A collapsed trachea, also known as a tracheal collapse, is a condition in which the walls of the trachea (windpipe) become weak and collapse inward, making it difficult for air to flow through the airway. This can be caused by a number of factors, including chronic coughing, obesity, and certain breeds of dogs that are predisposed to the condition, such as small and toy breeds, and brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed dogs) like Pekingese, Pugs, and Shih Tzus.
It’s important to note that a collapsed trachea is a progressive condition that can be managed but not cured, therefore early diagnosis and treatment is important to improve the quality of life of affected pets.
5 common signs that your pet may have a Collapsed Trachea
A persistent, honking cough is one of the most common signs of a collapsed trachea in dogs. This cough may be worse when the dog is excited or exercised.
2. Shortness of breath
Dogs and cats with a collapsed trachea may have difficulty breathing, especially during exercise or when excited.
3. Gagging or choking
A collapsed trachea can cause gagging or choking, especially when the dog is eating or drinking.
4. Blue or gray gums
Lack of oxygen (or hypoxia) can cause the gums to turn blue or gray, which can be a sign of a collapsed trachea.
5. Weight loss
Dogs with a collapsed trachea may lose weight due to difficulty eating or breathing.
How can I help my pet with collapsed trachea?
Treatment for a collapsed trachea in dogs typically includes medications to help open up the airway and reduce inflammation, such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids. Your veterinarian may also recommend coughing suppressants to reduce coughing and prevent further damage to the trachea.
It is also important to address any underlying causes of the collapsed trachea, such as obesity and brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed dogs) which may be predisposed to this condition.
Other important measures include:
- Keeping the dog at a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the trachea
- Avoiding use of a collar and instead using a front harness when walking the dog,
- Keeping the dog’s airway clear of smoke and other irritants
- Avoiding activities that may cause the dog to become excited or stressed, as these can worsen symptoms
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the trachea or to remove any tumors or other growths that may be blocking the airway.
It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s treatment plan and keep all follow-up appointments to ensure the best outcome for your dog.
Will Oxygen help my pet with Collapsed Trachea?
Oxygen therapy can be used to help pets with a collapsed trachea by providing them with additional oxygen to breathe. This can help to reduce shortness of breath and improve the overall oxygenation of the body. Oxygen therapy can be administered in several ways, including:
3. Portable oxygen concentrator
A portable device that can be used to provide oxygen to the pet when traveling or when the pet is outside of the home. Typically used in conjunctions with a pet oxygen cage or oxygen mask.
Oxygen therapy can help to improve the pet’s breathing and overall well-being, and can also help to reduce the risk of secondary conditions such as pneumonia. It can also help to reduce coughing and improve the pet’s appetite and energy level.
What is the life expectancy of a pet with a Collapsed Trachea?
The life expectancy of a pet with a collapsed trachea can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of treatment. In mild cases, treatment with medications and lifestyle changes can help control symptoms and improve quality of life. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the trachea or to remove any tumors or other growths that may be blocking the airway.
It’s also important to note that some pets that have other underlying health conditions, such as heart disease or chronic bronchitis, may have a shorter life expectancy.
In general, a dog with a collapsed trachea can live a normal life span with proper management and treatment. However, it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your pet’s specific needs and to monitor your pet’s condition closely.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all collapsed tracheas are the same and some cases are more severe than others, so the life expectancy will vary depending on the individual dog.