Tracheal Collapse In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Closeup of an old and sick shih-tzu dog. Shih tzus are prone to tracheal collapse.

(Picture Credit: kicsiicsi/Getty Images)

Tracheal collapse in dogs is a condition where the trachea — also known as the windpipe — collapses due to the cartilage rings that support it losing 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:

  • A honking cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A reluctance to exercise
  • Gums turning slightly blue

Causes Of Tracheal Collapse In Dogs

One cute adorable sad dog face tired animal lying down with leash small pedigree dog in Italy street

(Picture Credit: krblokhin/Getty Images)

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

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 tracheal collapse, they’ll carry out a full physical examination. This might also involve placing a 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 of tracheal collapse, 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.

Has your dog ever suffered from tracheal collapse? What lifestyle changes did your vet recommend to help your dog deal with the condition? Tell us all about it in the comments below!