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Dog tracheal collapse: symptoms, treatment, and prognosis

Collapsing trachea in a dog

Collapsing trachea in a dog (collaps tracheae) is a condition known to many miniature breed owners, especially Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas.

Paroxysmal cough in a dog, especially in moments of excitement, strange "gagging" and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections occurring in adult or older miniature dogs, focus the attention of the examining veterinarian on the trachea.

In this study, I will explain what it is tracheal collapse in dogs, what are its degrees of severity, when to introduce treatment and what are the types of therapy for this pathology.

I will also describe the most common complications that may arise in the disease, as well as those resulting from surgical intervention.

  • What is dog tracheal collapse?
  • How the trachea is built and how dogs breathe?
  • Dog tracheal degeneration
    • Pathophysiological consequences of tracheal collapse
  • Dog trachea collapses: prevalence
  • Tracheal incidence in dogs: causes
  • Dog trachea collapses: symptoms
  • Dog tracheal collapse: diagnosis
    • Neck and chest x-ray
    • Fluoroscopy
    • Larygnotracheobronchoscopy
    • Laboratory tests
  • Classification of tracheal collapse
    • 1st degree
    • 2nd degree
    • 3rd degree
    • 4th degree
  • Dog tracheal collapse treatment
    • Conservative treatment
    • Surgical treatment
  • Postoperative management
  • Complications after insertion of the stent
    • Cough
    • Increased granulation tissue inside the stent
    • Formation of a membrane in the initial part of the stent
    • Stent rupture
    • Stent displacement
    • Tracheal collapse in front of or behind the stent; bronchial collapse
    • Compression necrosis due to insertion of an implant of too large diameter
  • Handling the patient at home
  • What to do if you pass out at home?
  • Prognosis

What is dog tracheal collapse?

Collapsing trachea in a dog is chronic, progressive and irreversible a disease of the middle airway and sometimes the main bronchi.

It consists in a gradual decrease in the lumen of the trachea and the emergence of secondary respiratory disorders.

As a rule, it affects miniature dog breeds such as the york and chihuahua, with coughing being the most characteristic symptom.

How the trachea is built and how dogs breathe?

The trachea is a flexible tubular organ that begins just behind the larynx and bifurcates into the main bronchus.

Its partially rigid wall is made of a series of small cartilage rings (35-45 in number), which constitute the scaffolding of the organ and ensure its patency.

It is these rings that keep the trachea open all the time, and the air can reach the lungs without obstruction and be exhaled from them.

The shape of the trachea can be graphically compared to that of a flexible vacuum cleaner tube.

The only difference is that the cartilage rings are not completely "closed", but rather like the letter C on its side with the open part facing upwards.

The rings are connected to each other by annular ligaments, and on the dorsal side of the respiratory tube formed in this way, there is a membranous wall, connecting the free ends of the cartilages.

The membranous wall is made up of muscle (the transverse muscle of the trachea) and connective tissue and plays a very important role in this disease.

The severity of clinical symptoms will depend on its flexibility.

In healthy dogs, the lumen of the trachea does not change at all during breathing. This means that the diameter of the trachea is similar during both inhalation and exhalation.

Dog tracheal degeneration

In dogs with tracheal collapse, however, certain degenerative processes occur in the tracheal rings, which are manifested in the weakening of their elasticity.

As a result, the cartilaginous rings gradually unfold and change their shape.

The ends of the cartilages move away from each other, which forces stretching, laxity and, consequently, collapse of the membranous wall.

In terms of histology, degenerative processes take place in cartilage, there is a decrease in cellular elements, chondroitin sulfate, glucosaminoglycans and calcium content.

Normal hyaline cartilage is replaced by fibrous cartilage and collagen fibers.

Thus, the tracheal rings lose their natural stiffness and the ability to maintain the correct shape. The round trachea takes a flattened form - most often dorso-ventrally (there are rare cases of lateral flattening of the tracheal lumen).

The collapse can occur focally - in one place, it can also spread to larger sections.

In law 50% cases of tracheal incidence are accompanied by bronchial collapse of various degrees, a every third patient is additionally diagnosed with collapse or paralysis of the larynx.

Pathophysiological consequences of tracheal collapse

The mere occurrence of a collapse of the trachea is just one of the many health problems of our patients

Different degrees of narrowing of the lumen of the trachea are accompanied by a number of complications and consequences that further aggravate the pathological condition and are the cause of complications.

This is known as vicious circle of pathophysiology, in which one malfunctioning element gives rise to another.

What happens when it goes away to the narrowing of the lumen of the trachea?

During the process of collapse of the tracheal cartilage, it first appears cough.

It is more or less intense, less frequent or more frequent, moist or dry, but when it becomes chronic - it always leads to an increase in the dog's breathing effort.

Breathing becomes faster, negative pressure in the pleural cavity increases, which further increases the difficulty in breathing.

As a result of conditions in the upper respiratory tract, damage occurs to the snap epithelium lining the respiratory tract, resulting in weakening of local immune mechanisms.

Such mucosa becomes susceptible to all kinds infections.

Develops inflammation, the mechanisms involved in clearing the airways are weakened, inflammatory secretion accumulates, which intensifies the cough even more. This pathological spiral now becomes a self-fueling vicious cycle that the body cannot cope with on its own.

Inflammation of the tracheal mucosa and cough lead to an even greater restriction of patency, and the negative pressure conditions in the chest somehow "suck" the already weakened wall of the trachea into its lumen.

Due to permanent inflammation of the airways and respiratory problems, it may develop concomitant heart disease.

Dog trachea collapses: prevalence

Any dog ​​can develop a collapsed trachea and at any age, however, miniature and toy dog ​​breeds are predisposed, mainly:

  • pomeranian,
  • miniature poodle,
  • yorkshire terrier,
  • Chihuahua,
  • Maltese,
  • pug.

Patients are usually diagnosed around the age of 7 years, however, clinical signs may appear long before that.

In dogs of larger breeds, tracheal collapse occurs most often as a result of trauma, deformation or nodular changes inside its lumen or in its immediate vicinity

Tracheal incidence in dogs: causes

A single cause of tracheal incidence has not yet been established.

It is believed that the formation of this disease may be influenced by factors:

  • genetic,
  • nutritional,
  • allergic,
  • innervation disorders.

In etiology, several factors are considered that may predispose to an increased susceptibility to this condition. These include:

  • generalized chondrodysplasia,
  • lung diseases (chronic respiratory diseases, bacterial infections, kennel cough, etc.),
  • heart diseases,
  • overweight / obesity,
  • Cushing's disease,
  • tracheal trauma (intubation, compression of the trachea through the collar, degeneration of the tracheal cartilage),
  • upper respiratory tract spasm (brachycephalic syndrome or laryngeal paralysis),
  • allergens,
  • neurological disorders.

All of the above reasons "force " the body to increased respiratory effort, and this entails an increase in the negative pressure in the upper respiratory tract during inhalation.

As a result, the lumen of the trachea narrows further.

Dog trachea collapses: symptoms

Dog trachea collapses: symptoms

Although the first clinical symptoms may appear before the age of one, a collapse of the trachea may be asymptomatic for many years and may be accidentally detected during a checkup x-ray examination.

The symptoms develop gradually, even over several years.

Initially, there are incidental attacks of coughing after intense exercise, sometimes shortness of breath and cyanosis appear.

At this stage, patients are usually treated for upper respiratory tract infections.

As time passes, attacks of breathlessness worsen, the cough is paroxysmal, dry, loud, very easy to provoke when aroused, barking, pulling a leash or palpating the windpipe.

Breathing problems arise, breathing becomes faster, abnormal breathing sounds are heard.

These can be daybreaks, snoring sounds, sounds like a car horn with a gooseneck, etc.

The dog may also show gag reflexes - the owner reports that his pooch is behaving as if he wants to return something.

The longer the process takes, the weaker the patient becomes, less playful and slowly dies.

There are also cases of spontaneous loss of consciousness as a result of hypoxia.

All these symptoms are aggravated or triggered by high ambient temperature, excitement, intense training or obesity.

In some cases, even eating or drinking can result in coughing attacks. However, the most characteristic and dominant clinical symptom of tracheal collapse is cough, appearing and intensifying especially in moments of strong excitement.

In more advanced cases, it may be shortness of breath accompanied by various sounds from the respiratory system.

if collapse of the trachea occurs in the cervical segment - dyspnea increases during inspiration, in the case of collapse of the thoracic segment of the trachea, shortness of breath increases during exhalation.

Clinically, however, the most commonly observed dyspnoea is mixed - inspiratory-expiratory (especially at times of agitation or severe stress).

You can see what a pooch with a respiratory problem and collapsed trachea makes and sounds in the video below:

Primary Tracheal Collapse # 6-OA-Stridor
Watch this video on YouTube

Dog trachea collapses: diagnosis

The diagnosis is not very difficult.

Belonging to specific breeds of dogs and the typical symptoms of coughing may suggest that the trachea collapses.

On palpation it is easy to elicit a reactive cough and auscultation may reveal abnormal respiratory sounds.

However, as with any disease, the condition should also be confirmed with imaging tests.

Neck and chest x-ray

Taking X-rays of the neck and chest during inhalation and exhalation allows to diagnose the disease in 60% of cases of advanced tracheal collapse (reduction of the tracheal lumen by more than 50%).

Cervical collapse is seen during inhalation, while thoracic lumen of the trachea collapses during exhalation.

Additionally, chest radiographs show enlargement of the outline of the heart and / or features of lung disease in many patients.


This test enables real-time observation of the trachea's inhalation and exhalation behavior.

Thanks to it, it is possible to detect many cases of tracheal collapses, unnoticed during X-ray screening.


It enables direct viewing of the inside of the larynx, trachea and bronchi.

Thanks to this examination, it is possible to detect additional abnormalities, such as flaccidity, collapse or paralysis of the larynx, bronchial collapse, inflammation, etc.

An interesting fact is that about 30% of patients with tracheal collapse also have laryngeal paralysis or its collapse.

When carrying out endoscopic examination more than once, material is also taken for Pap smear and / or bacteriological.

It is a key test that allows you to accurately locate the lesions, as well as assess the extent and advancement of the lesions.

In sick animals, during inhalation - due to the prevailing negative pressure inside the trachea - its cervical part collapses and its thoracic part widens (negative pressure in the pleural cavity).

On exhalation, however, the thoracic part narrows, which is often accompanied by the widening of the cervical part of the trachea. Larygnotracheobronchoscopy is the most effective diagnostic method.

Laboratory tests

Laboratory tests such as blood count, serum chemistry.

As a rule, the results of these tests are normal or the abnormalities are negligible, unless an accompanying systemic disease develops.

Classification of tracheal collapse

Based on the results obtained during the tracheoscopy, the degree of tracheal collapse is classified into one of four categories (Tangner-Hobson classification of tracheal collapse).

1st degree

The lumen of the trachea is reduced by about 25%, the tracheal cartilages still have a circular shape, and the membranous wall of the trachea gently inclines into the lumen of the organ.

There are usually no clinical symptoms at this stage.

2nd degree

The lumen of the trachea is reduced by 50%, the tracheal cartilages are stretched, the membranous wall is stretched and invaginated into the trachea.

During the examination, the tracheal muscle wave is visible while inhaling, and the mucosa is sometimes hyperemic, covered with small ecchymoses.

Clinical symptoms accompanying the collapse of the trachea in this phase are usually moderate.

3rd degree

The lumen of the trachea is reduced by 75%, the tracheal cartilages become flat, almost straightened, the membranous wall is significantly stretched and inclined to such an extent that it is in close contact with the mucosa of the opposite surface of the tracheal cartilages.

On the surface of the mucosa, mucus is visible, as well as features of mucositis.

Advanced symptoms are common at this stage:

  • cough with cyanosis of the mucous membranes,
  • loud breathing with a strong work of the abdominal press,
  • apathy,
  • exercise failure.

4th degree

There is practically no light left in the trachea on examination.

You can see the "sticking " of the tracheal walls, the cartilages are completely straightened, even convexing inside the organ.

The tracheal mucosa shows signs of edema, inflammation, ecchymosis and mucus are visible.

The lumen of the trachea resembles a lying figure eight.

Patient exhibits noisy wheezing, severe cough, respiratory problems often associated with cyanosis and unconsciousness.

Dog tracheal collapse treatment

Dog tracheal collapse treatment

Conservative treatment

Treatment of tracheal collapse depends on the degree of collapse and the patient's clinical condition.

As a rule, grade I and II incidence does not require surgical treatment yet, and attempts are made to stabilize these conditions by conservative treatment.

The aim is to break the vicious cycle of pathophysiological changes with the use of appropriately selected drugs.

Thus, the destinations become:

  • limiting the inflammatory process,
  • elimination or reduction of cough,
  • reduction in the amount of exudate in the trachea.

For this purpose, drugs from the following groups are used:

  • Sedatives - these drugs reduce the anxiety associated with breathlessness seen with collapse and the severity of coughing, but are associated with decreased consciousness and worsening of collapse. The drugs of choice are:
    • Butorphanol,
    • acepromazine,
    • diazepam.
  • Antitussive drugs:
    • codeine - can cause apathy, drowsiness, dementia,
    • butorphanol - has a sedative effect.
  • Bronchodilators:
    • theophylline - relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi.
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics:
    • amoxicillin or amoxicillin with clavulanic acid,
    • cefazolin,
    • enrofloxacin,
    • clindamycin.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs - mainly steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They should be used only temporarily, in the short-term treatment of airway edema. Due to their immunosuppressive effect, their long-term effect predisposes to infections.
    • Dexamethasone,
    • prednisolone.

Treatment is aimed at limiting the deterioration of changes in the trachea, reducing the severity of clinical symptoms and, consequently, significantly improving the patient's quality of life.

Indeed, in the early stages of tracheal maturity, the goals are met for a while.

In advanced cases of tracheal collapse, acute respiratory failure may occur - the dog suffocates, turns blue, may lose consciousness.

In such situations, sedation may be necessary to calm the pooch down (panic related to the inability to breathe increases shortness of breath), and sometimes even putting the patient into general anesthesia (intubation and oxygen administration)

Pharmacological treatment usually gives a noticeable improvement for some time (usually about 1 year, sometimes longer), but due to the fact that tracheal collapse is a progressive condition, sooner or later conservative therapy becomes insufficient.

As the process continues, the degenerative changes in the tracheal cartilages deepen, and thus - the clinical symptoms intensify.

In the event of clinical deterioration, surgical treatment of the incidence of the trachea should be considered.

Surgical treatment

Tracheal collapse: a surgical treatment

It is used in patients with grade III and IV, and also in dogs with lower degrees of collapse who do not respond to drug treatment.

However, before a decision about surgical correction is made, predisposing factors should be eliminated as far as possible (e.g. anomalies occurring in the course of the brachycephalic syndrome).

Surgical methods:

Folding of the membranous wall of the trachea

The method is currently very rarely used, applicable to patients with lower degrees of tracheal collapse, especially in situations where the membranous wall is stretched or relaxed, but still with a similar shape to the normal shape of the tracheal rings.

In such dogs, the lumen of the trachea is open between breaths, narrowing it during inspiration (neck part of the trachea) or exhalation (thoracic part).

This treatment consists in folding and "pulling " the widened membranous wall with the help of appropriately placed sutures.

Unfortunately, in patients with grade III and IV of the trachea, the folding of the membranous wall causes additional narrowing of the organ's lumen.

Extracheal prosthesis - pzt

The method is quite traumatizing.

It consists in placing around the trachea and sewing to it special rigid polyethylene prostheses, which are designed to strengthen the tracheal scaffolding from the outside, and thus restore its proper light.

This method is recommended for cervical tracheal collapse due to better surgical access.

The median survival time after insertion of the ET rings is 4 years.

Due to the fact that this procedure is quite invasive, one should take into account the possibility of postoperative complications.

Possible are:

  • acute respiratory failure,
  • subcutaneous, pleural or mediastinal pneumothorax,
  • development of inflammation,
  • collapse of the trachea between dentures,
  • laryngeal paralysis,
  • pulmonary oedema,
  • pneumonia,
  • tracheal necrosis.

Patients should be closely monitored after surgery for these complications.

After the treatment, the animal should be restricted in its movement for a period of 7 days, in many cases a cage is recommended.

After this time, you can gradually increase the intensity of physical exertion.

Overweight or obese patients should be slimmed down.

Due to the occurrence of postoperative edema and local irritation of the sutures, coughing and increased respiratory sounds may persist for several weeks.

However, over time, most animals show a gradual reduction in clinical signs until they have completely resolved.

Most patients' quality of life improves significantly.

Endotracheal prosthesis / endotracheal stents - sec

It is the least traumatizing, bloodless procedure that involves placing special stents (silicone, nitinol or titanium with shape memory) in the lumen of the trachea.

This allows the tracheal lumen to be restored, both in the cervical and thoracic parts of the trachea.

The treatment is quick, non-invasive and uncomplicated.

The disadvantage of endotracheal prosthesis is, unfortunately, the price of the stent

The cost of the prosthesis along with the procedure of placing it in the lumen of the trachea is even two to three thousand zlotys.

Prior to the procedure of placing the implant inside the trachea, precise measurements of the diameter and length of the dentin are made.

In selecting the stent diameter, it is helpful to take an x-ray in the lateral position, preferably under general anesthesia.

The endotracheal prosthesis insertion procedure itself is performed under the supervision of fluoroscopy or tracheoscopy.

It is recommended to insert the implant along its entire length, because when a shorter stent is selected, the trachea often collapses in front of or behind it.

Postoperative management

After stent placement, hospitalization is recommended for a minimum of 24 hours, along with the administration of oxygen.

Most dogs may experience mild and / or chronic coughing, so administration of bronchodilators, antitussives, and analgesics is recommended.

Sometimes nebulization with fluticasone and salbutamol is beneficial.

It is often necessary to administer antiemetics and sedatives.

Remember that from now on the dog has a foreign body in the trachea that irritates its mucosa and causes a protective reflex in the form of coughing.

Until the prosthesis material "grows" into the tracheal mucosa, the body will react by trying to expectorate the stent.

Therefore, after the procedure - due to the risk of material displacement - it is recommended to limit the movement for a period of about a week.

In some cases, antibiotic therapy is also justified.

About 2 weeks after inserting the implant, it is good to check its position using an X-ray.

Subsequent postoperative checks are performed after 1, 3, 6 and 12 months.

Complications after insertion of the stent

Placement of an endotracheal stent is a life-saving procedure in patients with symptoms of respiratory failure accompanying severe collapse of the trachea.

Such prosthesis not only helps to control the life-threatening clinical symptoms, but also brings a significant improvement in the quality of life and allows the dog to regain its full fitness.

However, this procedure also carries the risk of many complications that can be life-threatening.

As endotracheal prosthesis is widely used these days, it is helpful to know what the possible complications are after tracheal stent placement surgery.


It is the most common complication that accompanies the collapse of the trachea in about half of the cases.

The reasons for its occurrence vary, but as a rule, the severity of cough results from the constant irritation of the receptors located in the tracheal mucosa.

The stent is treated as a foreign body that the body will try to get rid of at all costs.

What are the reasons for the persistence and / or worsening of cough with stents?

  1. Other postoperative complications (e.g. stent rupture, granulation tissue hyperplasia, or bronchial collapse).
  2. Incorrect placement of the implant or placing a denture that is too long. Cough receptors are located just behind the larynx and in front of the trachea bifurcation. Place the stent so that it is at least 10 mm from the larynx and the bifurcation of the trachea so that it does not irritate the cough receptors.
  3. Cough not caused by the prosthesis itself, but a consequence of accompanying diseases. Often stents are placed in older dogs that already suffer from heart failure, various infections or even cancer. In such situations, the cough is not a complication after the procedure, but only a symptom accompanying coexisting diseases.

Regardless of the triggering factor, however, if the cough occurs suddenly or significantly increases in severity, the stent placement should always be inspected by x-ray and endoscopy and, if possible, the cause should be removed.

Pharmacological treatment is also used in such situations.

Increased granulation tissue inside the stent

Granulation is a juvenile scar tissue that is formed when various types of wounds heal.

Due to the fact that a foreign body has been inserted into the trachea, the body defends itself by creating tissue that is to separate the stent from the surrounding mucosa.

Anyway, the idea of ​​endotracheal prosthesis is based on this tendency of the body - the stent should somehow "grow in", build into the tracheal mucosa.

Sometimes, however, the granulation tissue grows in an excessive and uncontrolled amount, leading to a reduction in the lumen of the trachea.

Why is this happening?

In many cases, the cause is a stent rupture, the sharp ends of which irritate the mucosa and provoke excessive rocking of the granulation tissue.

The foreign body perceived by the body in this way must be separated from the body's tissues as quickly as possible.

If small granulation hyperplasia is not necessarily clinical.

However, if it significantly reduces the lumen of the trachea, it causes coughing, respiratory failure and even death.

Even with such a serious complication, there are steps that can still help the patient.

Large lesions can be removed with forceps during surgery, and electrocoagulation can also be used.

Some authors also use argon probe coagulation.

Unfortunately, these treatments bring only short-term clinical improvement.

Additional pharmacological treatment is used to slow down the regrowth of granulation tissue, but in many cases it is necessary to repeat the procedure.

Unfortunately, this complication is relatively common and can occur at different times after the stent is placed - within a month of surgery or even after a year.

Formation of a membrane in the initial part of the stent

The literature describes a complication in the form of thin membrane growth in front of the stent, which limited the lumen of the trachea and, additionally, prevented the removal of mucus. It is a dangerous condition that endangers the dog's life.

The procedure involves incision of the membrane, which brings immediate improvement.

Stent rupture

A rare complication, however, it can have consequences.

The sharp ends of a ruptured stent can lead to perforation of the trachea and, as a consequence, to pneumothorax.

The problem with this complication is that a ruptured implant cannot be completely removed because it grows into the tracheal mucosa.

Stent displacement

One of the possible complications resulting from incorrect size selection of the prosthesis

Tracheal collapse in front of or behind the stent; bronchial collapse

It is not a complication, but rather the stages of the disease.

The tracheal wall, reinforced with a stent, has the correct lumen in the section corresponding to its length, while as degenerative changes develop within it, the parts in front of or behind the stent collapse.

In the case of bronchial collapse (usually the left main bronchus collapses), it is not possible to insert a prosthesis into its lumen.

Compression necrosis due to insertion of an implant of too large diameter

Due to the too large size of the stent and its strong pressure on the mucosa, the circulation in this area may be impaired, severe tissue anemization and, consequently, pressure necrosis may occur.

Taking into account the above complications, as well as the average survival time of dogs after insertion of endotracheal stents, it makes sense to delay the procedure as long as the patient's condition allows.

Many dogs manage to be kept relatively comfortable for quite long periods of time solely with drug treatment before a prosthesis is required.

Nevertheless, in the overwhelming number of cases, it is the only chance to save the patient's life.

Handling the patient at home

Pharmacological and surgical treatment is only one side of the coin.

An important component of the therapy is to provide the patient with appropriate conditions and avoid situations that may aggravate breathing problems.

It is worth paying attention to the following factors:

  1. Avoidance, preferably complete elimination of any stressful circumstances. As excitement and nervousness increase clinical symptoms, exposure to situations that increase anxiety should be minimized as much as possible. Calming preparations and products (available at veterinary clinics) may also be helpful. These include pheromone collars or dietary supplements with the content of appropriate amino acids, which gently "silence " the patient, without affecting his state of consciousness.
  2. Limiting excessive physical activity. The point is not to completely eliminate movement, but only to reduce it to controlled walks. During the walk, we should keep an eye on the pooch, and if he wants to run fast or go crazy with other dogs, do not let this happen.
  3. Avoid inhaling tobacco smoke. Dogs - just like humans - also feel the effects of "passive smoking ". Cigarette smoke irritates the already diseased mucosa of the trachea, increasing inflammation and coughing. Exposure to poisonous compounds in tobacco smoke often leads to the development of dangerous cancers.
  4. Eliminating exposure to smoke from candles, incense sticks. Electric air fresheners should also disappear from the dog's surroundings.
  5. Slimming the patient. Overweight is an important predisposing factor for the collapse of the trachea. In addition, each extra kilogram is a burden on the heart, which - in conditions of hypoxia accompanying the collapse of the trachea - may become insufficient.
  6. Swap the collar for a harness or harness. The collapsed trachea becomes very reactive. Constant pressure and irritation of the neck area not only increases the symptoms of coughing, but also aggravates the degree of collapse.
  7. Treatment of coexisting heart problems.
  8. Increasing the air humidity in rooms where the sick dog is
  9. Administration of cartilage strengthening supplements. These are the so-called. chondroprosthetics, such as.:
    • glucosamine sulfate,
    • chondroitin sulfate.

What to do if you pass out at home?

You can try to help the dog by placing it on the owner's hands in a back position with the feet pointing upwards.

In this position, the collapsed membranous part moves away from the opposite wall of the trachea, thanks to which it becomes possible to temporarily open the organ.

This brings temporary breathing relief.

However, doing so only helps for a while, especially since dogs do not tolerate staying in this position for too long.


The prognosis depends strictly on the patient's condition and the severity of clinical symptoms.

Thanks to conservative treatment, long-term clinical improvement can be achieved even in about 70% of patients.

However, it should be remembered that Canine tracheal collapse is a progressive disease, therefore, in most cases, the need for surgical treatment appears in the final stages.

For the reasons described above, surgical treatment should be reserved for patients with advanced stages of the disease, showing severe symptoms of respiratory failure, and for those in whom pharmacological treatment is ineffective.

In some patients, symptoms resolve completely after surgery, while in others, coughing episodes and abnormal breathing sounds persist.

But also in those dogs whose condition requires a prosthesis, there may be some contraindications.

This includes the general condition of the patient - dogs with severe multi-organ failure, advanced uremia or unstable diabetes mellitus, due to the high risk of anesthesia, should not be operated on until the accompanying diseases are under control.

The prognosis depends largely on the presence of coexisting disorders in the respiratory system, e.g. laryngeal collapse or paralysis, bronchial diseases, etc.

Patients with additional respiratory disease do not improve as much as patients with tracheal collapse alone.


Yorkshire Terrier dog - tracheal collapse

To sum up, neither surgery nor endotracheal stents can cure the disease. However, drug treatment can keep exhausting clinical symptoms in check for some time, and most patients' quality of life improves after surgery.

What is the cause of a dog's trachea?

It is believed that the development of this disease may be influenced by genetic, nutritional and allergic factors as well as disorders of innervation.

Which dog breeds are predisposed to collapse of the trachea?

Tracheal collapse can occur in any dog ​​and at any age, but miniature and toy dog ​​breeds are predisposed, mainly: pomeranian, miniature poodle, yorkshire terrier, chihuahua, maltese, pug.

What tests should be done to confirm that a dog has collapsed trachea?

A dog's tracheal collapse is confirmed by neck and chest X-ray, fluoroscopy, laryngracheobronchoscopy, and

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