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Laryngeal Paralysis in Cats

Laryngeal paralysis is the failure of one or both arytenoid cartilages to open outward (abduct) during inspiration, thereby creating an upper airway obstruction. The syndrome has been well documented in dogs. Congenital and acquired laryngeal paralyses have also been sporadically reported in cats. This is a retrospective study of fourteen cats diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis treated by unilateral arytenoid lateralization surgery. Clinical signs noted on physical examination included dyspnea, inspiratory stridor, wheezing, change in voice, lethargy, anorexia, open mouth breathing, hind-limb weakness and dysphagia. The median age of cats was estimated to be 16 years. The cause of the laryngeal paralysis is often elusive. In this study, two cases developed laryngeal paralysis subsequent to trauma. Polyneuropathy and polymyopathy have been associated with laryngeal paralysis and five cats presented with progressive neuromuscular weakness or signs suggestive of this type of etiology. In cats that have signs of a potential polyneuropathy/myopathy, a full neurological evaluation is warranted. Seven cats had no identifiable definitive cause for laryngeal paralysis; therefore they were diagnosed as idiopathic in nature. Intraoperative and postoperative surgical complications were seen in 21% and 50% of the cases, respectively. No cats had recurrence of clinical signs. Based on these results, unilateral arytenoid lateralization appears to be a suitable method for treatment of laryngeal paralysis in cats. [VT]
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