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01467: Understanding Laryngeal Paralysis to Provide Better Treatment

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $113,449
Dr. Bryden J. Stanley, BVMS, Michigan State University
February 1, 2011 - July 31, 2013
Sponsor(s): American Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club, Borzoi Club of America, Labrador Retriever Club, Labrador Retriever Club of Twin Cities, Newfoundland Club of America Charitable Trust, Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States
Breed(s): Labrador Retriever
Disease(s): Laryngeal Paralysis
Research Program Area: Neurology


Veterinary researchers now believe that a common upper respiratory problem in older dogs is in fact the first sign of slowly developing, generalized paralysis. For many years, the condition has been known as "idiopathic laryngeal paralysis," affecting older dogs, particularly Labrador Retrievers. Signs include the loud, labored breathing of laryngeal paralysis and throat-clearing, followed by slowly progressing neurologic deterioration. Dr. Stanley's work has shown that dogs develop breathing problems first, followed by difficulty swallowing. Over the ensuing months they become weak and unsteady until eventually they cannot walk. This progression is distressing for animals and owners alike. Although surgery can significantly help affected dogs breathe more easily, complications from swallowing problems and difficulty moving and walking remain. In order to identify ways of better treating and eventually eradicating this condition, the first step is to fully understand the disease process and the cause. The purpose of this project is to undertake a comprehensive study of older dogs with "idiopathic laryngeal paralysis" and characterize their progression post-operatively for 1 year. Diagnostic tests will include regular physical and neurological examinations, measurements of muscle and nerve function, assessments of the swallowing reflex, and a muscle and nerve biopsy. Results will also be compared to a group of non-affected dogs of similar age and breed. The results of this study will provide valuable information for full characterization of this disease, which in turn will lead to better management of these patients.


Manuscripts in preparation.
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