Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.

Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:36 pm

Ok, so here's an update about Brina's health issues... At the end of December she had 11 lumps, growths and skin tags removed from all over her body. The most suspicious lump turned out to be a carcinoma, but we visited an oncologist and she said the lump is nothing serious. I've been noticing Brina started having some difficulty breathing when she gets excited, and some hacking towards the end of a long walk, which ofcourse scared the crap out of me so we x-rayed her lungs to see if the cancer metastesized anywhere (she also had a MCT removed two years ago). Her lungs are luckily COMPLETELY CLEAN :D Her bloodwork came back ok, there are no swollen lymph nodes and her heart sounds ok. She is a healthy cancer free senior, so today we went ahead and did her dental surgery. She had to have three teeth extracted, but everything went well and two hours after the surgery she was already sitting in front of her food bowl, asking to be fed :)

Ok, so about the Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis... Because of Brina's occasional difficulty breathing I've asked the vets who did her dental surgery to take a look into her throat to see if there are any signs of anything that would cause her problems. 99% of the time she's perfectly normal, has no problems with breathing and she never had any problems with eating or swallowing. There's just that 1% of the time when she gets excited or after a long walk when she does have some difficulty breathing, but after I calm her down she goes back to normal in a minute. The vets did check her throat and said there could be some early signs of Laryngeal Paralysis which would require surgery if the condition worsens over time. I googled the crap out of it and found this site:

https://cvm.msu.edu/hospital/clinical-research/golpp-study-group/living-with-golpp

It's very common in Labs and a couple of other breeds, but pit bulls are not on the list of breeds commonly affected by this. I guess my dog always has to be special when it comes to health issues. Does anyone have any experience with this problem?

The most common risk with the surgery is the 18% chance of Aspiration pneumonia which is scary and very likely to happen when you have a dog who INHALES food. But other than that, it's not a difficult surgery. For now I've decided to wait and see.. If the condition worsens, we will go ahead with the surgery, but for now I would really like to avoid putting her through another surgery, today was her SIXTH one so far, ol'lady needs some time off from all these health issues and vet visits. :hug:
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Odnarb » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:22 pm

Just watch her close. This is what killed both my Harry and Carla's Danni. Be really careful with exercise.

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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:18 pm

I'm keeping Buddy's doppelgänger in my thoughts and hoping she continues to push through everything that gets thrown in her path.

Hugs to you and Brina!
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:23 pm

Odrarb I remember laryngeal collapse was Harry's cause of death, but didn't know about Danni. Good thing is Brina is too lazy to exercise, she's a very laid back dog, especially now when she's older. Long walks and learning new tricks is pretty much everything she does besides sleeping and eating. So far everything I've read suggests the surgery is not needed in mild cases, but if it worsens it should be done ASAP.

What kind of symptoms did Harry have?

Thanks Allison, there's always something with this dog.. Just when we think we're in the clear, something else pops up. Ugh... Frustrating.
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Leslie H » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:12 pm

My sister's wheaton, Lupi, had this surgery over a year ago. While he was over 13, he was very fit, hiking 5 miles, yet his breathing issues were strongly effected by warm temps, and it was obvious he might not survive the summer. His surgery was done at Tufts University. He did get pneumonia after the surgery, and it nearly killed him. He has recovered, but the whole process has really aged him. He can still hike a couple miles, but he's not the vigorous dog he was a year ago. Also, the laryngeal paralysis is a result of progressive nerve damage, if I understand it correctly, and the surgery doesn't stop its effects on other parts of the body. He now has some hind end weakness.
So for Lupi, the surgery has given him a year he probably wouldn't have had, but he certainly had some very difficult days. It was very hard emotionally on my sister, but she doesn't regret the surgery. Lupi continues to have fun, and do things he likes. It was very expensive, between the original surgery and follow up care, and some e-vet and intensive care I suspect it was well over $5,000, maybe way over that.
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:45 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience Leslie. Summer time is something that concerns me, I guess we'll see how well Brina will handle the heat this year. So far the breathing problems occur very rarely and are very mild compared to the videos of dogs I've seen who have an advanced case of LP.

