Dog Trachea Collapse in Tulsa, OK: What it is and How to Help Your Pet
The trachea in your dog’s throat is a tube made of rings of cartilage. This cartilage is what keeps the throat open for swallowing, breathing, barking, and so forth. This part of your dog’s throat can get damaged for a variety of reasons, and some breeds are prone to dog tracheal collapse without an underlying cause.
Knowing what tracheal collapse is and how to help your pet can save their life. There are various early warning signs that this condition is present, and pet owners need to be aware of these signs so they can get their pet to the vet right away. While not immediately life-threatening in most cases, the sooner that your dog gets supportive care for this condition, the better. There are various degrees of tracheal collapse that your pet can experience as well, which means that the needs of these pets can vary widely.
Signs of Dog Tracheal Collapse
This condition often happens spontaneously in some dog breeds. However, any dog can suffer from this condition. It is thought to be linked with genetics, and the usual cause is that there are cartilage rings missing from the throats of dogs who suffer from it.
The common signs of dog tracheal collapse:
- A honking cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing when pressure is applied to the abdomen or neck
- Cyanotic (turning blue) or bluish membranes on and off
- Lack of energy
- Trouble eating or drinking
Dogs with this condition might cough, but they will not produce mucous or any kind of discharge when they cough. They might also not seem to be feeling poorly at all and then suddenly struggle with breathing and a lack of energy.
Breeds That Are Most Affected
If you own a Pomeranian, a Mini or Toy Poodle, a Yorkshire Terrier, a Chihuahua, or a pug, your dog will be more likely to have a tracheal collapse. These dog breeds are usually monitored closely by veterinarians when they are seen for other needs like vaccinations, just to check on the health of this part of their anatomy. Catching this condition early can help prevent long—term health issues related to it.
Grades of Tracheal Collapse
This condition is graded to express the severity of the problem. Grade 1 is very mild, and your dog might just have a slight cough from time to time. Grade 2 collapse is caused by a partially flattened trachea that is inhibiting during some activities. Grades 3 and 4 are more serious, and dogs with these grades of tracheal collapse might have a very flat or totally flat trachea that makes many activities difficult or even impossible.
How to Help a Dog with Tracheal Collapse
Treatment of this condition is usually done with preventive care and with the proper medications. Weight loss, using a harness instead of a collar when walking your dog, and keeping your pet away from things like dust and other airborne irritants are typically recommended. Your dog might also be given a cough suppressant, a bronchodilator, or even steroids to try and make the inflammation in their throat less.
Some dogs will need antibiotics to treat secondary problems related to their condition, and sedatives can be used in some pets to help control their activity level during times when their throat is more inflamed. Anxiety medications can also be very helpful for some animals who might be scared by their own coughing or inability to get comfortable.
Some dogs are candidates for surgery to correct the problem with their trachea. This requires a specialist surgeon, and there are many risks to this procedure. Extra tracheal rings are inserted in the trachea to hold it open or intraluminal stents might be used to keep the trachea from collapsing.
How is This Condition Diagnosed?
Collapsed Trachea is diagnosed by veterinarians using a few different techniques. Chest x-rays are often done to see if there are other reasons for a pet’s labored breathing and to assess the condition of the trachea. Tracheoscopy or bronchoscopy might be performed to look at the trachea from the inside as well. Fluoroscopy can let the vet collect real-time images of a dog’s breathing, and blood tests, as well as heartworm tests, are usually also performed.
Your pet will need long-term care for this condition, and your vet will want to be sure that all the other possible health conditions that can be secondary to tracheal collapse are not present. Providing responsive care is essential, and owners of dogs that have this condition will need to be sure that they are paying a lot of attention to their pet’s condition.
While this problem can be managed in many cases with medication, correct activity, and other supportive treatment, there are situations related to this condition that can be life-threatening. Pets with these problems are always at greater risk for breathing problems, lung infections, and worsening of their tracheal collapse. Working with a vet is key to ensuring that this condition can be successfully managed throughout a dog’s life.
Dog Tracheal Collapse Can be Treated, but it Requires Lots of Supportive Care
If your dog has been diagnosed with a tracheal collapse, you will need to work with a vet to be sure that you can manage their condition correctly. This can be a complex medical problem with many secondary health issues associated with it. These dogs need careful management and attention to detail in their care routine. Working with a vet that is familiar with these kinds of cases is also important, and surgery should only be performed by a very experienced veterinarian.
Tracheal collapse can be managed in most cases, and your dog should have a happy and healthy life overall. Knowing more about this condition can help you to recognize it and be aware of the needs of your pet that has been diagnosed with it.
Should your pet ever experience an emergency, Animal Emergency Center is here. Simply call 918-665-0508!