Laryngeal Paralysis is a condition in which the nerves and muscles that control the arytenoid cartilages (and so ultimately the vocal folds) become impaired in their function. During inspiration they open and during swallowing they close so impaired function leads to an increased risk of aspiration of food when eating and an inability to fully oxygenate when exercising.
It is usually an acquired disease but can be congenital, and is usually seen in large breed dogs such as Labs, Golden Retrievers, Newfies, and St Bernards. The cause is often unknown and more recently it is being associated with a more generalized degenerative neuromuscular disorder meaning that more than just the patient's breathing is affected. Patients with Laryngeal Paralysis are often older, have voice changes (hoarse bark), decreased exercise tolerance, noisy breathing, particularly on inspiration, and a cough or gag after swallowing or drinking water. A definitive diagnosis requires direct visualization of the larynx under a light anaesthesia and although surgical correction can sometimes be achieved it is often unrewarding.
If your pet is experiencing hind end weakness one of the first things you can do is look at purchasing a "Help em up Harness". They can be ordered online and may be invaluable as your pet ages.
This is something you can do for your pet when you are having some quiet time together or after the more challenging exercises. Move all joints/limbs through a normal range of motion while your pet is lying down on his/her side, and gently massage the muscles. If you are unsure as to how to accomplish this I am happy to demonstrate.
Laryngeal Paralysis is a degenerative disease and the most helpful thing you can do is to try and keep your pets muscles as strong as possible. Exercises can be done at home. The exercises I would encourage you to try are:
Some of the suggestions you may already using but if not then try:
This is very individual to each pet but regular acupuncture may be helpful with mobility and breathing so it is always a valid option.