Dog Collapsed Trachea Treatment

Dog collapsed trachea is often the cause of obstruction of the airway and coughing in a dog. The direct cause is not known, but there are several factors that may contribute to the cause. Most commonly, the cause is likely abnormal synthesis of the cartilage in the trachea. The condition can cause a dog to cough uncontrollably and gasp for air.

This disease is most likely to affect toy breeds, such as the Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, Pomeranian and Maltese. It can affect either sex and can occur at any age, but the average age for the onset of tracheal collapse is seven years old.

Common Symptoms of Collapsed Trachea in Dogs

  • Dry coughing
  • Intolerance to exercise or activity
  • Gagging or gasping
  • Respiratory discomfort and irritation

How Tracheal Collapse Is Diagnosed

Tracheal collapse can be diagnosed several ways. These ways include:

  • A physical examination including a palpation of the trachea
  • X-rays taken during inhalation and exhalation will help identify any existing heart or lung problems
  • A fluoroscopy, which is a continuous x-ray that can be used while the dog is actually coughing or breathing, can be more diagnostic than X-rays
  • Tracheobronchoscopy

How Is Tracheal Collapse Treated?

Most commonly, treatments are performed in order to remove the cause of the coughing and breathing difficulties. Common treatments often include:

  • The dog wearing a harness instead of a collar, which reduces the irritation of the wind pipe while dogs are being walked on a leash
  • Avoidance of activities that can irritate the trachea and cause coughing, such as intense exercise, walking in extreme heat, and strenuous physical activity. Activities that do not cause irritation to the trachea should still be practiced and are encouraged.
  • Weight loss, which will lead to reduced coughing and gasping in overweight canines with the condition.
  • Treatment of existing diseases that are present, such as heart disease.
  • The prescription of cough suppressants may provide relief from excessive coughing.
  • Surgery is often performed to stabilize the wind pipe, but this often carries the risk of complications from the procedure.

It is very important to take your pet to a good veterinarian to be examined, diagnosed, and treated for tracheal collapse. Only a veterinarian will be able to decide the severity of the dog's condition and what medications should be given. Most commonly, medications that will help open up the dog's air passage will be prescribed. Cough suppressants are often prescribed as well, such as Torbutrol, to help control constant coughing in your pet.

To ensure your pet stays healthy during treatment, you should not allow your dog to engage in too much physical activity. If the dog does overwork himself, he can cause further damage to the trachea and more complications.

How to Prevent Tracheal Collapse in Dogs

Sometimes the condition cannot be prevented, and will occur regardless of what a pet owner does to prevent it. Even so, there are preventive measures that can be taken to perhaps eliminate the risk of your pet developing the condition. Keeping your pet a healthy weight, using a harness instead of a collar, and avoiding respiratory irritants such as hairspray may help reduce the risk of your dog developing tracheal collapse in the future.