Upper airway obstruction in norwich terriers: 16 cases

L. R. Johnson, P. D. Mayhew, M. A. Steffey, G. B. Hunt, A. H. Carr, B. C. Mckiernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Norwich Terriers have grown increasingly popular as show animals and pets, and awareness of respiratory problems within the breed is growing. Objective: To describe components of obstructive upper airway syndrome in a nonbrachycephalic terrier breed. Animals: Sixteen Norwich Terriers; 12 with and 4 without clinical signs of respiratory disease. Methods: Prospective case series. Physical and laryngoscopic examinations were performed by 1 investigator in all dogs. Medical and surgical interventions were summarized and results of follow-up examination or owner reports were recorded. Results: The study population was comprised of 9 females (6 intact) and 7 males (5 intact). Median age was 3.0 years (range, 0.5-11 years). Of 12 dogs presented for a respiratory complaint, physical examination was normal in 4 dogs. Laryngoscopic examination was abnormal in 11/12 dogs with redundant supra-arytenoid folds, laryngeal collapse, everted laryngeal saccules, and a narrowed laryngeal opening in most. Of 4 dogs lacking clinical signs, all had normal physical examination; however, 3/4 dogs had similar appearance of the larynx to dogs with clinical signs. Response to surgical intervention was minimal to moderate in all dogs. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Norwich Terriers suffer from an upper airway obstructive syndrome that differs from that encountered in brachycephalic breeds. Affected dogs are difficult to identify without laryngoscopic examination because of the lack of clinical signs and abnormalities in physical examination findings, despite severe airway obstruction. Care is warranted when anesthetizing Norwich Terriers because of the small size of the laryngeal opening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1409-1415
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Anesthesiology
  • Computed tomography
  • Genetics
  • Larynx
  • Pharynx
  • Respiratory tract endoscopy
  • Respiratory tract surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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