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.

  • Signs and symptoms

    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.

    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.

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  • Diagnosis

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

  • Treatment

    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 to do if your dog is at risk


    • 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.

  • Genetic Information

    Miniature Bull Terriers that have two copies of the variant have a 10- to 17-fold increased risk of developing LP compared to MBT with zero or one copy of the variant. However, not all dogs with two copies of this variant will go on to develop LP. This juvenile-onset form should not be confused with Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis Polyneuropathy (GOLPP) which occurs in middle-aged and older large and giant breed dogs and is supposed to be part of a generalized polyneuropathy.

    Laryngeal Paralysis is recessive, that is, a dog requires two copies of the variant to show signs of the disease from the variant.

    Gene names:

    RAPGEF6 ‐ chr

    Inheritance type:


  • Breeds affected

    This health condition affects the following breeds

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