Canine Cordectomy: Dog Bark Surgery Explained

Canine cordectomy, also known as vocal cordectomy or de-barking is a selective surgery which involves the removal of tissue around the vocal cords to prohibit barking. There are many reasons why an owner will consider de-barking their dog.

Some dogs may be chronic barkers even after the best training. There are also times when a humane society can order you to de-bark your dog due to neighbor complaints. In any case vocal cordectomy should only be done if all other actions to correct this have failed.

Cordectomy Surgery

There are two surgical procedures that your veterinarian may use when de-barking your dog.

  • The most common de-barking procedure is through the voice box (larynx). This process allows your veterinarian to have a better view of the vocal cords, allowing more tissue to be removed. Going through the airway will also result in little or no scar tissue. This method is more expensive but recommend.
  • Another de-barking procedure is through the mouth. This procedure is less expensive and may result in an incomplete removal of the tissues, another surgery many need to be preformed.

De-barking your dog will not stop your dog from wanting to bark. The surgery will only modify his bark. He will have a softer hoarse sounding bark that may be more tolerable for you.

Complications with Cordectomy Surgery

With all surgeries, there could be risk. Along with the anesthesia risk, bleeding and infection could pose a threat. Extensive postoperative care is necessary for a complete recovery. Scar tissue may develop in the airways causing an obstruction resulting in additional problems and further treatment. Be-barking your dog may be a simple solution to your dogs barking problem, but it is noted that dogs may regain their bark after 2 to 3 years resulting in additional surgery.

What to Consider before Cordectomy Surgery

Simple training techniques should be used before vocal cordectomy is considered. You should first establish why your dog is barking.

  • Is he bored? New toys should always be given to your dog every few months to keep him occupied.
  • Is he lonely? Spend more time with your dog by taking him on walks and playing ball with him. This will also tire him out leaving him with no desire to bark.
  • Is he unhealthy? Fleas, allergies and sickness can all lead to your dog being uncomfortable. Routine check ups are recommended.
  • Is he a friendly or territorial barker? Most dogs will bark to greet people or let you know when someone is at your house, but they must also know when to stop. Commands like “enough” can be taught so he knows when it is okay to stop barking. Rewards should always be given when training your dog.

In many states it is illegal to de-bark a dog. If you are considering de-barking your dog,you should check with your state veterinary association to see it vocal cordectomy is permitted in your state. This will also give you information on local veterinarians that perform this procedures.