Laryngeal hemiplegia

Other Names:

Laryngeal paralysis in animals is a condition in which the nerves and muscles that control the movements of one or both arytenoid cartilages of the larynx cease to function, and instead of opening during aspiration and closing during swallowing, the arytenoids remain stationary in a somewhat neutral position. Specifically, the muscle that causes abduction of the arytenoid cartilage, the cricoarytenoideus dorsalis muscle, ceases to function. This leads to inadequate ventilation during exercise and during thermoregulatory panting as well as incomplete protection of the airway during swallowing.

One of the most common forms of laryngeal paralysis develops in geriatric medium to large breed dogs, in particular the Labrador retriever, but also some other breeds. This had been traditionally known as idiopathic laryngeal paralysis ("ILP": idiopathic means "of unknown cause"), and was believed to be a result of a condition affecting the nerves of the larynx (bilateral mononeuropathy of the recurrent laryngeal nerves). However investigations into ILP by two groups in Michigan and Tennessee between 2005 - 2013 showed that the condition was not limited to, or specifically a result of, dysfunction of the laryngeal nerves. Instead it was the most visible symptom of a slowly progressing polyneuropathy of old age, which also affected other nerves in the body. This finding, now generally believed correct following further research, has led to the proposed renaming of this type of laryngeal paralysis from "Idiopathic laryngeal paralysis" ("ILP") to "Geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy" ("GOLPP").

Animals affected by laryngeal paralysis have reduced tolerance for exercise and heat and an increased risk of aspiration pneumonia. The condition is not generally regarded as causing pain, other than physical distress and anxiety caused by any difficulty in breathing or emotional distress from any difficulty with physical movement. Where laryngeal paralysis is related to a general progressive polyneuropathy, as in GOLPP, the nervous system will gradually degenerate causing increasing difficulty in management of the limbs (especially rear limbs), swallowing and breathing, and eventually in most cases euthanasia. Laryngeal paralysis is fairly common in large breed and geriatric dogs, particularly in the Labrador retriever, is rarely found in cats, and can also occur in horses where it is referred to as roaring, roarer's syndrome, or medically as laryngeal hemiplegia or recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN). Laryngeal paralysis can be unilateral or bilateral depending upon dysfunction of one or both arytenoid cartilages.

Broader Problems:
Respiratory diseases of horses
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST