Laryngeal Paralysis and Barking Problems in Dogs
This is a late stage in airway obstruction. Pressure changes in the upper
airway caused by stenotic nares, an elongated
soft palate, laryngeal paralysis, or everted laryngeal saccules stretch the
ligaments that support the laryngeal cartilages. These cartilages gradually
collapse inward and block the airway. At this stage any change in the dog’s
need for air can cause acute respiratory insufficiency and cardiac arrest.
Treatment: The first step is to surgically correct predisposing factors. If
symptoms persist, the dog may benefit from a permanent tracheostomy.
Laryngitis is inflammation and swelling of the vocal cords and surrounding
laryngeal mucosa. The signs are hoarseness and the inability to bark. The most
common cause of laryngitis is voice strain caused by excessive barking or coughing. In the absence of these, suspect vocal cord
paralysis. Laryngitis can accompany tonsillitis, throat infections, kennel
cough, or tumors in the throat.
Treatment: Laryngitis due to excessive barking usually responds to removing
the stimulus for the barking. When voice strain is due to prolonged coughing,
take your dog to the veterinarian to investigate and eliminate the cause of the
Debarking and Barking Problems
Some dogs simply seem to enjoy barking. But constant shrill barking can lead
to problems with neighbors and a dog being dropped off at the local
Debarking surgery removes some of the vocal chord tissue. This can be done
through the mouth or through the throat. Lasers are sometimes used for this
surgery. After debarking, dogs can still bark but it is a quieter, hoarse
sound. If the dog develops scar tissue, she may recover the ability to bark
normally. Too much scar tissue may interfere with breathing. Postoperative care
is important, because any swelling in this area could cause acute breathing problems. You may
need to search for a veterinarian experienced with this surgery.
Before doing debarking surgery, you should try behavior training and/or
eliminate the cause of the excessive barking. Using a citronella or electronic
bark collar may also work. These deliver a negative response when your dog
barks, either with a spray of citronella or a mild shock.