01467: Understanding Laryngeal Paralysis to Provide Better Treatment

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $113,449
Bryden J. Stanley, BVMS; Michigan State University
February 1, 2011 - July 31, 2013

Sponsor(s): Afghan Hound Club of America

Breed(s): Labrador Retriever
Research Program Area: Neurology
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Project Summary

The publications from this study will provide an accurate and complete characterization of the condition commonly known as "acquired idiopathic laryngeal paralysis" in older dogs (also known as Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis Polyneuropathy, or GOLPP). We are interested in all dogs with GOLPP (e.g., Borzois, Greyhounds, the Newfoundland, Golden Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, and mixed breeds), and hope to expand our studies once this study has been published. This is a longitudinal study with customized history questionnaires, physical and neurological examinations every 3 months, with additional detailed testing (radiographs, swallowing studies, EMGs and nerve conductions) at the 6 month and 12 month time points. All dogs responded extremely well to the laryngeal 'tie-back' surgery, demonstrating immediate alleviation of respiratory distress. Owner satisfaction is high; and all our owners are deeply committed to the objectives of the study and finding out more about this condition. All the enrolled dogs with GOLPP have evidence of a generalized polyneuropathy on repeated neurologic and electrodiagnostic examinations. Histopathology has yet to be reported. About 70% have some degree of esophageal dysfunction at admission. Dogs with esophageal dysfunction definitely benefit from prokinetic medications (cisapride, metoclopramide) per owner reporting. They also appear to benefit from physical therapy aimed at balancing, placement of limbs (e.g., cavaletti bars), and strength training (water treadmills). Some owners have reported improvement with acupuncture therapy. We are also collecting post-mortem samples from GOLPP dogs, obtained when owners decide to euthanize (either from ongoing neurological progression or other old age-related disease). These samples are from widespread areas of the body (36 different samples), including brain and spinal cord. We have not analyzed these at this point. When this study is completed, we will provide a comprehensive description of this condition, including pathology and progression. We currently have a large number of extracted DNA samples from affected and control dogs and have performed some genetic investigations. We plan to work towards identifying a causative gene mutation associated with this condition. This will be of huge benefit to dogs, owners and veterinarians, as we can work on how to diagnose the condition earlier, better manage affected dogs, elucidate the underlying cause of GOLPP, and possibly eventually eradicate the condition by selective breeding.


Maurer, M., Mary, J., Guillaud, L., Fender, M., Pelé, M., Bilzer, T., … Tiret, L. (2012). Centronuclear Myopathy in Labrador Retrievers: A Recent Founder Mutation in the PTPLA Gene Has Rapidly Disseminated Worldwide. PLoS ONE, 7(10), e46408. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046408

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