During examination, affected dogs are typically bright and alert, unless they are experiencing severe distress. Dogs with severe cervical collapse may feel “square” on palpation due to compression of the costochondral junction during inspiration efforts against an obstructed airway; dogs with more severe lower airway disease will have pronounced abdominal musculature, similar to a “heave line” on a horse with equine asthma, resulting from expiratory pushing against the bronchomalacic airway with its expiratory collapse. For some dogs, a lung herniates through the thoracic inlet when they cough; for others, palpation of the neck documents abnormalities with the trachea itself. Some clinicians advocate gentle pressure on the trachea to induce a cough, which may or may not help confirm a diagnosis. If signs are intermittent, clients should be instructed to bring a video/recording of the sounds their dog is making, if possible. Common concurrent conditions include mitral valve heart murmur, obesity, and dental disease.5
Diagnosis of mild tracheal collapse usually involves history taking, physical examination, and minimal diagnostic testing. Moderate to severely affected patients may require additional diagnostics.
Some clinicians prefer that surgery be performed early, but it is wise to educate clients that no current option returns the trachea to normal. For a moderately to severely affected patient, it is prudent to offer referral for discussion of surgical therapy early rather than late. The 2 options for surgical management are placement of tracheal rings or an intraluminal tracheal stent (TABLE 2).
Tracheal collapse is common in small breed dogs and often associated with respiratory distress and/or cough.1 The severity of collapse may be largely affected by genetics. Severely affected dogs are usually recognized at a young age; less severely affected dogs may not demonstrate signs until middle or older age.
Fluoroscopy can be used to dynamically evaluate tracheal collapse; this technique documents location and severity of collapse. Disadvantages of fluoroscopy include radiation exposure and lack of widespread availability.9
Diagnosis of Tracheal Collapse in Dogs
Tracheal collapse can often be diagnosed based on a combination of signalment, clinical signs, and thoracic radiographs. If tracheal collapse cannot be captured on plain radiographs then bronchoscopy (Figure 1) or fluoroscopy may be needed to evaluate for a dynamic collapse. Other disease processes such as obesity, inhaled irritants, infectious agents, periodontal disease, recent intubation, cardiomegaly, bronchitis, and parenchymal pulmonary disease (e.g pulmonary fibrosis) must be evaluated as contributory factors and corrected if possible.
Don’t Smoke Around Your Dog
Don’t smoke around your dog … or even better, quit smoking (for your dog’s health and your own). It’ll reduce the stress on your dog’s respiratory system … and his trachea.
Every day your dog faces toxins — in the air, on the ground, in his water and in his food. Even in his home. It’s impossible to live in a sterile environment. But what you can do is an annual or semi-annual detox of your dog and his diet. This makes it easier for his organs to function. The organs and systems that get stressed the most from toxins and poor diet are the liver, kidney, skin and gastrointestinal tract. A detox gives these systems a chance to rest and replenish for daily life and any health situation that arises … like tracheal collapse.
Use environmentally friendly, non-toxic and unscented cleaning products.
What is the best medicine for collapsed trachea?
What can I give my dog for tracheal collapse cough?
- Cough suppressants.
- Steroids (oral and inhalant using an aerodawg device)
Can you give a dog Robitussin for a collapsed trachea?