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Laryngeal Paralysis Study

If you own a curly with Laryngeal Paralysis, you could help in finding the genetic marker for the disease.

The University of Wisconsin is seeking samples from dogs in the U.S. and Canada who are affected by the disease, which is believed to be inherited. Researchers hope to find the specific genes responsible for the disease as well as gain a better understanding about the progressive neurological and nerve changes resulting from the condition.

You don't have to live in Wisconsin or near Wisconsin to participate in the study.  The University will send you a DNA collection kit (for cheek swabs).

If you are interested in participating in the study: Contact Dr. Susannah Sample in the UW Veterinary Care genetics laboratory at

Read more about the study below. 

The Study

Laryngeal paralysis is a disease that most commonly affects older (9-13+ years) Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, although other breeds can also be affected. The condition results in dogs having difficulty with breathing and mobility, which can become life-threatening.


Laryngeal paralysis is most commonly the result of a generalized progressive neurologic disease, meaning that the condition affects many nerves in the body, not just the nerve associated with the larynx (voice box).

Although we now know the condition is genetic (inherited), the specific gene mutation(s) is not known. This study focuses on understanding the genetic mutation(s) that results in laryngeal paralysis and the changes nerves undergo as a result of the disease.


Who Qualifies


There are 2 groups of dogs that currently qualify for the study:

     *    Any dog with laryngeal paralysis

     *   Any pure-bred Labrador Retriever or Golden Retrieve over 11.5 years of age


What Happens

Dogs Who Can Visit Madison Wisconsin

Typically one visit to UW Veterinary Care, and no sedation is required. All patients receive a free neu- rologic examination from a board-certified small animal neurologist or surgeon. Blood will be collected for DNA analysis. Some patients will also qualify to have free bloodwork to evaluate thyroid function.

Owners are asked to provide pedigree or registration papers, if available.

Dogs without evidence of laryngeal paralysis may be asked to return for repeat examinations every 6-12 months, to assure they remain disease free.

Dogs Who Don’t Live Near Madison Wisconsin

We are looking for dogs from all over the US and Canada to help us with this study! If you would like to participate, we can send you a package with saliva swabs for DNA collection, a permission form and a questionnaire about your dog’s medical history, along with packaging to send material back to us.

Why Participate

This work is expected to result in the development of a genetic test for laryngeal paralysis. This test would be available for use by any veterinarian. A blood or saliva sample taken in puppyhood would identify dogs at risk for laryngeal paralysis. This will provide information for purchasing and breeding decisions and allow medical intervention to slow disease progression. Importantly, the results of this research in dogs are expected to help understand and inform treatment of human patients with a similar genetic disease.

More Information

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact:
Dr. Susannah Sample in the UW Veterinary Care genetics laboratory at

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