Laryngeal paralysis in dogs typically begins with a minor cough and escalates to breathing problems. It can be lethal if neglected. But luckily, a dog with the over-the-counter drug laryngeal paralysis can be safely and effectively treated with Benadryl.
Breathing problems brought on by laryngeal paralysis may start off mildly and then get increasingly worse over time. This illness, which is most prevalent in elderly, large-breed dogs, can be life-threatening.
Keep reading for more information on how to use Benadryl to treat laryngeal paralysis in dogs.
Before you scroll down this in-depth guide, “Is Dog Laryngeal Paralysis Treated With Benadryl,” check out: Should I Euthanize a Paralyzed Dog? Vet Advice! (2023) and Apoquel vs Benadryl For Dogs. Which is Better? (2023).
What is Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs?
At the apex of the windpipe lies a tubular structure called the larynx (trachea). It also goes by the name “voice box” since it makes noise as air passes over it. Along with producing sound, the larynx collaborates with the epiglottis — a cartilage flap that covers the airway when swallowing — to stop food from getting into the trachea.
Laryngeal paralysis is caused when the muscles that normally contract to open the airway become ineffective. The larynx may be unable to open and close normally as a result.
The larynx can be afflicted by a variety of diseases, including:
- Laryngitis: an infection of the larynx’s soft tissues or cartilage.
- Laryngeal edema: swelling brought on by a buildup of fluid in the tissues.
- Laryngeal tumors: growths or lumps on the larynx or its surrounding tissues.
- Laryngeal chondropathy: an infectious disorder of the cartilage that is typically brought on by trauma by sticks (or other foreign objects). A bacterial infection or an abscess may result from these wounds.
- Laryngeal paralysis: (most prevalent) a condition where the nerves and muscles that enable the larynx to be opened and closed regularly become degenerative, weakening the muscles that move the larynx/voice box.
Younger dogs are more susceptible to certain illnesses like laryngitis or edema, but older dogs are more likely to develop laryngeal tumors or laryngeal paralysis.
Airway-related illnesses can pose a serious problem. A dog needs to see a vet right away if they have:
- Trouble breathing
- Tongue and gum color that is bluish or purple
- Swelling of the face
Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs: Symptoms
The initial sign of canine laryngeal paralysis is often a marked increase in panting or noisy breathing. The signs of this illness usually appear gradually, however, you might also observe:
- An increase in panting on warm, humid days or while under stress
- Noisy panting
- Exercise intolerance or sluggishness
- Voice alteration
- Eating or drinking while gagging or coughing
- Discomfort in the lungs
- Heat stroke
- Blue, purple, or dark-red gums
Most of the time, symptoms start light but worsen. Usually, a dog will begin panting more often.
Dogs with laryngeal paralysis cannot properly cool themselves by panting, making them more susceptible to overexertion and overheating in hotter, humid situations. As a result, they may develop heat stroke, breathing problems, or even pass out and die.
Due to a congenital abnormality, the ailment can appear at any age, but older large-breed dogs — particularly Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Irish Setters, and Newfoundlands — are prone to developing it.
Both congenital and acquired laryngeal paralysis often get worse over time. The airway partial blockage reduces the quantity of oxygen a dog can inhale, finally resulting in breathlessness. A dog will eventually grow worried and breathe more quickly (but not more efficiently). This might result in respiratory discomfort and possibly death.
Take your dog to the vet right away if you observe any signs of labored breathing, respiratory distress, excessive panting despite being cold, a swollen face, or gums that have become blue or purple in color.
Causes of Canine Laryngeal Paralysis
A lack of function in the nerve regulating the larynx results in laryngeal paralysis. Usually, the larynx opens to let air into the trachea and closes to keep food or liquids from being inhaled.
Because of the narrowing of the airway brought on by laryngeal paralysis, breathing becomes more challenging and can feel like it is being forced through a straw.
Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis and Polyneuropathy (GOLPP) is a widespread nerve and muscular atrophy condition that frequently includes laryngeal paralysis. Genetics is considered to be a factor, though the exact explanation is unknown.
The esophagus is frequently impacted in the early stages of GOLPP, but laryngeal paralysis is typically the first symptom. Esophageal dysfunction makes it harder to swallow food and liquids, which increases the chance of inhaling food or liquids, which can result in aspiration pneumonia, a lung infection.
Furthermore, neck tumors and trauma can result in laryngeal paralysis. Laryngeal paralysis can also develop in dogs as early as three months old due to a congenital disease.
