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Dr. Ellie
Dr. Ellie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  emergency and critical care resident
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My ten year old lab has been having these little "spells"

Customer Question

Hi there, my ten year old lab has been having these little "spells" with odd breathing. He inhales just fine, but when he exhales I hear this noise in the back of his throat that sounds like he needs to clear it. Sometimes it happens once a day and other times it happens every three or four days. It usually lasts about twenty minutes and then he's fine. I offered him food while he was breathing funny and he ate it, so I don't think he's in distress. More like a weird sound, but worried about him as he had surgery for a benign liver tumor two months ago and I'm wondering if it's related? Let me know your thoughts? Thanks again, Lissa
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 8 months ago.

'It doesn't sound like your dog's breathing issues are related to his liver mass but labradors often get a condition called laryngeal paralysis. This condition may be associated with age and degeneration of peripheral nerves.

Classically we hear noisy inspiration but in any older dog (labs especially) with a history of difficult, loud or abnormal breathing, a laryngeal exam should be performed to rule this out. additionally, there may be other laryngeal issues that cause noisy breathing including a mass or obstruction, laryngeal collapse or tracheal dysfunction.

It is good that he is not yet in distress, as often laryngeal issues are not discovered until the dog is brought to the emergency room for difficulty breathing making for a life threatening episode. I recommend discussing a work up with your veterinarian including a sedated laryngeal exam, radiographs and possibly referral to a specialist for fluoroscopy or laryngoscopy/tracheoscopy or other indicated diagnostics to look for a cause of the noise you hear before he gets to the point that he gets into distress.

Does this address your concerns today?

Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 8 months ago.

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