Laryngitis In Dogs

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 8 seconds

Laryngitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the larynx, a part of the throat that is also known as the voice box, and that can affect both people and dogs. Most of us are aware of laryngitis, and many of us will have suffered from it ourselves at some point too – which can lead to a sore throat, a hoarse voice, and potentially, pain when talking and swallowing. The condition has a similar effect on dogs, and can be quite uncomfortable for your dog, as well as exacerbated by lots of barking.

If your dog’s voice sounds hoarse or they tend to bark a lot, it is a good idea to learn about the causes and symptoms of laryngitis in dogs, so that you can recognise it if it does arise – and in this article, we will cover the basics of the condition in more detail. Read on to learn more.

What is laryngitis?

Laryngitis is the term we use to refer to an inflammation of the larynx or voice box, which can be either acute or chronic.

Acute laryngitis tends to develop fairly suddenly and generally resolve itself within two to three weeks, whilst chronic laryngitis can linger for much longer. Dogs affected with laryngitis will tend to have a hoarse or dry, raspy-sounding bark, and may avoid barking as it might be painful.

The condition can also cause problems swallowing without pain, and may be accompanied by a persistent cough and high temperature, as well as pain in the general throat and neck region.

How do dogs develop laryngitis?

The term “laryngitis” refers to the inflammation of the larynx itself rather than a specific disease or condition, and so the causes of laryngitis in dogs can be quite variable.

Dogs that bark continually are at particular risk of laryngitis as incessant barking strains the larynx and leads to irritation and inflammation, which in turn, causes the hoarse-sounding bark that we associate with the condition.

Coughs and colds can also cause the condition as they irritate the throat, and a cough in particular can be both a symptom of laryngitis in dogs, as well as the cause of the inflammation that leads to the condition developing.

Infections of the upper respiratory tract can also cause the acute form of laryngitis, as can other respiratory infections and irritations, including allergies.

Flat-faced or brachycephalic dog breeds like the French bulldog and the pug are at particular risk of laryngitis, as they have shorter muzzles and so, a shorter larynx than other breeds, which makes them more prone to the condition.

What are the symptoms of laryngitis in dogs?

Laryngitis can produce a fairly broad and diverse range of symptoms in affected dogs, and not all dogs will display all of them, or to the same extent.

Some of the most common symptoms of laryngitis in dogs include:

  • A cough usually accompanies most cases of laryngitis, and this is usually a dry cough, but it may also be productive.
  • Coughing may be painful or uncomfortable for your dog.
  • The tone of your dog’s bark may change too, leading to it sounding hoarse or raspy.
  • Swelling of the larynx.
  • Croaking or retching.
  • Pain when swallowing, which can lead to difficulties eating and drinking, or reluctance to do so.
  • Whistling, rasping or high-pitched breath sounds.
  • Open-mouthed breathing.
  • A fever and elevated body temperature.
  • Panting.
  • In extreme cases of laryngitis in dogs that have become very pronounced, the condition can lead to breathing difficulties and the risk of fainting and hypoxia.

Because the symptoms of laryngitis in dogs affect the respiratory system and voice box, they are also shared by a range of other conditions and infections too, which means that the dog owner cannot always make an educated guess at the cause based on the presentation of the symptoms alone.

In order to get a definitive diagnosis of the condition and rule out any other potential causes, you should take your dog to the vet for an examination, which will be taken into account alongside of the description of the symptoms that you noticed at home.

How is the condition managed or treated?

Acute laryngitis in dogs tends to resolve itself within a couple of weeks, but it can be quite painful and distressing for your dog in the meantime – and if an infection or other issue is present and causing or exacerbating the problem, this must be treated first in order to enable recovery.

An underlying bacterial infection will be treated with antibiotics, and regardless of the cause, your vet may also prescribe anti-inflammatory and cough suppressant medications too, to allow your dog to heal without exacerbating the irritation.

You may also be advised to feed your dog soft foods for a while so that they can eat without discomfort, and you should also generally keep your dog warm and comfortable and avoid excessive exertion until they are well on the mend.


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