Laryngitis describes an inflammation of the larynx and may occur be an acute or chronic disorder. The condition is often linked to other disorders of the respiratory tract, the trachea or vocal chords.
A typical symptom of laryngitis is coughing. The coughing can also occur in fits. Coughing due to laryngitis is loud and dry, and may worsen during wintertime when dogs inhale cold air. Ingesting food or pulling on their leash often causes dogs to cough. Fits of coughing may become severe enough to cause dogs to retch or even vomit. As the result of coughing, often, the voice of dogs with laryngitis becomes hoarse, or they may lose the ability to use their voice at all. Other than fever, dogs normally show no other symptoms. In severe cases or in chronic conditions heavy breathing may occur. Affected dogs also eat grass sometimes.
In most cases laryngitis is brought about by bacterial or viral infection. Furthermore, it may result from over-exhaustion of the larynx, i.e. after long episodes of barking. Exposure to dust, smoke or irritating fumes as well as inhaled foreign bodies, may also adversely affect the esophagus.
Diagnosing laryngitis is rather simple. An easily provoked coughing reflex is always a sign of the disease. By examining the larynx with an endoscope your vet can check for signs of inflammation. If the condition is acute, symptoms often regress immediately after treatment is initiated. Antitussiva may be administered to suppress the coughing reflex and promote healing. Also, having your pet inhale chamomile can be done concurrently. In chronic conditions a prognosis for a full recovery is more difficult to make. Chronic laryngitis can be difficult to treat and require medication to be administered for weeks. Along with the same treatment used in acute cases, the administration of corticosteroids can be helpful. In very severe cases with respiratory distress sometimes surgery is necessary.
Acute laryngitis does not usually require immediate medical attention. If the cough does not improve after administering inhalation or the use of cough suppressants, you should consult a veterinarian within the next days. If symptoms like respiratory distress develop, your dog should be examined by at veterinarian as soon as possible.