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Laryngeal Collapse

By: Dr. Nicholas Trout

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Related Diseases

  • Stenotic nares and elongated soft palate can produce marked upper airway noise in brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds of dog, which predisposes these animals to laryngeal collapse. The problem is usually noted in young dogs, less than two years of age. Physical examination, usually under anesthesia will define the abnormalities and distinguish them from laryngeal collapse.

  • Laryngeal paralysis is not a collapse of the laryngeal cartilage but a failure of the cartilage to open and move outward from the midline. The cartilage itself is usually normal. It is a disorder of the nerves that supply some of the muscles that bring about cartilage opening during inspiration. The definitive diagnosis is made under a light plane of anesthesia. It can be a congenital problem in certain breeds (Bouvier des flandres, Siberian husky), it can be traumatic in origin, but most commonly it is of unknown origin (idiopathic). The dogs affected are very different from dogs with laryngeal collapse; most commonly they are geriatric dogs such as Labradors, golden retrievers and Irish setters.

  • Tracheal collapse tends to produce a chronic cough ,often a goose-honk cough, but can progress to increased airway noise. Examination of the upper airway would be normal, with diagnosis of collapse in the trachea being made by radiographs, fluoroscopy or tracheoscopy.

  • Nasal tumors can cause abnormal noise with breathing that is exacerbated by excitement or exercise, but again the dog's larynx would usually be normal on physical examination. Many dogs with nasal problems will have a nasal discharge that may be bloody or purulent. Diagnosis would be based upon radiographs and biopsy.

  • Laryngeal and tracheal tumors are uncommon but can produce airway noise similar to laryngeal collapse. Laryngoscopy or tracheoscopy is required to define a mass involving the larynx or the trachea.

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