Can a dog with a collapsed trachea have surgery?

Collapsing trachea can be treated medically, surgically, or by a combination of the two. Your veterinarian will discuss the various treatment options. Even with good control, most dogs will continue to experience at least some coughing throughout their life.

Dogs with collapsed tracheas sound like they need to be taken immediately to the veterinary clinic and may not survive to see the next day. But in reality, many dogs have healthy lives for years despite having a collapsed trachea (windpipe). Only at its most severe stage is the condition life-threatening.

A collapsed trachea can be managed with medication, lifestyle changes, and occasionally surgery even though there is no cure. Continue reading to find out what you can do to make your dog feel better.

Similar to a vacuum hose, the trachea is a flexible tube with rings of cartilage running down its length to give it structure and keep it open. When some of the cartilage weakens and the tube flattens as a result of your dog inhaling air, it results in tracheal collapse. According to Joao Felipe De Brito Galvao, MV, MS, a board-certified specialist in small animal internal medicine at VCA Arboretum View Animal Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois, this narrows the airway, making it challenging for your dog to breathe normally and causing coughing spells.

Efficacy of Tracheal Reconstruction in Dogs

Between 75 and 85% of the time, this procedure is successful overall. For those dogs, the treatment will be successful in achieving its objectives of promoting breathing, enhancing mobility, and improving quality of life. However, many dogs experience complications and require additional surgery because of how serious the surgery was. As a result of the condition’s advanced stage, the likelihood of long-term survival (1 to 9 years) is approximately 50%.

There are aggressive medical management strategies that can be used to lessen the cough and the inflammation of the trachea. Anti-inflammatory drugs, cough suppressants, and steroids must be taken in order to accomplish this. Bronchodilators and tranquilizers will also need to be taken. However, common side effects from these are depression and constipation. Yet, the real issues with this alternative treatment are two-fold. Firstly, they are palliative, not curative. Second, they might not be powerful enough to relieve pain and enable breathing if the collapse is severe.

Typically, the dog will be quarantined for 24 to 48 hours in order to monitor breathing and administer painkillers. Within two to three weeks of the procedure, the dog will require an examination. Any further checkups will be done only if necessary. While some coughing may still be present, signs of clinical improvement are frequently noticeable fairly quickly. Do not be alarmed by snoring, it is usual post-surgery. Depending on the dog’s age, the seriousness of the condition, and how well the surgery went, it could take weeks or months for the dog to recover.

Once returned home, exercise should be kept to a minimum. Exercise can be gradually increased after several weeks. In addition, avoid being exposed to extreme heat for two weeks. For the first few weeks, the dog should be fed soft food until the throat and mouth swelling subsides. Maintaining weight is crucial because dogs can easily gain weight around the neck, which could make breathing more difficult. A lean physique is vital to continued success.

Signs and Symptoms of Collapsed Trachea in Dogs

A dry cough that sounds like a honking goose is the most obvious symptom of a collapsed trachea. Other symptoms include:

  • Wheezing on inhalation
  • Coughing when excited, picked up, or pulled by the collar
  • Coughing during exercise
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Unfortunately, they are also exposed to strong bending and cycling forces because of their location. As a result, the rostral and caudal extents of the stent are vulnerable to kinking and granuloma formation in the tracheal wall. Additionally, these stents are extremely difficult to remove after deployment, and it is impossible to adjust a broken unit.

    History of Tracheal Stents in Dogs Flexible stents created specifically for people with lung neoplasia were first tested in dogs in the mid-1990s as an alternative to tracheal surgery. Although these units are flexible, they were not designed to withstand the amount of continuous flexion, extension, and cycling found in the thoracic inlet of dogs. Consequently, veterinary surgeons have struggled to prevent implant deformation, kinking, and fatigue fracture.

    The stent must be correctly sized for this technique to work. We examine the dog for a checkup and measure the collapse using fluoroscopy. Sizes are available on the company’s website. I personally put an order in for a stent that is 2-3 mm bigger than the normal intra thoracic trachea diameter next to the collapse. Ordering a stent that is too long will prevent it from adequately shortening if it does not fully expand.

    In addition, the author modified the spiral ring technique by using a prosthesis made from a silicone endotracheal tube that had a spring insert. The tracheal ring diameter determines the internal diameter of the ring. Application of the prosthesis is done carefully so as not to impair the larynx or trachea’s vascular or nerve supply.

    A very small cross-sectional area of the functional tracheal lumen and high airway resistance are the results of tracheal collapse. On inspiration, abnormal cervical tracheal rings collapse, whereas those in the thoracic trachea collapse on expiration. Chronic hypoxia and this increase in resistance increase the right ventricle’s workload, which may cause the right side of the heart to enlarge (hypertrophy).


    Can a dog with collapsed trachea go under anesthesia?

    Laryngeal examination and endoscopy require sedation or general anesthesia. In patients with tracheal collapse, anesthesia can be life threatening. Clinicians need to carefully assess whether these two diagnostic procedures are necessary and whether the risk of anesthetic induction is justified.

    Can anything be done for a dog with a collapsed trachea?

    The majority of dogs with tracheal collapse can be managed with medication and preventative measures like losing weight, walking with a harness, and avoiding things that irritate the airways. The veterinarian may recommend medication to treat coughing and inflammation once a diagnosis has been made.

    How long can a dog live with a collapsing trachea?

    After being diagnosed, a dog with a collapsing trachea may live for up to two years. With surgical procedures, a dog’s life expectancy with this condition can be increased by two to four years or more. By taking extra care to assist them in treating their symptoms, you can extend the life of a dog.

    How much is surgery for a dog with collapsed trachea?

    Veterinarian Fees The fee for minor cases can range from $0 to $30 per month. The cost of testing alone for more severely afflicted dogs who need advanced diagnostics like scopings and ultrasounds can range from $500 to $2,000 in total. Stent surgery alone can increase the cost by another $2,000 to $5,000.