laryngeal paralysis

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dkaufman
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Re: laryngeal paralysis

Post by dkaufman »

I had a nearly 15 year old Brittany, Rusty, now deceased nearly 5 years, who in hindsight I realize suffered from laryngeal paralysis. I just thought it was a natural aging thing since my prior Brittany, Bella (who was nearly 17 when she passed) had similar problems late in life. With Rusty, his breathing was very labored, raspy, and he lost lots of muscle tone. Now I know otherwise. My vet then, when we lived in the Hudson Valley, did not even mention laryngeal paralysis and probably did not know about it then.

Our current 14 year old Brittany, Ruby, who is otherwise the specimen of very good health considering her age (minimal arthritis, still very active and energetic and eager for long walks and the occasional swim) probably has been slowly developing geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy (GOLPP) over the past year or two. The first indication to me should have been the change in her bark. At least now I know what the condition is! We now live part of the year in South Florida (fall through spring) and part of the year in western New York (extended/long summers). I would love to find a vet in South Florida--either in private practice or at a veterinary college somewhere in the state--who is informed, educated and willing to consider Ruby for what appears to be at this time an untested treatment for canine GOLPP, once she deteriorates to a state where breathing becomes more problematic than it is now.

I have found that research has been conducted and reported by the National Institute of Health see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18771080 where Botox has been used to treat laryngeal paralysis in human pediatric patients. Has anyone out there found a vet willing to try Botox injections for the treatment of this condition? It seems much more promising, and much less risky, than the surgery route which I would likely not consider.

I look forward to any responses or suggestions anyone might have for pursuing this direction for investigation and hopefully successful treatment of this debilitating condition.

Barb Wright
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Re: laryngeal paralysis

Post by Barb Wright »

You surely have had more experience with this debilitating disease than most :( I had not read or heard about the Botox protocol....it certainly is encouraging to hear that Botox can be used for something more important than cosmetic enhancement. Wish I had some current info for you, which I don't, and hopefully someone here on the board will have some personal experiences or information to share with you.

The old-age problems our dogs encounter, and we have to deal with, are certainly now afforded a lot more attention than in years past. We now have more ways and means to help them, and it seems more and more protocols are becoming available. This is encouraging to me, and I commend you for looking outside the box to try to make your old dogs' elder years as comfortable as possible.

I hope if you get any feed-back (other than here), or more up-to-date information, that you will post it here for all of us.

Edited to add: Just went to the web site you indicated....interesting reading. Seems there are a lot of afflictions people contract that are being treated with Botox. On the subject of laryngeal paralysis, the conclusion was 8 out of 24 pediatric patients were "cured", or 33%. Treating an older person who likely doesn't heal as fast or as well may not (and I think you can transpose this over to canines for the most part) have those same comparative results. My feelings are that unless you have some actual veterinary statistics to consider it might be chancy at best. JMO and granted, not much to base that opinion on except tending toward skepticism because of the dearth of stats.
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

Barb Wright
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Re: laryngeal paralysis

Post by Barb Wright »

Did some more investigating....not too much out there re canines and the use of Botox. However, it seems using Botox injections for certain types of arthritis works, though injections have to be repeated usually after six months. No info on costs.

There is a vet in Brazil that seems to be the main one using and promoting Botox for cosmetic as well as medical treatment, but again, the medical treatment seems to be just for arthritis applications.

An interesting fact about using Botox for cosmetic corrections/improvements.....show dog associations consider the use of Botox to be a disqualifying factor.

And if you're still with me....here is the definition of Botox: "The botulinum toxin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism." They come up with a dosage by testing to see what percentage of it will kill a lab rat, and work down from there. Sound like something you want to do to your dog, or yourself for that matter?? Well, I suppose as part of an end game pain management protocol, and if not much else works, it would be better than doing nothing. JMO
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

Cindy
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Re: laryngeal paralysis

Post by Cindy »

This is all very interesting!! I don't know anything about using botox on dogs for the laryngeal paralysis but I know a person who had it used (successfully) for really bad migraines. Maybe is the next miracle cure :roll: :roll:
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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dkaufman
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Re: laryngeal paralysis

Post by dkaufman »

