TRACHEAL COLLAPSE

WHAT IS TRACHEAL COLLAPSE?

Tracheal collapse refers to the flattening out of the windpipe and possibly of the bronchi. The trachea is made of multiple rings of cartilage that allow the airways to stay open and the patient to breath. Tracheal collapse is commonly seen in middle to older small breed dogs such as (Yorkshire, Chihuahuas etc.). Multiple factors have been associated with this condition such as genetic, environmental and overweight dogs.

HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY DOG HAS COLLAPSING TRACHEA?

Patients with collapsing trachea have a harsh and dry cough (goose honking), a wheezing noise and difficulty breathing that gets worse when they get excited.

WHICH TESTS ARE RECOMMENDED TO DIAGNOSE COLLAPSING TRACHEA?

Collapsing trachea can be diagnosed via x rays of the chest and neck, and endoscopy (fiber-optic camera) that visualize the inside of the lumen of the wind pipe.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR COLLAPSING TRACHEA?

Collapsing trachea can be managed with medications-weight loss (conservative) or with surgery. Medical management includes steroids (anti-inflammatory), cough suppressant, sedatives as well as creating an environment free of pollution (smoke, mold etc.). 

Unfortunately, collapsing trachea is not curative condition and will get worse overtime; Therefore, patients that do no longer respond to the medical management, surgery is indicated. 

Surgical management of collapsing trachea includes plastic ring, and metallic stents (spring like device) placement. The plastic rings are placed around the trachea surgically, and the stents are placed inside the wind pipe via endoscopy (no surgery). Both procedures prevent the wind pipe from collapsing.

WHAT IS THE OUTCOME AFTER SURGERY?

The prognosis for collapsing trachea treated with medical management alone is fair to poor, due to the progressive nature of the condition.  Around 60 to 70 % of patients treated with surgery and medical management improve,however, medical management will need to be continued for life.