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Possible laryngeal Parlysis

Species: Dog
Breed: Labrador retreiver
Age: 11-15 years
Rex is having breathing difficulties for the last few days primarily while eating or taking a drink. He seems to be struggling to catch his breath and I have noticed that while having one of these episodes his mouth/tongue seems gray/blue in colour. My mother gave him some food/drink the other night and while eating this he lay down and passed out for a few moments and his breathing was very raspy while he was out. I wasn't at home when this happened but she called me and I could hear him down the phone. He came round again after a few mins and was fine. I was wondering if you could shed any light on what might be wrong with him. About 2 years ago, a growth was discovered on his prostate but I was told at the time that it was benign. I was wondering if this may have spread and be causing him problems now. I definitely think it has grown in size. At the time I was told to leave it alone as it wasn't bothering him.

It would be great if you could let me know your thoughts.

Many thanks


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh I am sorry to hear that Rex is having these problems.

Any time I see an older lab who is having breathing issues I wonder about a condition called laryngeal paralysis. This is a condition that happens when the parts of the larynx don't move properly when the dog breathes.

Some dogs with this condition can be fixed with surgery. But, unfortunately for many dogs it just continues to get worse and worse.

The way that we diagnose laryngeal paralysis is by administering a very light anesthetic and watching the larynx to see if both sides move properly.

There are other possibilities such as hear disease or certain types of cancer, but these are much less likely than laryngeal paralysis.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.