Medical care during a breathing crisis often includes:
- oxygen therapy
- external cooling
- possibly intubation and assisted breathing for a short time
With this brief but effective therapy, most patients will rest comfortably and return to their pre-crisis state. Unfortunately, most patients that have reached a crisis point will continue to suffer these breathing episodes because their airway is ineffective.
Many different approaches have been used to surgically treat laryngeal paralysis. Over the years and through the monitoring of many postoperative patients, one technique has remained at the top of the list of procedures with good success and few complications, the Unilateral Arytenoid Lateralization or “Tieback”.
In the tieback procedure, a suture is used to permanently pull the wall of the airway open on one side of the larynx. To minimize the chance of fluids or food entering the airway, only one side is pulled open enough to prevent airway compromise and future breathing crises.
In the hands of an experienced ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeon, this is typically a relatively straight-forward, minimally invasive surgical procedure. The incision is only 3-4 inches on one side of the neck and well-planned pain management can reduce or eliminate post-operative pain directly associated with surgery.
There are several other surgical treatment options that your veterinary surgeon may discuss with you. These options are usually considered if a tieback is not a viable option. Talk with your primary care veterinarian and pursue a consult with a veterinary surgeon to fully explore your options.