Symptoms of Laryngitis in Dogs

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Even if you hear your dog bark all day he still can get some diseases of their voice box or larynx and here we go in depth about the symptoms of laryngitis in dogs.

The purpose of the larynx is to protect the lungs from aspiration while swallowing and this is also a part that permits vocalization, expressed in dogs with noises like growling or barking. If the structure of the voice box is affected in any way then we talk about laryngeal diseases and there are several of them.

Cause of Laryngitis

The usual cause for the inflammation of the larynx is a microbial infection in the upper respiratory tract and this can be caused by inhaling smoke, dust or other toxic gases. The breeds with shorter noses and flattened faces are more liable to get this disease and obesity can also predispose them to the problem.

Strains from excessive barking or the physical injury of the voice box due to the insertion of a breathing tube for surgery are other causes for laryngitis and there are infectious diseases like the canine distemper or tracheobronchitis.


The most visible signs of possible laryngitis are the typical things you see when the airflow through the larynx are impaired such as panting, noisy breathing, high pitched sounds when inhaling, change of the character when the dog barks, coughing, reduced activity and elevated rectal temperature.

Due to these signs most owners first think of exertion, stress or extreme heat because these problems can lead to similar symptoms, but you should certainly see a vet to determine the exact cause.

The first signs are usually a dry, harsh cough that later develops into productive and quite painful coughing. The cold water or air, coarse food and even the attempt to give medicine to the dog can trigger the cough.

The fluid accumulating in the larynx and along with the inflammation of the mucous membranes are the two major signs you see and they lead to the voice changing, difficulty in breathing and bad breath. If the case is more severe there might be signs of the obstruction of the upper respiratory tract and in this case the dog can even die due to suffocation so be really careful.

As the disease progresses the respiratory rate decreases and with the additional effort made to breathe the blood gets less and less oxygen. The mucous membranes turn blue and the pulse along with the overall temperature increase. This is because the obstructed airways prevent panting, so the dog can’t cool off during hot weather and this might lead to collapse if not given proper medical attention.

Problems Specific to Certain Breeds

The paralysis of the larynx is something that the Bouvier des Flandres breed inherits and among other breeds that might have this problem (although the evidence isn’t certain so far) are the Siberian huskies and the bull terriers.

Another problem is for young Dalmatians or Rottweilers which might get paralysis of the larynx due to a condition that affects multiple nerves in the body and it is called the polyneuropathy complex. It is inherited although it’s not clear if the problem is genetic.

Determining that it is Laryngitis

The vet will need to do an endoscopic examination of the respiratory tract to confirm this is the problem and this isn’t something you can just do at home, so make sure you seek professional help before it’s too late.

This procedure is quite painful so most vets anesthetize the dog before the endoscopy. If the larynx is obstructed a surgical procedure can be required to allow proper breathing. This is made by temporarily opening the dog’s neck to allow a tube to be inserted there. That will permit air to travel through the lungs without any problems as the laryngitis is treated.

The Treatment of Laryngitis

Once the vet knows what the cause of the disease is and makes sure that it’s laryngitis he’s dealing with then the treatment can start. Unless the problem is so serious that surgery is needed the treatment only needs some medication.

The treatment consists of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and the infection itself also requires corticosteroids and non-steroidal drugs that will reduce the obstruction of the airways along with the swelling. The allergic reactions that might appear are treated with cough suppressants and if fluid gathers in the lungs and larynx there are diuretics that can ease this problem.

If you get the dog back home the things that you need to remember while he is recovering is to keep him clean all the time, in a place where there isn’t too much dust (this is really important) and at a warm temperature to hasten the recovery process.

Due to the problems with the neck and lungs the only food that he might be able to digest may be liquid so be prepared for that and remember that he’s recovering, so make sure you make all the efforts to keep your pet well fed.

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