Here on the East Coast, we had a very warm (actually, hot!) July followed by a humid, icky August and September. That weather did not bode well for my old dog, Gizzy. But now that it’s October and much cooler, Giz is relieved and so am I. He was diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis, a congenital or age-related affliction which causes the dog’s vocal cords (larynx) to lose elasticity and become paralyzed. The summer heat made it extremely difficult for him to breathe with this condition.

Symptoms of laryngeal paralysis are hoarse barking, gagging, and excessive panting. Oh, the panting… Giz literally panted all summer. It got so bad that I had to sleep in a separate bedroom from him. Yes, we’re like an old married couple when the husband snores too much, he gets kicked out of the master suite!

Laryngeal paralysis is not only annoying, it can be fatal. The dog may not be able to breathe adequately. That was my fear with Gizzy over the summer. He seemed so desperate for air. I spoke with his vet about treatment but the only option is surgery to “pin back” the vocal cords. At Gizzy’s advanced age of almost 14, he was not a candidate for this surgery. Also, complications of this surgery can be aspiration or pneumonia if food is swallowed and accidentally goes into the trachea (windpipe) and into the lungs. I wasn’t willing to take that risk.

So here we are, surviving yet another hot, humid summer, Gizzy’s third one having this condition. Every summer I wonder if he’ll survive. Amazingly, he’s still with me. As I write this, he’s back in his favorite place on the second-story back deck with a panoramic view of the neighborhood. Because of the summer heat, he was denied that pleasure.

Welcome Fall! Thanks for bringing my Gizzy back to life.