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Laryngeal Collapse in Dogs

By: Dr. Nicholas Trout

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If your dog has had surgery for stenotic nares, there will usually be fine stitches in the nostrils that will need to be monitored and removed within 10 to 14 days after the procedure. An Elizabethan collar should be used to prevent scratching or rubbing at this site.

Oral surgical procedures do not have any stitches that require removal. Your dog should stay quiet and rested, avoiding exercise and excitement for a few weeks until the surgical site(s) have fully healed. Most dogs will not have a problem eating and drinking after oral surgical procedures, although you should feed the food soft and definitely avoid chew toys or rawhide.

Some dogs may have received a temporary tracheostomy as either an emergency procedure or to allow treatment of the airway disorder. The temporary tracheostomy tube is removed prior to discharge, but there will be a small opening in the neck region that will slowly shrink down and seal over on its own. It will not be stitched closed as this site is contaminated and needs to heal from the inside out. The temporary tracheostomy site should be kept clean by using a cotton ball moistened in warm water and keeping fluid away from the airway opening. Air may continue to move through the opening until it heals.

There may be changes in your dog's bark after upper airway surgery and/or permanent tracheostomy.

Permanent tracheostomy will require daily attention to the surgical site. This may mean cleaning the opening with a cotton-tipped applicator to remove any crusty or dried secretions from blocking the opening. Your dog must never be allowed to swim with a permanent or temporary tracheostomy.

Your veterinarian will check the permanent tracheostomy site periodically to ensure that it shrink in size.

Chest X-rays may be taken periodically to ensure that there is no development of pneumonia.

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