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Heat Stress and Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs – A Dangerous Situation
In hot weather, be especially watchful of all dogs for signs of heat stress. Normally a dog sheds heat by panting, not by sweating, and in hot weather, it is possible for a dog to dangerously overheat.
The signs of overheating are increased panting, labored breathing, “honking” panting, sometimes salivation, weakness, and collapse. If you think a dog is having trouble breathing and might be overheating, move them to a cool, shady area, or an air-conditioned space.
If they seem weak or if they collapse, call your Veterinarian at once.
Dogs with Laryngeal Paralysis have even more trouble shedding excess body heat. Dogs with Laryngeal Paralysis can’t move enough air to do this efficiently. This means that it is very easy for them to overheat, especially in hot weather. They can overheat so badly that they may die.
One early sign of Laryngeal Paralysis is a change in the dog’s voice. The bark starts to sound different. Another sign is a dog that “honks” or “roars” as it pants. They also may appear to be working harder to breathe than most other dogs. If you have a dog that breathes like this, have your Veterinarian evaluate him or her for Laryngeal Paralysis.
Older Labrador Retrievers are especially prone to this disease, but they are certainly not the only breed that can be affected.
Dogs that show signs of Laryngeal Paralysis should NOT spend long periods of time outdoors in hot weather. If the outside temperature is above 85, they should be allowed outside just long enough to urinate and defecate, and then immediately be brought back indoors into an air-conditioned environment.