Retrospective Study

Epiglottic retroversion in nine dogs

  • K. Van Ginneken
  • B. Van Goethem
  • N. Devriendt
  • T. Bosmans
  • H. de Rooster


Epiglottic retroversion (ER) is an uncommon and poorly understood disorder of the upper respiratory tract in small breed dogs. In this retrospective study, perioperative characteristics, surgical technique, outcome, and complications in nine dogs that underwent surgical treatment for ER and/or concurrent upper respiratory tract disorders, were evaluated. The most frequently reported clinical symptoms were chronic intermittent inspiratory stridor (89%), exercise intolerance (78%), and dyspnea (67%). Concurrent respiratory disorders were highly prevalent (78%). Five dogs initially underwent a temporary epiglottopexy and two a permanent epiglottopexy. In two dogs, both suffering from concurrent laryngeal paralysis, only a unilateral cricoarytenoid lateralization was performed. After initial clinical improvement, temporary and permanent epiglottopexy eventually failed in 4/6 dogs (67%) that were available for follow-up, necessitating partial epiglottectomy as revision surgery. This resulted in a successful long-term outcome in 5/6 of these dogs (83%). In the dogs with primary ER or in cases where the presence of secondary ER led to significant respiratory symptoms, partial epiglottectomy as a primary surgical technique appeared to be a more permanent treatment option than epiglottopexy. Both dogs with surgically corrected concurrent laryngeal paralysis without epiglottopexy or epiglottectomy showed clinical improvement. This might indicate that, in case of secondary ER, positive results can be achieved after management of the underlying respiratory disorder.

How to Cite:

Van Ginneken, K., Van Goethem, B., Devriendt, N., Bosmans, T. & de Rooster, H., (2020) “Epiglottic retroversion in nine dogs”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 89(3), 152-158. doi:

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Published on
29 Jun 2020
Peer Reviewed