Our bravery award this month goes to our very own nurse Mandy’s labrador, Zak.

Zak presented to the clinic for excessive panting, an inability to settle and in-coordination (ataxia) of the left hind leg. After careful examination, Zak was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy, which is a progressive disease of the spinal cord.

Unfortunately, after examination of his throat under anaesthesia, it was noted that there was also degeneration of the nerves that lead to Zak’s throat, causing Laryngeal Paralysis, which was causing the excessive panting.

Laryngeal paralysis is a common condition of middle to older aged dogs that involves the loss of normal function of the larynx or throat.  The larynx is a combination of cartilage flaps that sit in the back of the throat over the entrance to the wind pipe. There are muscles which attach to the larynx that allow it to open when breathing and to close when eating and drinking.  Laryngeal paralysis causes the folds to remain closed and breathing becomes labored and difficult.

The decision was made to perform a surgery known as a laryngeal tie-back. This surgery involves tying one of the cartilage folds in a more open position to allow air to pass.

Surgery was performed by Dr Tom and Dr Tracy and Zak is now recovering well.

Mandy noticed a difference in his breathing not even 1 week post-surgery, and Zak is now on his road to recovery!