerve damage or pathology), which is the usually due to degeneration of the junction between the nerves and muscles. In this instance, the larynx (aka voice box) is affected. Not only does the larynx help with vocalization, but it also protects the trachea from food aspiration and assists with breathing. As the nerve-muscle connection deteriorates, the muscles are not receiving messages from the nerves to contract upon inhalation and relax during exhalation. The muscles become progressively paralyzed. Think of a paraplegic: damage occurs to the spinal cord nerves so the muscles cannot receive messages to move. Now, this is not to mislead you; trauma can cause laryngeal paralysis but other conditions can do so as well.
Laryngeal paralysis is either congenital (hereditary) or acquired. The hereditary form presents early in life, generally before two years of age. We know that certain Bouvier des Flandres dogs have an autosomal dominant trait that causes this condition. Increased incidence in Dalmatians, Siberian Huskies, Bull Terriers and Rottweilers has also been reported, but the inherited gene(s) responsible has not yet been identified. Typically, these companion dogs have loss of full body coordination (ataxia) and should not be used for breeding. It would be difficult for affected females to survive the stress of whelping, plus the risk of passing along the disorder to some of her offspring.
Acquired Laryngeal Paralysis
Any dog can develop the acquired form, but it mostly affects males of larger breeds such as Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters and St. Bernards.
Acquired laryngeal paralysis is typically a later-stage, secondary condition from a primary disease such as hypothyroidism, cancer, vagus nerve anomaly, hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease), or other immune-mediated diseases. Idiopathic (of unknown cause) laryngeal paralysis can be diagnosed as well, but that usually means that the veterinarian has not identified the primary condition or it has not yet shown up clinically.
The late stage signs of acquired laryngeal paralysis will usually be the subtle changes in breathing noted previously that could take months or more to develop. Pet caregivers should be attuned to other changes before dyspnea (labored breathing) or severe respiratory distress sets in – such as a dog gagging or choking during eating or drinking. Other early symptoms of laryngeal paralysis include diminishing endurance and exercise intolerance, which are also side effects of hypothyroidism.
While many veterinarians and researchers recognize that hypothyroidism is often present with laryngeal paralysis, they may believe that the correlation between the two is inconsistent. However, we know that the thyroid gland plays a part in nerve health, as it does for all metabolic and tissue pathways. So, “inconsistency” may mean two things:
1. If hypothyroidism is diagnosed at the same time as laryngeal paralysis, other medicinal or surgical interventions may be used concurrently with thyroid medication. So, we may not know how much the thyroid medication alone could be contributing to prevent or reverse further nerve damage.
2. Another scenario pertains if hypothyroidism is diagnosed but laryngeal paralysis is not, as studies have not been conducted about how much thyroid medication is protecting against or minimizing further deterioration of the nerves.
Diagnosing Laryngeal Paralysis
Even though the late stage signs are evident upon presentation, the early signs may suggest another condition such as megaesophagus. So, veterinarians need to figure out which condition it is because the treatment protocols and approaches are quite different. The available diagnostic tools include x-ray, bronchoscopy (endoscopy), laryngoscopy, and fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is a continuous moving x-ray using a fluoroscope that presents a movie of the air moving in and out of the lungs. The fluoroscopy technology is expensive and new so you may need to go to a veterinary school or specialist clinic to have it done.
Treating Laryngeal Paralysis
Medications are available to manage laryngeal paralysis. If the condition is severe, classified as idiopathic, or medications are ineffective, a surgical procedure called a “tieback” (arytenoid lateralization) is an option. However, postsurgical complications such as aspiration of fluids into the lungs could arise.
Other practical management techniques for all stages of laryngeal paralysis include:
- Using harnesses and avoiding collars
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding exercise in warm and humid conditions
W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Laryngeal Paralysis – Our Story
Laryngeal Paralysis, also known as lar par, is when a dog loses normal function of their larynx. The larynx is located in the back of the throat, and covers the opening to the trachea, which is your dog’s wind pipe. The larynx opens and closes to help protect the wind pipe while eating and drinking. When your dog has lar par, the larynx remains closed/partially closed when it shouldn’t due to the larynx muscles being weak/paralyzed, and it can make breathing, and sometimes eating and drinking difficult for your dog. There is also a disease known as geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy (GOLPP), which affects the larynx, esophagus, and hind limbs.
Causes of Lar Par
There are many causes of lar par. In Axel’s case, I believe it was caused by many years of trauma due to pulling excessively on a leash and collar when he was young. I beat myself up over many things that I know now, that I wish I knew then. I can’t change it now, but I can continue to learn more to help support my dogs and their ailments now, and as we move forward.
It can sometimes be hereditary, or a secondary disease due to other conditions. Lar par is often considered to be a condition that is “idiopathic”, which means of no known cause.
Voice change is one of the most noticeable and common symptoms of lar par. Sometimes you will notice coughing after eating or drinking, or randomly through the day (dry coughing). Noisy breathing (stridor) is also very common. Some characterize breathing changes as a “honking” noise. Some dogs will also start to show exercise intolerance.
Lar par can be a disease that progressively gets worse as time goes on, providing support and noticing symptoms is key in making your pet comfortable. Your vet will often diagnose laryngeal paralysis by lightly sedating your dog and checking out the larynx with a procedure called a laryngoscopy. A laryngoscopy is a procedure where your vet can visualize the larynx and see if the anatomy and see if there is normal function and motion.
