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Tracheal collapse in dogs
Tracheal collapse in dogs

Small dog breeds have become very common these days. We are so accustomed to these four-legged friends that some simply cannot imagine themselves without them. For many people, especially single ones, a pet replaces the family, and is not a simple decoration of the interior, so to speak.

It's important to remember that dogs can get sick just like humans. Moreover, their diseases are similar and in most cases have the same manifestations. Particularly susceptible to pathological processes in the body are small breeds of dogs, such as Spitz, Yorkie and Chihuahua.

tracheal collapse

And, perhaps, one of the most difficult diseases can be called tracheal collapse. What is this disease?

Tracheal collapse is a chronic disease. It is characterized by an inherited deformation of the named organ, leading to its narrowing. As mentioned above, in most cases, small thoroughbred dogs suffer from this.

Why does tracheal collapse occur in dogs?

The pathological process that will be discussed is characterized by the fact that the lumen of the trachea undergoes narrowing due to loss of elasticity of the cartilage rings. They arebecome similar in appearance to the letter "C". Therefore, their rigidity disappears, naturally, a narrowing appears. While air passes through the trachea, its membrane becomes abnormally mobile. That is, when your dog has a collapsed trachea in its thoracic region, then when you inhale, the membrane protrudes. And during exhalation, it retracts, closing the space of the trachea. It is because of this that her obstruction is obtained.

If the collapse of the trachea in dogs begins in the cervical region, then the picture is reversed: when you inhale, the membrane retracts, and when you exhale, it protrudes.

tracheal collapse in dogs treatment

What happens when a membrane that has lost its elasticity touches the mucous membrane? The dog is coughing. If the gap narrows so much that the dog ceases to have enough air, then it becomes anxious, cannot find a place for itself to lie quietly. Due to shortness of breath and frequent breathing, the animal feels even worse. During this period, the dog can be restless. The frequency of respiratory movements increases, then a vicious cycle comes out.

With the development of the inflammatory process, the he alth of the dog is aggravated. When the trachea collapses in dogs, a lot of mucous secretion is produced, coughing begins, and deformations occur in the tissues. All of the above leads to problems in the trachea.

Which dogs get sick and why

For what reason this disease develops has not been studied enough. But it is known for certain that it can be primary - it appears in young dogs and is considered genetically determined, and secondary -occurs as a complication of diseases of the respiratory and circulatory system. Pathology always develops rapidly.

tracheal collapse symptoms

Tracheal collapse in Yorkies and other small dogs can manifest itself in any of the departments, and can also move to the bronchial tree.

In any case, the dorsal cartilaginous membrane and its rings are involved in the pathological process. When it loses elasticity, and the rings are in a normal state, the doctor makes a diagnosis - 1 and 2 degrees of collapse. If the latter are affected, then everything is much more serious. The doctor makes a diagnosis - a disease of 3 and 4 degrees.

Spitz tracheal collapse can be identified by a significant thickening of the cartilage rings, which leads to the loss of their inherent appearance. This is thought to be due to a lack of glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans in tissues.

The gradual thickening of the cartilage leads to a decrease in size. Consequently, the lumen of the trachea becomes much narrower. The most common cause of pathology is considered to be genetically inherited cartilage deformation. It is because of her that the tracheal rings soften.

signs of tracheal collapse

Quite often, the collapse of the trachea has no visible manifestations. This state remains until another problem appears.

Clinical manifestations of pathology

Almost always the course of the disease remains asymptomatic until specific factors lead to the development of a clinical syndrome.

Let's take a closer look at what constitutes a tracheal collapse. Its symptoms willas follows:

  1. Suddenly hysterical cough, aggravated by tension on the leash, tension, irritation of the trachea.
  2. With the progression of the disease, the cough intensifies, additional symptoms are added (you can read about them below).
  3. Difficulty breathing, dog choking on exertion.
  4. Sluggishness.
  5. Blueness of mucous membranes.
  6. Possible fainting.

Some comorbidities:

  1. Overweight animal.
  2. Heart failure.
  3. Inflammatory processes in the upper respiratory tract.

Over time, the disease progresses, especially if there are manifestations of it.

Who collapses more often

It mostly occurs in small dogs. In second place are medium-sized dogs, such as pugs. In this case, the frequency of diseases does not depend on the age of the animal. But various provoking factors and secondary diseases have a strong influence.

But still, since the disease develops for a long time, coughing is extremely rare in dogs at a young age, and with age it is observed more often.

What systems are affected by the disease

Signs of tracheal collapse when certain systems are affected:

  1. Respiratory. The infection affects the upper respiratory tract and there is an elongation of the soft palate. There is also a "fading" of breathing. Due to problems with cleaning the trachea, an inflammatory process occurs.
  2. Cardiovascular. With great breathing problems, pulmonary hypertension is added.
  3. Nervous system. Due to the lack of oxygen and vasovagal reflexes, syncope develops when coughing.


