Case description: 5 calves were evaluated for abnormal respiratory noise associated with variable degrees of respiratory distress.
Clinical findings: Tachypnea and inspiratory dyspnea were detected at initial evaluation in all calves. Endoscopic evaluation of the upper respiratory tract revealed enlarged and immobile arytenoids. Radiographic (n = 3) and computed tomographic (1) evaluation of the laryngeal area revealed images that were indicative of a large soft tissue mass at the level of the arytenoids obstructing the rima glottis. A presumptive diagnosis of arytenoid chondritis was made.
Treatment and outcome: A tracheostomy tube was placed in all calves. Medical treatment (with antimicrobials and anti-inflammatory drugs) was attempted in 4 calves after initial evaluation. Unilateral arytenoidectomy via a laryngotomy was performed under general anesthesia in all calves. Dysphagia and coughing were the most frequent postoperative complications. Three calves survived at least 6 months after the procedure. One calf died of a perforated abomasal ulcer 3 months after the surgery. Another calf died suddenly 1 month after the surgery of an undetermined cause.
Clinical relevance: Unilateral arytenoidectomy was a viable surgical treatment for arytenoid chondritis in calves. Further research in a larger number of affected cattle is needed to determine the advantages or disadvantages of this procedure over other surgical techniques.