02232-MOU: Characterization of Upper Airway Syndrome in Norwich Terriers

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $74,496
Bryden J. Stanley, BVMS; Michigan State University
November 1, 2015 - December 31, 2017


Breed(s): Norwich Terrier
Research Program Area: Lung and Respiratory Disease
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Breeders have long known of upper airway issues in Norwich Terriers (NTUAS) while veterinary awareness and recognition of NTUAS, has lagged behind. Signs of disease can vary from mild airway noise to severe distress with heat and exercise intolerance, and death. Descriptions of NTUAS have focused on everted laryngeal saccules (outpouched laryngeal tissue), likening it to issues seen in brachycephalic dogs. However, recent evidence shows changes in the larynx that are not seen in brachycephalic dogs: redundant tissue at the top of the larynx, and narrowing of the larynx behind the glottis. The entire upper airway needs to be clearly described for NTUAS, and it is likely that the condition is separate from brachycephalic airway syndrome, with distinctive, primary changes arising in the larynx.

In this study, NTUAS will be characterized in detail through comprehensive history, oral examination and upper airway endoscopy in 150 US Norwich Terriers. Results will be used to create a NTUAS severity grading system. A subset of 25 of the dogs will additionally undergo computed tomography and nasal airflow measurements. Results will be compared for 25 Norfolk Terriers, 25 brachycephalic and 25 mesaticephalic dogs of similar ages from a separately funded study. Identifying the contributory components of NTUAS is the first step in determining prognosis and evaluating treatment options. This work will lay the groundwork for future research to follow the youngest dogs in the study throughout their lives, and to examine the effect of time and treatment on NTUAS.

Funding for the research is provided through the efforts and generosity of Norwich Terrier Club of America. The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports this effort and will oversee administration of funds and scientific progress reporting.


Johnson, L. R., Mayhew, P. D., Culp, W. T. N., & Stanley, B. J. (2021). Results of owner questionnaires describing long-term outcome in Norwich terriers with upper airway syndrome: 2011-2018. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, (1-7). https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16180

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