Glory, kaylasmom99’s guide dog, has recently been diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis. According to the evaluation report from her laryngoscopy, her left vocal cord is without motion and the right vocal cord displays impaired motion.
Naturally, the school where the dog was trained wants her retired, and naturally, we are quite distressed about the entire state of affairs. We realize that retirement is necessary, of course, but we also want Glory’s remaining years to be as comfortable as possible. Glory’s primary symptoms to date are: a tendency to pant excessively (even when she is at rest); an inability to bark; and a tendency to gag when eating all but the softest of foods. Also, her nose is consistently warm and dry (may be unrelated).
We have obtained a limited amount of information about a surgical procedure known as laryngeal tie-back, but some of it appears to be conflicting. Web-based descriptions of the procedure, of unknown age, suggest that the dog will face a significant risk of aspirating her food and water for the rest of her life. On the other hand, a veterinary surgeon we spoke with yesterday (who admittedly may be in line to perform the surgery, should it be scheduled), downplayed such a risk, saying that aspiration is unlikely past the first 24 hours following surgery.
We’d really prefer not to trade one set of symptoms and risks for another, unless the new set is likely to offer Glory a significantly higher quality of life. So does anyone know if the current state of veterinary surgery is such that the food-aspiration risk has been rendered overstated?
For the record, Glory is a seven year-old (DOB 01/26/97) Golden Retriever, spayed female, weighing about 65 pounds, and in generally good health. She has been a working animal since October, 1999.
Thank you for any responses.