Species: Dog Breed: Yellow "sweet" lab Age: 8-11 years
Hi Dr. I have an 11 year old lab that has had breathing problems for some time now. It sounds like what you've described in your explanation of laryngeal paralysis. She over the last 2 days has got worse. Her labored breathing used to only happen when she got excited. Now its getting bad. So bad that she salivates REALLY bad. Last night when I took her out to go the bathroom, she had a breathing attack and it seemedthrsr as though she had trouble going #2. This morning it was just as bad but more uncontrollable for her. Usually these attacks are due to her getting excited but, now they come out of no where. I'm WORRIED. What will eventually happen Dr.? Is she nearing the end now? Is she suffering when she has these attacks? I don't want to put her down... she's my best friend... please help me.. I hope you reply quickly ... Thank you Jack Terris
Dr. Marie replied:
I'm sorry to hear that your dog is having trouble breathing. While I can't say for certain if this is laryngeal paralysis, LP is definitely common in older labs.
There are a few possible outcomes for a dog with laryngeal paralysis. I have seen some cases where the breathing just became gradually more and more labored until the owner of the pet decided that it was time for euthanasia.
However, I have had other cases where the dog has been rushed into the hospital on an emergency basis because they simply could not breathe. These are very traumatic situations. The dogs are very uncomfortable when this happens. It seems to me that they are quite panicked because they are struggling to breathe and then the panicking makes things worse.
There are some things that can be done for laryngeal paralysis. There is a surgery that can open up the larynx. However, the surgery is expensive and comes with risks.
I will sometimes put dogs with laryngeal paralysis on a medication to open up their airways. It helps a little bit but not usually dramatically.
Your vet can help you make the decision as to when it is time for euthanasia. But, I think we need to prepare ourselves. If she is having more of these attacks frequently then it is not fair on her to keep letting her have them.
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.
Thank you Dr. Marie... I made an appointment for Jess for tomorrow morning. The "attacks" are more frequent now. Yes, I've prepared but how do I prepare to lose my best friend? Thank you for everything. Pray for my Jessie bear .. Jack
Dr. Marie replied:
I know this is hard...but you are doing the best thing for Jessie. Your vet will help you with making this decision if you have any doubts. My philosophy has always been that if one of my pets has a condition that is making them very uncomfortable and it is extremely unlikely that that condition is going to get better, then it is time to say goodbye.
I pray for peace for you.
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Dr. 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.
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