Collapse of the trachea in dogs, namely the cervical part, can be detected by palpation with fingers. It is difficult to define this disease.

tracheal collapse in dogs

The following studies are used for diagnosis:

  1. X-ray diagnostics. It makes it possible to recognize the collapse of the trachea, but there is one difficulty in this method. It consists in the fact that in order to recognize this pathology, a picture is often required in a certain projection, for example, when inhaling or exhaling. It is rather difficult to explain this point to an animal.
  2. Ultrasound. With this method, it is possible to determine the collapse of the trachea in a dog in the cervical region. For this, a special high-frequency sensor is used. The method is rarely used.
  3. Tracheoscopy. This method is considered the most informative. Its essence lies in the fact that the animal under general anesthesia is injected with a device called an endoscope. It gives the doctor the opportunity to view the trachea along its entire length, as well as to evaluate the mucous membrane. It happens that during this study, a small piece of tissue is removed for research, to determine cellular changes, the causative agent of the disease, sensitivity to antibiotics.


tracheal collapse treat

After research, it is possible to determine the degree of collapse:

  1. Normally, the trachea has an elongated rounded shape.
  2. First degree. It causes saggingdorsal membrane, and the lumen of the trachea becomes smaller by a quarter. The rings are normal.
  3. Second degree. The shell sags strongly, the rings are slightly flattened. Vessel space here is reduced by half.
  4. Third degree. The shell sags right up to the cartilaginous rings. Rings are flat. The space of vessels is narrowed.
  5. Fourth degree. The dorsal membrane rests on cartilaginous rings that become flat and everted, leaving almost no lumen.

How to heal collapsed trachea in dogs

Treatment with medicines for the named ailment is selected strictly by a doctor, depending on the individual characteristics of the animal. With a mild form of the disease, before prescribing drugs, veterinarians recommend specific measures: fighting overweight, using a harness instead of a collar, treating a secondary inflammatory focus in the respiratory tract.

Sometimes an animal needs to take medication to suppress breathing. And in some situations, tracheal collapse has to be treated with hormonal drugs.

If the dog's mucous membranes turn blue and it is breathing heavily, you should urgently take it to the veterinarian, because in this case it is necessary to urgently perform an operation to save the pet's life.

Surgical treatment

Sometimes when a dog has a collapsed trachea, the animal needs surgery. But they do it only when drug therapy does not work, and the life of the animal is in danger.

There are several surgical options for collapse. Their meaning is that instead ofan implant is inserted into the damaged area of ​​the trachea, which has all the necessary properties to ensure normal breathing of the dog.

tracheal collapse in spitz

On the one hand, this method is considered effective, and on the other hand, it can lead to various complications, such as implant rejection, infections, laryngeal paralysis and tracheal necrosis. If the pathology is not treated, then serious respiratory failure occurs.

Another surgical option is stenting. This is the installation of a self-expanding stent, which is a mesh made of chain-link with gaps. It is inserted into the trachea where there is a pathological narrowing. Thanks to him, the patency for air is maintained. To date, this option is considered the most effective.

If a Chihuahua's trachea collapses, antitussives, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, antibiotics, and anti-anxiety medications are used to treat it. The task pursued by doctors, first of all, is to cure completely or at least slow down the development of the disease in order to help the animal live its usual life.

Medicinal therapies: bronchodilators, hormones and antitussives

Drug therapy is prescribed depending on symptomatic manifestations, and bronchodilators are considered the main drugs in the treatment of these diseases, as they reduce spasm and intrathoracic pressure, increase the lumen of small vessels and give rest to the diaphragm. The drugs of this series include: "Aminophylline",Terbutaline, Albuterol, Theophylline.

Antitussives here include narcotic analgesics, which also have a sedative effect. This helps to control the cough center. "Butorphanol" just refers to the number of such drugs. The concentration of the drug is selected individually, depending on the course of the disease. Instead of "Butorphanol", the drug "Hydrokadon" is sometimes prescribed. But there is a significant drawback of these medicines - their circulation in Russia is very limited.

Hormone therapy is used if the cough is very severe. It well removes edema from the trachea and stops the signs of the disease. With prolonged use, secondary infection is possible.

If this happens, then antibiotic therapy is the ideal treatment option. The drugs are selected after the analysis of swabs from the surface of the trachea.

Sedative medications are given to excitable dogs to reduce coughing fits. Usually vets prescribe Diazepam and Acepromazine.

If an animal has cough distress, it must be urgently admitted to a clinic where emergency measures will be taken.

To improve the condition of the dog, you also need to properly consider a diet to reduce body weight. It is also necessary to improve the properties of the air of the environment (try not to smoke nearby, ventilate the room, use a humidifier) ​​and use a light helmet instead of a collar.

What will happen to the dog after the operation

Typically, when tracheal collapse is found in dogs, treatment is givenstraightaway. Often the only correct solution to this problem is surgery.

After it requires rehabilitation treatment from a doctor. Prevention of infections and chronic diseases is also a prerequisite.

tracheal collapse surgery

Stent checks are required periodically. To do this, x-rays and endoscopy are performed.

The owner of a pet must be aware that placing a stent does not cure the disease, it just helps to establish normal breathing. But the cough will remain, and the mucus will still accumulate, and the dog will cough it up.

Especially important is the establishment of normal breathing in the third or fourth stage of the pathological process. Otherwise, it will be impossible to do anything with the collapse.

Complications after placement of a stent

Complications after the named procedure may be as follows:

  1. Allergy to metal.
  2. Stent fracture.
  3. Changing his position.
  4. Persistent cough.
  5. Proliferation of the mucous membrane of the trachea.

To avoid complications, do not skip regular check-ups. It is they who will be able to help identify complications in a timely manner and take measures to eliminate them.

So we figured out what constitutes a tracheal collapse. Treatment for this disease should begin as soon as possible after the diagnosis is made. It is very important to help your pet in time.

Prognosis after treatment

Standard therapy promises a favorable prognosis aftercourse of medications and a normal quality of life for your pet.

In the surgical version, the effectiveness of the method is 81-91%. Better, of course, it is suitable for the treatment of young dogs. If the dog is older, then the effectiveness is reduced, albeit slightly.

The very severity of the disease does not affect the prognosis. Since in the fourth stage, in the case of proper treatment, very often doctors get a positive effect.

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