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Dr. Ann M.
Dr. Ann M., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  ER and general medicine Veterinarian since 2005
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I have a 12 year old chocolate Labrador that has heavy breathing,

Customer Question

Hi I have a 12 year old chocolate Labrador that has heavy breathing, when he stands or walks he does cough also when drinking or eating he can cough. After he has eaten he seems to pant more. When lying flat on tummy he seems to breathe easier
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 2 years ago.
Hi there and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed, internship-trained veterinarian with 9 years of experience in general medicine and emergency and critical care medicine and I would be happy to assist you.

Has he had a negative heartworm test recently? Any history of a heart murmur? Are his breathing sounds louder than usual even when he is breathing normally? Any weakness in his back legs at all (splaying out occasionally, slipping on back end)?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Many thanks for coming back to me, no he has not had a lung worm test, yes he is weaker on his back legs and they do sometimes slip from him. he is breathing louder even when resting.

In January 2014 he did have a disc removed from his neck as it was damaged.

Many thanks

Sue Turner

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 2 years ago.
Okay. You will definitely need to see a vet to have this diagnosed, but I suspect that your dog is experiencing something called laryngeal paralysis. It is where the nerves that control the larynx stop functioning as well, so the vocal folds do not open completely like they are supposed to when your dog tries to breathe. It can result in loud breathing sounds, coughing, and sometimes weakness. This is common in older labs, and it often affects the back legs due to problems with those nerves, too. I would see a veterinarian to discuss this possibility and decide what to do. It is possible, however, that your dog simply has a case of kennel cough, which can also cause these symptoms, and I cannot tell you which issue is the problem without doing a physical exam. I hope this helps steer you in the right direction.
I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly. If you still have questions, please reply. If you feel that I have provided anything less than excellent service, please reply to me first before rating my service and let me know how I can better assist you. Thank you for your question; it has been a pleasure being able to provide assistance. Best of luck.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Could you tell me what the treatment is for laryngeal paralysis.

Many thanks

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 2 years ago.
There's a surgery that opens the vocal folds, but can have complications of aspiration pneumonia. Often it is treated medically with steroids as needed to reduce inflammation and sedatives to keep the dog calm and allow for slow, even breathing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Could he continue on steroids and sedatives to try before an operation, and do you have any idea of costs.

Thanks

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 2 years ago.
I never recommend that surgery. But I would have no idea on costs over in the UK, as I am in the states.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Could you possibly explain why you would not recommend this surgery and what are the dangers beside pnemonia, as we have been told this may be our only option.

Thanks

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 2 years ago.
If it's so severe that surgery is your only option, go for it, but in my opinion, it is an expensive surgery, and they all end up with aspiration ammonia within a year after surgery and they end up dying from that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Thanks for your last reply, I don't feel our dog is to bad only when walking etc., could it be an option to try steroids and sedatives and how long could he stay on them.

Thanks

Sue

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 2 years ago.
The steroids are temporary, the sedatives can be used long-term as needed. And yes, this is the option I would start with.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good Morning

Many thanks for coming back to me. We have been quoted for the throat operation which would cost approx £6000, I am speaking to our vet today to discuss Badger going on steroids and sedatives. We don't feel we want to operate on Badger because of the risks and his age. Also his throat is not his only problem he also has a slightly bulging disc further down his back.

Regards

Sue

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 2 years ago.
Okay, thanks for the update. I'm glad that your vet agrees with me and that you are on the path to getting some relief for your dog.

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