What is Laryngeal Paralysis?

The larynx is controlled by the muscles of the larynx, which closes the trachea. The larynx will not function properly if the nerves are weak. In fact, the dog’s airway is protected by the larynx. Dogs can’t breathe properly if the larynx becomes paralyzed or weak. Sometimes the dog’s ability to eat or drink can be affected.

How can you tell if your dog is suffering from laryngeal paralysis

These are signs of laryngeal paralysis

  • Coughing
  • Heavy panting or very loud breathing
  • Trouble drinking and eating
  • A change in barking behavior or a reduction in barking
  • Breathing problems – your pet may become blue from respiratory distress.

This syndrome is most common in Labradors and Golden Retrievers.

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Laryngeal Paralysis Treatment in Dogs

Two permanent sutures are used in surgery to treat laryngeal paralysis. Moreover, they hold the open half of the larynx open so that air can flow more easily. This procedure is known as Unilateral Arytenoid Lateralization or laryngeal tieback surgery.

To place sutures, an incision must be made at the side of the dog’s neck.  In fact, Very high success rates are achieved with laryngeal tieback surgery. Also, there may be less common options available, which should be discussed with your vet.

There are some things you can do for your dog to feel better, even if surgery is not possible.

  • Avoid wearing collars around your neck. Avoid external pressure on your larynx by using a harness
  • Do not heat your dog and keep it in a cool, well-ventilated area
  • Limit activity
  • Reduce anxiety

Your veterinarian might intubate your dog if it is suffering from respiratory distress. In fact, this is done to ensure that sufficient oxygen is reaching the lungs. To lower your dog’s temperature, intravenous (IV), fluids may be necessary.


Are there any alternatives to surgery for laryngeal paralysis in dogs?

Yes, there are alternatives to surgery for laryngeal paralysis in dogs. These include medications, lifestyle changes, and various therapies. In fact, Medications that may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of laryngeal paralysis include corticosteroids, antihistamines, ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors), beta blockers, and bronchodilators. Also, Lifestyle adjustments such as limiting activity or walking slowly can help reduce symptoms.

Additionally, physical therapy and laser therapy may be beneficial treatment options for some cases. Moreover, your veterinarian will work with you to create a customized plan that is right for your dog’s specific needs. With proper management and care, most dogs with laryngeal paralysis can live long, happy lives.

Surgery for severe laryngeal paralysis is not an option. However, your vet may recommend treatment options such as sedatives and antibiotics to reduce the severity of the condition.

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There is a good chance that your dog will be free from paralysis. A dog’s quality-of-life is usually greatly improved by surgery. Aspiration pneumonia is the main concern. You can reduce your dog’s chance of developing aspiration pneumonia by following the advice of your vet and knowing what to look out for.

Dogs with neurological weaknesses that extend beyond the larynx can have a harder time predicting the future. However, these dogs do show improvement, the degree of improvement is not always consistent.


Doxepin to dogs with lar para

Doxepin is for dogs suffering from laryngeal paralysis. This section should be its own FAQ. If you have a dog with laryngeal paralysis, you will know that Doxepin can be promising, controversial, and confusing. Let’s talk about doxepin and lar par in dogs.


Can doxepin be used to treat lar par in dogs?

Doxepin, a tricyclic antidepressant drug, has antihistamine and antidepressant properties. It also has sedating properties. The use of doxepin in dogs with larpar has been considered “anecdotal” meaning that it is based on personal accounts and not research. I am able to provide personal accounts on doxepin that have helped my patients.

Interestingly, doxepin has been shown to be able to help between 50% and 75% of lar par dogs. Also, Doxepin’s effectiveness seems to be in black and white. It doesn’t work very well or it works well. Doxepin could be a useful tool to help dogs suffering from laryngeal paralysis.

Doxepin is not recommended for dogs who are in immediate crisis. Also, Doxepin is generally prescribed by veterinarians for dogs that are stable but symptomatic. This is just one tool that vets have to use in their arsenal when trying to help patients with lar par.

In fact, Doxepin seems to be the only medication that can improve symptoms of larpar in dogs. Similar mechanisms of action such as amitriptyline have not proved to be effective, if anything, they are less efficacious.

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What is the effect of doxepin on canine laryngeal paralysis and how does it work?

We don’t really know. We have a lot of theories and observations that lead to the long answer. Because doxepin isn’t sedative, other medications for dogs won’t be able to improve the dog’s breathing. We now know the mechanism of action. Doxepin is special. However, It may affect neuropathic pain or reduce spasms in the laryngeal muscles, as I have seen speculations.

Also, Doxepin is known to have anticholinergic properties, which means it can block the effects of chemical signals in the nervous system. It also has antihistamine, antidepressant and other effects. We don’t know how doxepin works with dogs with larpar.


I’m a long-time animal lover and owner of two dogs and three cats. I grew up on a farm where we had all sorts of animals, from cows and horses to pigs and chickens. My love for animals led me to pursue a career in writing about them. I have been a pet care writer for over 5 years and have extensive knowledge of animal care, health, and behavior.

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