Symptoms of Collapsing Trachea in Dogs

A collapsing trachea is a medical condition that will be manifested through coughing. The condition is more common in smaller dogs, due to the anatomy of their respiratory system. The trachea may lose its firmness and this will lead to difficulties in the breathing process.

Symptoms of Collapsing Trachea in Dogs

A collapsing trachea is also known as collapsed trachea and will manifest through the following symptoms:

  • Breathing problems, in some dogs even when performing easy moves or walking, in others only when exercising
  • Exercise resistance
  • Dry coughing, in attempt to clear the air passages
  • Discolored tongue (may even have bluish hues)
  • Blue gums, but only in severe cases; in a healthy dog, the gums will have a red or pink color
  • Changed sound when barking; the dog’s barking may sound like a honk

The symptoms may be milder or more severe, depending on how advanced the condition is. It’s important to notice whenever your dog has breathing difficulties, so that you can prevent the occurrence of more advanced symptoms such as blue gums and tongue.

However, a clear diagnosis is necessary, as the symptoms may also point to other conditions such as allergies, the presence of heartworms or lungworms or other respiratory infections.

Diagnosing Collapsing Trachea

A collapsing trachea can be diagnosed by performing an x-ray, which will reveal any possible abnormalities in the respiratory system.

If the vet suspects other causes that lead to similar symptoms, some blood tests may also be needed. The vet will perform a thorough examination of the pet, to see if there are other medical problems involved.

Managing Collapsing Trachea

A dog with collapsing trachea cannot be healed, but there are some management options that can help keeping the condition under control.

Medication can be administered if the condition is not advanced. The medications will help dilating the air passages and allow the dog to breathe.

If coughing is among symptoms, antitussives can be prescribed.

Overweight dogs that are affected by a collapsed trachea may have more complications, so the dog will have to get a diet that is poor in fats, which should allow him to lose some weight.

The dog should avoid any type of exercise, as this will only worsen the condition.

The dog shouldn’t wear a collar; a harness is a better option to take the stress off the trachea.

Prognosis for Dogs with Collapsing Trachea

A collapsing trachea is rarely a life threatening condition, but the dog will not be able to live a normal life. He won’t be able to exercise, as this will trigger breathing problems. This can lead to obesity and other problems.

In some cases, it’s important to monitor the dog, as when he is unable to breathe, he may lose consciousness.

The lack of normal breathing can affect the heart and lungs in the long run, as these organs will try to compensate for the improper respiratory rate.