The Aspiration pneumonia is scary, I've read it is fatal for over 20% of dogs after the surgery. What makes it even more scary is the fact that Brina is a dog who inhales every piece of food you give her and there's no way I can stop that, I've been trying for years.

The prices you have for vet care are crazy high. Brina had six surgeries so far, plus other health issues, plus yearly vaccinations and the total cost of everything together was around 3000€ (4000$), I just went through all of her vet bills recently. But then again the US has a much higher standard than our country, for our standard out vet prices are also very high.
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:02 pm

Oh and I have another question... What kind of a veterinary specialist would be best for this problem? A neurologist maybe?
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:01 am

I would think a surgeon Saska. We had a 13 year old setter at our clinic recently have this surgery and he is doing great.
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:39 am

Yeah ofcourse a soft tissue surgeon would be best for the surgery, I was thinking a neurologist because it's supposedly a neurological issue. We have a great vet who specialises in both fields, neurology and soft tissue surgery, he did Jaka's anal gland removal. If Brina's condition worsens I will probably go to him.
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:26 am

It seems like you guys have access to great vet care where you are! Lucky for miss Brina!
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:06 am

AllisonPibbleLvr wrote:It seems like you guys have access to great vet care where you are! Lucky for miss Brina!
Meh... You really have to be careful here, we have MANY vets, but only a few are really good. I rarely go to a regular vet, mostly just for minor stuff, I always choose to go to a veterinary specialist if I encounter a more complicated health issue. I'm glad I live in the capital city of my country, we have a veterinary college which is also a vet clinic full of veterinary specialists in many fields, most of Brina's health issues were resolved and surgeries were done there. Plus we do have a few other good vet clinics, the vet I mentioned in my previous post just opened a brand new vet clinic 5 minutes away from me :)
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:24 pm

We have had two of these surgeries performed in my clinic by a board certified surgeon. One of the dogs was a patient of mine, and the owner wished she had figured out the problem and done the surgery months sooner. The dog recovered well after surgery and has not had any complications, although she is boarded at the hospital when owners are out of town and the owner monitors her eating/drinking very closely. We are 6-9 months post-op on that dog, and its done wonders for her quality of life. The owners mom says she worries less about her because she doesn't sound like she's choking every other day anymore. She just coughs a little after drinking water.

Not all dogs do this well, but the majority are better after surgery than worse. It sounds like your dog is borderline and may not improve with surgery yet, but I would certainly keep it in mind if the disease progresses.
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:43 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:and the owner monitors her eating/drinking very closely.
Well this part is easier said than done when you have a dog who treats every piece of food like it's the last one she will ever get. But it can be done if you make changes I guess. I'm seriously considering switching her to a pre made raw food (http://www.naturesmenu.co.uk/) because it's served in blocks and it's soft so there's less of a chance to inhale anything. Plus you can feed it out of a kong toy. It will double the cost of her food, but since it will just be her on this food, it will be possible. I'm planing on getting an elevated food bowl next month and I will switch her from collars to harnesses. So everything will be ready before she will need surgery which I hope she won't need for a looong time. :)
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Leslie H » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:18 pm

My sister had fed Twolf, now she feeds a pre-cooked meat/veggie product you can get in grocery stores. Not what I would feed, but it's can be cut into cubes. I think she's fed other products, like Merrick canned. I do know one other dog, Linus, that had the surgery about 2 years ago. Linus is 15, and probably a malamute cross of some sort. His owners feed him special meatballs they make themselves.
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Re: Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis

Postby Enigma » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:46 pm

I've been researching raw feeding for the last couple of days and I think it will be best to start with Nature's Menu (it's the only pre made raw food available here) and maybe add some meat to it later on. I can't go all raw since bones are an important part of a raw diet and Brina doesn't have enough teeth left to be able to chew bones, plus her teeth are very poor, they break easily and I don't want to risk any more teeth extractions. I never planned on feeding raw to any of my dogs, but I guess if I have to change her diet I'll try raw first. I think it will be a lot better than feeding canned food only. And you can make bite sized meatballs with raw which is what we'll need after the surgery.

How often do neurological issues occur with this condition? Like lameness/weakness in back legs or even complete paralysis of the back end? I guess a good thing is that the condition isn't painful for the dog so they can still have a long, painfree life.
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