How Veterinarians Diagnose Canine Laryngeal Paralysis
In order to diagnose laryngeal paralysis, your veterinarian may sedate your dog to see the larynx and how the corresponding cartilage and muscles move while swallowing and breathing.
In a healthy larynx, both sides open and shut broadly with each breath. The larynx of a dog with laryngeal paralysis will remain immobile and partially open.
A comprehensive blood test, thyroid tests, and radiographs of the neck and chest are expected to be advised by your veterinarian.
Radiographs are crucial for identifying more coughing fits and identifying any potential side effects of laryngeal paralysis such as aspiration pneumonia, a condition that develops in the lungs when food or stomach contents are inadvertently inhaled into them.
For an advanced assessment, further tests or a referral to a specialty hospital could be required.
Can Dogs with Laryngeal Paralysis be Treated with Benadryl?
Indeed, Benadryl can aid in the treatment of canine laryngeal paralysis. Allergies, motion sickness, and laryngeal paralysis are just a few of the diseases that may be treated by the typical over-the-counter drug Benadryl.
Breathing problems brought on by laryngeal paralysis can be fatal. Your veterinarian could advise providing Benadryl to your dog if laryngeal paralysis is the cause.
Depending on the size of your dog, the dosage will change, but it is generally safe to provide one mg per pound of body weight. The medication can be swallowed or added to your dog’s diet. Consult your veterinarian if you’re unclear whether Benadryl is the best course of action.
Benadryl Dosage for Treating Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs
Dogs can be treated with Benadryl for a number of ailments, such as allergies, motion sickness, and laryngeal paralysis. The recommended dose of Benadryl is 1 mg/lb, administered every eight to 12 hours.
The dose for laryngeal paralysis is 2–4 mg/lb given three to four times daily. Benadryl should not be used for longer than a few days at a time since it may have repercussions like urine retention and dry lips.
If you’re thinking of giving your dog Benadryl to treat laryngeal paralysis, be sure to see your vet first to receive the right dosage and instructions.
How to Administer Benadryl to a Dog with Laryngeal Paralysis
The easiest approach to providing the medication to your dog is to wrap it in some cheese or deli meat. They will be more likely to consume it if they can’t taste the medication.
Including the medication in their meal is an additional option. Make sure they consume the entirety of the meal if you do this to ensure they receive the complete dosage.
Lastly, you can provide the medication to them using a syringe. If you do this, be careful to give it to them gently to prevent choking. After giving them the entire dose, keep a close eye on them to check for any negative effects. Call your veterinarian right away if they begin to develop respiratory difficulties.
How Long Does it Take for Benadryl to Treat Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs?
It depends on various factors, such as how severe your dog’s symptoms are and how they react to the drug. Generally speaking, you may notice some improvement between 30 and 60 minutes after giving your dog Benadryl.
But if your dog has acute lung damage, it might need to be hospitalized and given stronger treatment. As a result, it’s wiser to err on the side of caution and get prompt medical attention.
Side Effects of Benadryl for Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs
Although Benadryl is typically safe for dogs, owners should be informed of any potential negative effects.
The most typical side effects are dry mouth and sleepiness. Benadryl, however, can occasionally result in more severe issues like gastrointestinal distress, an elevated heart rate, and painful urination.
Benadryl may temporarily alleviate symptoms in dogs with laryngeal paralysis; however, it can also promote greater relaxation of the muscles in the larynx, which can make breathing harder.
As such, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian before administering Benadryl to a dog with laryngeal paralysis. They can assist you in making the best choice for your dog, given their understanding of the specific health history and condition of your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dogs with severe cases of laryngeal paralysis require surgical intervention. There are currently no medications to reverse this condition.
Your veterinarian may forgo surgery if your dog has a mild case of laryngeal paralysis. Acupuncture, weight loss, and herbal therapies may be an option to improve your dog’s quality of life.
It’s entirely possible for a dog to live for several years with laryngeal paralysis depending on the severity and how early it was caught by a veterinarian.
Conclusion for “Is Dog Laryngeal Paralysis Treated With Benadryl”
It’s critical to seek veterinary care as soon as your dog exhibits any symptoms of laryngeal paralysis. Laryngeal paralysis in dogs is treatable, although the most effective method will depend on the specific circumstances.
For the treatment of canine laryngeal paralysis, many people turn to over-the-counter drugs like Benadryl. But it’s crucial to speak with your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any regimen.
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Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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