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BENTLEY AND FRIENDS: Laryngeal paralysis

It's what may be making your dog hoarse!

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Tim and Bentley like to use this segment to shed light on health issues that may affect our beloved pets. Here they dive into a topic that you may have heard happening with your own dog at home: laryngeal paralysis.

"The larynx, the laryngeal apparatus, the job of that is to have the muscles open and close so that food doesn't end up in the airway," explained veterinarian Dr. Denette Cooke. "As these guys get old, what happens is the muscles that innervate them start to take a little bit of a siesta; they don't tend to work as well."

This is a very common condition that big dogs can get and here's what you need to listen for:

"These guys may sound hoarse or harsh, you may notice it slowly progressing. They just have a harsh sound when they are breathing," Dr. Cooke said.

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What would make your dog start to sound like this?

"We don't really know the cause, but I think a life of talking, a life of pulling kind of wears this area out," she said.

So what can be done to alleviate the strain of breathing? According to Dr. Cooke, in the most extreme cases, your dog will need surgery. 

But most cases can be treated with something we talked about in a past Bentley's Corner: 

"Acupuncture is very, very successful," Dr. Cooke said. "Two to six treatments of acupuncture is 90 percent effective."

That's good news! Treatment can be non-invasive and bring about big-time relief for your pet and a quieter home life for you.