In Axel’s case, his symptoms presented a long amount of time before he was diagnosed by our vet, which is common in a large majority of cases. He would breathe really loudly when he would be getting loved on, but he had done this for such a long time, we didn’t think much about it. He would sometimes be “noisy” when he would be napping, or just relaxing. A few years ago, I noticed a change in the tone of his bark, but once again chalked it up to aging. He will sometimes get “raspy” when he barks repeatedly for a long time (he loves to do this when he sees people outside the house), or when becoming overly excited.
Axel has always been a hot natured dog, but this is more noticeable for him now specifically when he sleeps around a lot of blankets, or cuddled up to the other dogs or myself closely. Due to the decreased oxygen lar par dogs are often easily overheated.
Like all ailments, there are a variety of different treatments and things that can be done. There is a surgical option called tie-back surgery, where they will use a suture to pull one side of the airway open. There are other surgical options, and a variety of other treatments that you and your vet can discuss together. You know your pet best, and there are so many factors that can play into what the best treatment may be for them.
I am a pet parent that likes to treat conservatively when I can. I am fortunate that Axel shows minimal symptoms, where I haven’t felt the need for an intense intervention. You will notice a theme throughout many of my blogs, but there are basic “building blocks” of things that I do for all of my dogs that I believe are vital and beneficial for all dogs, regardless of their ailments or lack of.
What I Do
Diet is one of the single most important things that you can do for all of your dogs, regardless of their ailments. I feed a raw food diet to all of my dogs. I thoroughly believe that providing my dogs with foods that are species appropriate, full of moisture, nutrients, and are unprocessed is the most important thing that I do. Raw feeding has a multitude of benefits for your pup. I use Dr. Harvey’s base mixes for all meals to make sure I am providing a nutritionally complete diet. Paradigm is the food I use most frequently, I love that it is low-carb and low glycemic.
For raw proteins, I love switching up the proteins that they eat. All proteins are made up of different vitamins, minerals, and goodness for your pup. There are lots of great resources out there on how to transition to a raw food diet, and how to best balance ratios of organ meat and muscle meat. I love ordering my proteins from Cherry Valley Holistics (her website is on the way), and Raw Feeding Miami to have a rotation of unique proteins. I especially love feeding Axel proteins that are rich in collagen, glucosamine, collagen, and cartilage to provide joint support for his IVDD, and support for his lar par. Bone broth, tendons, tracheas, and chicken and duck feet are my go to proteins for this.
Supplements are also an important part in supporting Axel’s lar par. I use Dr. Harvey’s Solaris to help maintain and strengthen his immune system. It is a supplement that has a morning powder, Sunrise, an evening powder, Sunset. I also use their CoQ10 for cardiovascular support and immune support, along with the punch of antioxidants it helps provide. I recently starting adding Adored Beasts Gut Soothe into his regimen. It is an awesome pre and probiotic, but it also contains ingredients that help soothe and provide anti-inflammatory properties for the mucosal lining. I use Suzie’s CBD treats and Suzie’s Goes Nuts peanut butter to help provide further anti-inflammatory properties, and help ease his anxiety. To note, I do not use every supplement each day. I like to rotate and switch it up, and I do not really have a schedule for when he receives each supplement.
Harnesses help take the pressure off of the larynx and throat area when bringing Axel out on walks. Knowing what I do now, I use harnesses for the whole crew, and will use them permanently moving forward. I personally love Ruffwears Front Range Dog Harness, it is easy to take on and off, and easy to adjust. I don’t walk Axel when it is extremely hot or humid, and always make sure that he has water available to him so he can remain cool.
Essential Oils are something I like to use for an additional layer of support. I only use AnimalEO that are created by a vet and are formulated for safe use around animals. There is a wealth of information on how to effectively and safely use their products. Open Air is one of my favorites to diffuse for respiratory support and it makes the house smell great. I have a variety of oils from them, I personally love diffusing oils and believe they also provide a great aromatherapy benefit for all of us!
Where Are We Today?
Axel has done really well through the years since it was realized he has laryngeal paralysis. He is extremely active, and spends a lot of time playing pretty hard with the crew, running around in the yard, and going out on adventures. He still has some noisy breathing, but not all of the time. There are some days that I notice it a lot more then others, but nothing that is overly overwhelming.
The key is monitoring what is and isn’t normal for your dog. I think the hardest part in managing for Axel is he is an anxious dog, and although his anxiety is very well managed, he sometimes still has moments where he is on edge. He will pant and pace, and it can take him some time to calm down and cool down when in those moments.
Axel loves people, especially when they come over. He is the dog that will hang out with a stranger all night if they give him love. People will often ask why he breathes so loud, since he is often noisy when being loved on.
I believe his diet more than anything has provided him total body support. When I moved the crew to raw feeding I never expected to see the change I did. If it wasn’t for his gray face, you would never know Axel was 12. He has great body tone and energy levels. He keeps up with our 3 year old crazy boxer Zeena, which speaks volumes!
It can be overwhelming when researching different health ailments. It can also be daunting to try and figure out what treatment plan is the best for your pup. Do not lose hope! There are many great resources out there, and I have added a couple of my favorites below.
Disclaimer: This blog post/social media content in no way is meant to diagnose or treat your animals health. Please consult your veterinarian for all medical conditions and health ailments of your pet. For full disclosure, after using their products and loving them I became an ambassador for Dr. Harvey’s and Suzie’s CBD products.