If your dog was diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis, you may be wondering about the cost of the surgery. Laryngeal paralysis in dogs is not a death sentence, fortunately, there is a surgery that can help dogs breath better and enjoy life again. The surgery is not without risks, but there are several things that you can do to minimize them. For example, having a board-certified surgeon perform the surgery can significantly reduce risks for complications. Of course, having a specialist perform the procedure means a higher cost, but the savings can be worth it in the long run.
About Laryngeal Paralysis
Laryngeal paralysis is a hereditary or acquired condition that affects the dog's larynx (voice box). In a healthy, normal dog, the nerves that control the muscles and cartilages (also known as arytenoid cartilages) and that are responsible for opening and closing the dog's larynx, are working properly.
Problems start when the nerves that control the muscles and cartilages stop working as they should. The affected dog cannot take in air properly and therefore the dog develops trouble breathing, drinking and eating. As the condition progresses, the affected dog may be unable to receive enough oxygen causing exercise intolerance and severe respiratory distress.
In order to treat this condition, a common surgical procedure that is performed is called "arytenoid lateralization," better known as "laryngeal tie-back" surgery. The surgery requires placing some permanent sutures to keep the arytenoid cartilage out of the way so that the airway remains open.
A Delicate Surgery
The goal of tieback surgery is to permanently keep the airway open while still maintaining the primary function of the larynx intact, that is, protection of the airway, explains veterinarian Dr. Hinson. It must be remembered that on top of allowing dogs to bark and receive oxygen, the larynx also closes, protecting the airway during swallowing of food and liquids.
As the surgery's name implies, the arytenoid cartilage is"tied-back" in an open position. Only one side of the larynx is tied open, considering that having both sides tied open at the same time, increases the risks for pneumonia. While there are other surgical options, tieback surgery remains the most popular because it provides the most effective outcome with the lowest rate for complications.
Possible complications include aspiration pneumonia (which may still occur though considering that one side is kept open). Aspiration pneumonia has been statistically found to affect 10 to 20 percent of cases, according to veterinary surgeon Dr. Eric Monnet. However, it's important to consider that aspiration pneumonia may also occur in dogs who do not have the surgery. Coughing is expected after surgery especially when the dog is drinking or eating.
For best results, it's best to have tieback surgery done by a skilled board-certified veterinary surgeon. The cost for laryngeal tieback surgery in dogs may range anywhere between 2000 and 4000 dollars. This is just a rough estimate though and calling around is the best way forgetting price quote for laryngeal tieback surgery in dogs.
"In the hands of an experienced ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeon, this is typically a relatively straight-forward, minimally invasive surgical procedure. The incision is only 3-4 inches on one side of the neck and well-planned pain management can reduce or eliminate post-operative pain directly associated with surgery. "~American College of Veterinary Surgeons