A dog can live up to 4 years with tracheal collapse.

But its life expectancy is significantly lower when respiratory distress develops.

This diagnosis sounds very scary, but it’s life-threatening only in severe stages.

With the right lifestyle and medications, dogs can lead high-quality, long lives.

Let’s get into all you need to know about tracheal collapse.

What Is a Tracheal Collapse?

A tracheal collapse is a flattening and narrowing of the tracheal tract.

It occurs due to the weakening of the tracheal cartilage.

As a flexible tube, the trachea has rings of cartilage running the length of it.

Similar to a vacuum hose, these rings provide it support and keep it open.

As a result of narrowings, your dog may experience episodes of coughing.

It can also feel difficulty breathing properly due to the constriction of the airway. [1]

A study with dogs’ airway malformations was conducted by L.R. Johnson and R.E. Pollard.

50% of the dogs had tracheobronchomalacia prior to the tracheal collapse. [2]

They acknowledged that most cases of collapse are triggered by an underlying airway disease.

Main Causes of Collapsed Trachea in Dogs

The origin of a collapsed trachea in dogs is unknown, but there is a genetic component.

Some breeds are more susceptible to the condition, such as:

  • Pomeranian
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Chihuahua [3]

Tracheal collapse typically affects small-breed dogs aged 4 to 14 years.

Signs and Symptoms of Collapsed Trachea

  • Having trouble breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Episodes of cyanosis (turning blue)
  • Gagging
  • Wheezing

The cough brought on by tracheal collapse typically has little phlegm and does not come with a fever. [4]

Exercise and water consumption are two things that can cause respiratory distress.

Breathing problems will come and go in a dog with tracheal collapse.

These violent episodes can linger for a few minutes until they end on their own.

Because of obesity and humid conditions, your dog may exhibit tracheal collapse symptoms.

Diagnosis of Collapsed Trachea in Dogs

Your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive medical history and physical examination.

Afterward, he will conclude and select the appropriate treatment steps.

Before determining the condition’s diagnosis, your veterinarian may need to do several tests. [5]

Many conditions are ruled out via a chest X-ray.

It also aids in determining if the collapse is occurring more within the chest or closer to the throat.

Typically, a clinic or specialized hospital will do a bronchoscopy or a tracheoscopy.

A tool with a camera is placed into the trachea, in this case, to examine it under general anesthesia.

Fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray imaging, produces a live picture as your dog breathes.

It helps determine the level of bronchial occlusion and appearance of distress.[6]

Other testings consist of:

  • Blood test
  • Urinalysis
  • Lab panel
  • Heartworm examination

Tracheal Collapse Treatment in Dogs

The majority of dogs with tracheal collapse may be managed with medicine.

It can include preventative measures like losing weight, walking, and avoiding lung irritants.

Following a diagnosis, the veterinarian may provide medicine to treat inflammation and coughing. [7]

Your veterinarian might recommend the following drugs for light to moderate instances:

  • Antibiotics
  • Bronchodilators
  • Sedatives
  • Steroids
  • Cough suppressants

To stop the coughing and agitation, the vet may administer sedatives.

To break the cough cycle, some dogs might need to be heavily sedated.

Veterinarians might suggest Maropitant as a preferred medication to reduce airway inflammation.

When a dog’s breathing is severely compromised by a collapse, surgery is required.

There are two distinct approaches that might be used. [8]

For neck-based trachea compression, the initial option is a standard surgery.

To maintain the weakening cartilage, plastic rings are placed outside of the trachea.

The rate of success of the procedure is 75%.

A technique that inserts a stent into the airway to keep it open is another choice.

To access the tracheal aperture, the veterinary surgeon enters the patient’s throat.

He is directed on where to put the stent by ongoing X-ray scans.

Prognosis of Tracheal Collapse in Dogs

Many animals that were found early in the course of the disease have a fair outlook.

You can anticipate the periodic coughing spells.

Weight management is crucial to having a long and high-quality life. [9]

Obesity significantly lowers the long-term prognosis for all tracheal collapse clients.

To stop the condition from progressing, surgeons fix any airway malformations.

In most cases, this includes an enlarged soft palate in pets.

When tracheal collapse is extensive, it can develop into a serious, fatal issue.

Periods of excruciating coughs and pulmonary distress are bad for the prognosis. [10]

Can a Dog Survive a Tracheal Collapse?

Yes, a dog can survive a tracheal collapse.

The survival rate depends on the age and severity of the collapse cases.

X-rays and tracheoscopy help determine the seriousness of the collapse.

Dog’s life can be prolonged with the right medications and in severe cases- surgery.