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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32871
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My Black Labrador, age 12 years, makes a violent wretching

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My Black Labrador, age 12 years, makes a violent wretching sound. I've always thought it helps to lubricate his throat by getting him to drink and because he's a greedy labrador, a few pieces of meal floating in his water bowl appears to help. But this symptom seems to be happening more often.

Should I take him to the Vet for a check ?
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm familiar with that sound - particularly in large breed dogs such as your Lab. You're correct to incriminate his "throat" as we often find a laryngeal paralysis causing that sound. The paralysis can result in food or saliva "going down the wrong tube" and his violently trying to expel it. His vet will need to lightly sedate him and watch his arytenoid cartilages move while he breathes. The muscles controlling those cartilages may be unilaterally (most common) or bilaterally affected. If present, laryngeal paralysis is usually addressed surgically.

Alternatively, there are acquired achalasias - swallowing disorders - of a neurologic and idiopathic (unknown cause) etiology. These are a challenge to diagnose properly and require testing unavailable to the general practioner. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.