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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30288
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Toby is a 10 year old 80-90lb, male, yellow Lab, pure bred.

Customer Question

Toby is a 10 year old 80-90lb, male, yellow Lab, pure bred. Not fixed, house dog. About mid July (six weeks ago or so) he started coughing. A loud, harsh cough, not productive, rather a dry cough. Appetite was fine, drinking water normally, energy level normal and went on walks daily. Cough started to worsen gradually. Within the last week to 10 days he has started vomiting frequently. Mostly a watery, clear fluid. He isn't keeping food down and has seemingly lost his appetite completely. He hasn't kept a full meal down in more than a few days. When he drinks water he coughs it up, when he eats, he can keep it down for a few hours but then loses much if not all of it. Food is coming up partially digested.
2 years ago on Sept 16th of 2014, Toby's older brother (same parents / different litter), Brody, was put to sleep at the age of 10. Symptoms were near identical. We were told Brody had a tumor / growth near or in the entrance of his stomach, causing blockage and regurgitation. We were told that an x-ray and or other tests (MRI) would be in the 1-2K range and any surgery would likely have a 50% or less success rate even if surgery was possible.
Is the writing on the wall?
Thank you for your time.
Heart broken in Mn
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Jon, my initial thought was that Toby had developed laryngeal paralysis. With the onset of vomiting, however, I'm concerned that laryngeal paralysis is only one symptom of the more general neuromuscular disorder called GOLPP - geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy - which is also affecting his esophagus resulting in a megaesophagus - a ballooning out of the normally rigid esophagus. These findings are relatively easy to confirm - laryngeal paralysis can be visualized through his mouth while he's lightly sedated; megaesophagus is seen on X-rays +/- a barium swallow.

Malignancies affecting these areas are a concern as you're aware of but aren't the only consideration in such a patient. Acquired myasthenia gravis - another neuromuscular disorder - is yet another consideration and can be tested for with the acetylcholine receptor antibody test. Myasthenia gravis can be treated. GOLPP, however, might be managed temporarily but is expected to be progressive leading to euthanasia when unable to be controlled.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jon,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Toby. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin