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Tracheal Collapse in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Tracheal collapse in dogs is a condition where the trachea — also known as the windpipe — collapses. This happens when the cartilage rings that support the trachea lose some of their strength. This can result in breathing issues along with a persistent cough that is often compared to the sound of a goose honking.

Certain smaller toy dog breeds are more prone to experiencing this condition, including the Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, and Shih Tzu breeds.

If you see signs that your dog might have tracheal collapse, you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for tracheal collapse in dogs.

Symptoms of tracheal collapse in dogs

Tracheal collapse in dogs is a condition that produces the following common symptoms:

Causes of tracheal collapse in dogs

The cause of tracheal collapse in dogs is due to the weakening of the cartilage rings that support the dog’s trachea.

When this happens, it becomes much harder for an affected dog to get air into their lungs.

Treatments for tracheal collapse in dogs

If your vet suspects your dog is suffering from this condition, they’ll carry out a full physical examination. This might also involve placing light pressure on the trachea and noticing if this induces coughing or apparent difficulties with breathing.

In most cases, vets will use an X-ray to confirm their diagnosis. Once the vet confirms the diagnosis, the severity of the condition will determine whether a dog requires a course of medication or surgery.

In the case of medication, your vet might prescribe cough suppressants, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory drugs. If your dog needs surgery, the vet may use implants to help support the trachea.

In many cases, vets commonly advise the pet parent to focus on weight reduction issues. Additionally, the vet may recommend switching from using a collar to a harness.

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