Update on the ailing/failing Ruby:

An examination (a scoping) under mild sedation/anesthesia this week confirmed that our Ruby (14-15 years old) has complete parlaysis on one side and partial paralysis on the other side of the larynx. :( In the past week she has also become exercise intolerant, breathes more labored at rest, is lethargic, weak (muscle atrophy especially in her hind quarters), and just isn't her old self anymore. Eating is challenging for her now. Given her advanced age and the likelihood of other internal (possibly endocrine system) problems which haven't been detected yet (we're awaiting results of a thyroid panel), and the inherent complications with the tie-back procedure, we have decided we would not risk doing a tie-back procedure for the old girl since the benefits don't seem to outweigh the risks or costs in her current health condition.

Ruby has only been on three short walks during the past week. The midweek one was awful: she could barely get herself through it and we stopped and rested a lot. A short walk that would normally have taken less than 10 minutes to complete took a solid 15 minutes to complete. Today, here in South Florida it is cool (70 deg, breezy and cloudy) and the same walk went much better. The best part of the walk was when we returned home to the rest of the family. Ruby wagged her little nub of a tail--the first time she has wagged it in over a week! So, here is our dilemma: how do you engage/reward/"work" a Brittany that absolutely loves to go on long walks when she can no longer afford to go for such walks due to a health condition?

She won't play with her squeaky toys anymore and generally has been in a rather depressed, EOL (end-of-life) funk for the entire week showing little engagement in what goes on around her. She seems to get little enjoyment out of anything these days--at least she doesn't show much enjoyment anymore. Since she now has difficulty eating and must eat very slowly and deliberately, I don't think even food gives her much pleasure anymore. In all honesty I believe she is eating solely to please me. I think Ruby knows that when she decides to refuse food that will be the signal to me for her EOL process to commence. This day is likely not too far off but we are not at EOL just yet.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Our short 10 minute walk today was challenging enough for her. A dog without "work" or a purpose is generally an unhappy (or troubled/troublesome) dog. Ruby isn't troublesome, but she does appear unhappy and troubled without her daily exercise. If anyone has any suggestions (here or reference to elsewhere on the message board) about how to keep a dog engaged and "happy" when those things which have engaged and brought happiness to the dog in the past are not possible anymore, I would welcome some guidance on Ruby's behalf.

Cindy
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Re: laryngeal paralysis

Post by Cindy »

My vet once said to me "Think of the 3 things your dog loves to do the most. When she can't do 2 of the 3 then maybe it's time." I've found that to be pretty sound advice over the years and has helped me make several tough decisions. But, those decisions were never rushed or easy to make. Having 2 younger dogs with an older one presents it's own set of challenges and we've learned that sometimes we need to curtail our activities and lower our expectations. I would just try to do the things Ruby likes but in shorter periods of times or adapt them to her current capabilities. And I also don't see anything wrong with letting her sleep the better part of the day if that's what she wants to do. It sounds like she's earned that right :) Good luck - aging dogs are just so sweet but I know where you're coming from.
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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dkaufman
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Re: laryngeal paralysis

Post by dkaufman »

Cindy wrote:My vet once said to me "Think of the 3 things your dog loves to do the most. When she can't do 2 of the 3 then maybe it's time." I've found that to be pretty sound advice over the years and has helped me make several tough decisions. But, those decisions were never rushed or easy to make. Having 2 younger dogs with an older one presents it's own set of challenges and we've learned that sometimes we need to curtail our activities and lower our expectations. I would just try to do the things Ruby likes but in shorter periods of times or adapt them to her current capabilities. And I also don't see anything wrong with letting her sleep the better part of the day if that's what she wants to do. It sounds like she's earned that right :) Good luck - aging dogs are just so sweet but I know where you're coming from.
Cindy: Your vet's advice is indeed sound and I greatly appreciate you repeating it for me. I suppose I am having trouble reconciling what are the three activities Ruby indeed loves most and determining to what extent these activities are not enjoyed or possible anymore. This is certainly an imperfect process one has to go through with one's canine (and feline) children. I have made these decisions often enough in the past 10 years, however each situation is always unique. Thank you for your words of advice and encouragement.

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