Woman feared her dog would ‘drop down dead’ on walk after rare diagnosis

A woman feared her Labrador would “drop down dead” in front of her after he was struck down by a rarely diagnosed condition. Laura Dennis, from Nottingham, was left anxious and upset when her beloved 12-year-old pet dog Tucker found himself battling to breathe.

His quality of life became greatly reduced and Laura struggled to understand what was wrong with her poor pooch. She told the Mirror : “I was very concerned that Tucker could have a breathing crisis and collapse and suffocate in front of me, just because he was excited to see me or had got too warm on a walk.”

After lots of research and a referral from her local vet, Laura took Tucker to specialist animal hospital, Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in the West Midlands.

Surgeon Will Robinson took charge of Tucker’s treatment and recognised his symptoms immediately.

“Laryngeal paralysis is a rare condition where the nerve supply to the larynx (voice box) is affected,” Will explained.

“This unusual condition reduced Tucker’s ability to open his vocal cords when breathing in, resulting in exercise intolerance.

“In severe cases, this can result in respiratory distress, especially when the weather is hot or animals are overly stressed.

“It often occurs in older dogs such as Tucker and, as the changes are usually subtle and slowly get worse, signs are often mistakenly confused with old age.”

The decision was made to proceed with surgery and Will delicately operated on Tucker’s larynx through the side of his neck.

Tucker then recovered in intensive care under the supervision of specialists and was able to go home the following day.

“I’m delighted to say Tucker has recovered well and is making excellent progress at home and is back to enjoying life chasing tennis balls. Well done, Tucker!” Will said.

No-one’s more relieved than owner Laura, who has been devoted to Tucker since she adopted him from a small rescue centre in Wales called Lizzie’s Barn when he was just 14-months old.

“Tucker is so much better! He can walk again, he can play with friends, visit people and was able to compete in a Kennel Club rally obedience special class again,” Laura said.

“He’s even been playing at gundog training again and doing all the things that had gone from his life prior to surgery.”

Laura has paid special tribute to surgeon Will and his excellent team for transforming Tucker’s health and giving him a second lease of life.