This is a Neuromuscular condition.

Laryngeal Paralysis

What is Laryngeal Paralysis?

Laryngeal Paralysis (LP) is the inability to open the arytenoid cartilages of the larynx during inhalation. This results in a partial or complete airway obstruction due to impaired function of one or both recurrent laryngeal nerves. Additionally, RAPGEF6-affected Miniature Bull Terriers (MBT) have a change to the shape of a cartilage of the larynx.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

The resultant partial or complete airway obstruction and respiratory distress may be observed as voice impairment (dysphonia), increased breathing noises during inhalation, exercise intolerance, fainting (syncope), and blue gums (cyanosis). The degree of respiratory distress is correlated to the number of nerves affected and whether the nerve is completely paralyzed or only partially impaired.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Compared to GOLPP, dogs affected by the RAPGEF6 variant are significantly younger (under two years of age). However, in the early stages of the disease, owners may easily miss the abnormally increased breathing sounds.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Diagnosis is made based on history and physical examination of the function of the larynx, which is typically performed with sedation.

How is this condition treated?

Treatment is aimed at reducing episodes of respiratory distress and environmental modification. Some dogs may be candidates for the surgical opening of the larynx (often referred to as a “tie-back”), however, there is an increased risk of aspiration pneumonia after the procedure.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • Maintain your dog at an ideal body weight, and consider a harness instead of a collar.
  • Reduce exposure to strenuous exercise and humidity as severe upper airway obstruction can result in respiratory distress and collapse.
  • Seek veterinary care immediately if respiratory difficulties are observed.
  • Please give your dog any medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.
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