Collapsed Trachea in Dogs – Symptoms and Remedies
A large portion of families in the US and all over the world are dog lovers. Their passion for dogs is ultimately inspiring and sometimes, they even treat their little pets as family – or better. Because of this, veterinarians and pet lovers alike are very keen when it comes to diseases related to pets. There has been one condition that has been a threat to dogs and their owners over the past few years and this involves tracheal collapse.
Collapsed Trachea in dogs is a chronic or progressive disease that affects the windpipe. Imagine the trachea as a hose that keeps the airways open. From here, you already know that it is essential to keep it healthy and that any damage could be fatal. There are rings that form the trachea which are C in shape and the dorsal membrane running along it.
What is the cause of Collapsed Trachea in Dogs?
So, the question is, how does the trachea of dogs collapse. You may not know it but the trachea of your pet might actually have very soft C-rings that they start to look like U-rings instead. There are really some puppies that are born with soft C-rings and as the membrane stretches, the rings become narrower, collapse and eventually close.
In other cases, collapsed trachea may not be inborn. Sometimes, it could be a deficiency in nutrients such as calcium. Thus, you can avoid this by making sure your dog gets the right amount of calcium through supplements and adjusting their diet.
Sometimes, acquired collapsed trachea could be a side effect of conditions such as respiratory or heart disease. It is important to take caution because you never know when it could seriously obstruct the airway of your dog and be fatal to them.
What are the symptoms of Collapsed Trachea in Dogs?
It is important to know that a Collapsed Trachea is a condition that mostly happens in small breed dogs or toy dogs such as mini pinschers, Chihuahuas, poodles, pomapoos and the like. You must be very keen with preventing the condition if you own small breed dogs.
The first thing to look out for is dry cough. Usually, a dry cough may sound like a bark or honk. But of course, dogs bark all the time so it could be hard to determine. If the cough starts to sound like a honk, then that is one warning sign and you should not let it get worse.
The honk just means that whenever you dog coughs, pressure is being applied to his trachea – the same thing that happens when you pull the collar of your dog. When this symptom is ignored, it will get worse and you will notice your dog unable to play so much anymore. They get very tired and experience exercise intolerance because they are unable to breathe properly.
Another symptom is seeing them gag while drinking and eating. Wheezing sounds like those similar to asthma can be attributed to a problem in the heart which can cause a collapsed trachea.
How can a Collapsed Trachea be diagnosed?
Once you have noticed all the symptoms, it’s time to see if your dog has indeed this dreaded condition. The most common way to figure this out is by getting an X-ray. To further investigate, a fluoroscopy may be done see how the trachea really moves and how damaged it is.
An endoscopy is the most in depth manner of checking for a Collapsed trachea as a camera will be inserted in the airway. It can also be used to extract culture from the trachea itself.
Note that it is important for you to go to a vet you can trust because a collapsed trachea can easily be misdiagnosed. My dog had kennel cough and then diagnosed with a collapsed trachea. With the help of prescription medication, he’s lived with it all his life.
What are the treatment options for a Collapsed Trachea?
Your dog will be probably be started with cough suppressants as long as the damage is not to worse. No neck pressure is allowed so collars will not be allowed for the mean time. Medical management is also encouraged but will depend on the vet’s advice. If the collapse is very deep and reaches the chest, a stent will be placed and in worst cases, surgery is required to repair the damage but only vets that are certified surgeons are allowed to do it.
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