Tracheal Collapse in Dogs
The only real effective treatment is to prevent it from ever occurring

Tracheal collapse in dogs has no cure, but in the majority of cases, it is not life threatening.

It does have medical and home management treatments, while severe cases may need surgical intervention.

However, even with a surgical procedure, it will not be cured but it will bring a lot of relief to your dog.

Medical management over long periods of time is effective in over 75 percent of all cases, but if it cannot be managed or altered by surgery, it may be time for a very difficult decision.


To fully understand what tracheal collapse in dogs is, it is very helpful for an owner to understand exactly how your dog breathes.

Your dog’s respiratory system is made up of several parts, all of which must work in complete unison.

Wrinkles in dogsTracheal collapse in dogs has several very effective treatments

 It is made up of the nose, which is the opening, the sinuses, the air passages that contain the vocal cord, also referred to as the larynx.

It also includes the windpipes, also known as the trachea, the bronchial tubes, and finally the lungs.

This very sophisticated system has two major purposes.

First it removes the carbon dioxide from your dog’s body and then replace it with oxygen, and then act as a cooling system for their body.

This cooling function is extremely important, as your dog does not have sweat glands. Because of this, they cannot sweat or perspire to lower their body temperature when it overheats.

If their respiratory system is not functioning properly and they cannot cool down, it can be devastating.

This is the major reason you will see your dog breathing very rapidly when they overheat or they have exercised heavily.

This is the nature action of their respiratory system taking the warm air from their body and rapidly exchanging it for cooler air.

The basic act of breathing is accomplished in your dog by the actions of their rib muscles as well as the movement of a large internal muscle.

This large muscle is referred to as the diaphragm.

Their diaphragm than does exactly what it is designed to do in this process; it separates their chest from their abdomen, causing movement.

This movement is the final process that allows your dog to breath fresh air into their body. As they inhale, this fresh air moves through their nose as well as their larynx, and then into the trachea.

The trachea is very similar to a very rigid tube that is supported by extremely strong rings made up of cartilage.

Its job is to carry the air in your dog to the bronchi, where it than supplies the lungs with air. Tracheal collapse in dogs occurs when the trachea starts to lose its rigidity.

When it loses enough rigidity, it collapses when your dog is breathing.

No one really understands exactly what causes the cartilage rings to become weak to the point they can no longer support the trachea.

In fact, tracheal collapse in dogs, although it has been around as long as dogs have existed, was not fully understood until the early 1940’s.


Tracheal collapse in dogs is a condition that primarily affects small breeds. It can affect all breeds, but is extremely rare. However, in the smaller breeds, it is quite common.

The breeds at risk for developing this condition are first and foremost Yorkshire terriers, or Yorkshires.

However, it is also very common in Maltese, Pomeranian's, as well as Chihuahuas.

There is one another issue that is also a mystery to the medical community; it does not seem to appear until your dog is at least five years old.

The most common age that it really seems to surface is between five and seven years of age.


Tracheal collapse in dogs has just a handful of symptoms, and by far the first and most noticeable will be coughing.

Coughing in dogs is the worst sound you can hear your dog make, as in most cases it is the first sign you have that something is horribly wrong with your dog.

However, this coughing is slightly different as it has two very distinctive characteristics. The first is coughing in spams, and the next is a honking or goose like sound.

It is very similar to the same coughing sound you would hear in kennel cough, but if you do own one of the affected breeds, it will be much easier to understand what may be causing it.

Once this coughing begins, your dog may also show gagging like symptoms.

However, both of these symptoms are just the precursor to the real danger signs that will appear next. The next symptoms with tracheal collapse are trouble breathing in your dog.

This troubled breathing rapidly develops once the trachea collapses, but now you will notice it as a result of the coughing.

The deeper your dog tries to breathe and inhale, the more the trachea collapses, which in turn further restricts the air flow.

As it increase in severity, the more they will show the next symptom, tiring very easily.


There is no known cure for tracheal collapse in dogs, but there are several treatments.

There are other possible causes of tracheal collapse such as congenital defects, a chronic airway disease, or some type of trauma that has affected your dog.

It is estimated that in over 90 percent of all cases, it is caused by this collapse.

For this reason, almost every treatment that your veterinarian will try will be what is considered medical management.

There will be some occasions when tracheal collapse in dogs is a medical emergency.

In these cases, your dog will be given a very rapid acting steroid to reduce the inflammation that is occurring as quickly as possible.

This will then be followed up by cough suppressants as well as sedatives to calm and stabilize your dog.

If it is not an emergency, the actual form of treatment will all depend on how severe it is. If it is considered minor, your dog will only need a cough suppressant.

In will be extremely important to understand that your dog will most likely need this for the rest of their lives.

In this case  the only cough suppressant you should ever give your dog is one that is recommended by your vegetarian.

This is one case when natural herbs or homemade remedies should never be used.

With more severe cases of tracheal collapse, combinations may be required. This would include a prescribed cough suppressant, steroids, antibiotics, as well as an airway dilator.

If your dog is overweight at all, you will have to quickly manage their weight as the extra weight only adds to their trouble breathing.

You will know very quickly if these treatments are successful, as in most case it only takes two weeks to show relief.

If there is no relief after two weeks, your dog may have to have surgery performed.

There have been several surgical advances in the last few years with this condition, but if is recommended, you should ask your veterinarian if they are qualified.

If not, ask for a recommendation as this should only be done by an experienced surgeon.


Tracheal collapse in dogs is a very serious condition, and it does have a success rate of 75 percent or higher, even when surgery is necessary.

However, it is important to understand that there is no cure; just corrective actions that will help relieve your dog.

Some dogs may not be able to be relieved, and this can become a very difficult decision.

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