Stella's Story: Scars Blocked Her Airway After Her Bark Was "Softened"
Scroll down to meet Stella and her adopter in a short video.
Stella's first owner had her vocal cords cut to "soften" her bark, then gave her up. It wasn't long before her adopters discovered the reason she had trouble breathing, often collapsing when she tried to play:
Scars had formed over her airway.
Airway blockage can occur after voice-altering surgery regardless of the vet's skill, the instrument used or the surgical route, through the open mouth or an incision in the neck. Even a small cut results in scarring--potentially deadly when it forms in the throat.
Removing it is done through the neck, shown above. And scar tissue can re-form, requiring more surgery.
Fortunately for Stella, her adopters were able--and willing--to pay for very expensive, reparative surgery to remove the blockage caused by her "bark softening.". That saved her life. But nothing could save her voice. She is permanently mute.
If Stella is not in her family's sight, she can't let them know she needs to go out or is hungry. She can't alert them that she's in danger--or they are.
Over time, Stella's family has learned to interpret her non-vocal communication. Those who don't know her can't.