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COLLAPSING TRACHEA

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COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  papaspugs on 7/2/2010, 8:17 pm

This is my guide to helping you through the many facets of canine collapsing trachea. I am not a vet and this information is not intended to diagnosis CT or be a substitute for veterinary care. And I know that these precious little creatures are our babies, but for simplicity sake, I am going to refer to our four legged friends as dogs. I have put this information together based on my own person experience or from the information I have received from others who have had CT dogs.

Collapsing Trachea: You may not have even known that a dog’s trachea could collapse or what that a collapsing trachea meant, until…someone told you your dog has CT.

Symptoms: Either your dog has a hacking cough or your dog has had synoptic episodes. Some dogs develop a cough over time. It starts out as an occasional cough and develops into a more frequent cough. CT is also characterized by the ‘goose’ honking sound. For my own personal observation, my dog would culminate the cough with a sound much like a cat hacking up a hair ball. Or the opposite end of the spectrum is that your dog has been perfectly fine, but has a synoptic episode where they pass out from lack of oxygen. Either way, it is scary and frightening to watch your dog go through this.

Diagnosis: Just because one vet says your dog has CT, you need a second opinion, regardless of how much you love your vet. Many a dog has been misdiagnosed.

· Observation: How many times have we taken our sick dog to the vet for them to miraculously recover? A dog’s adrenaline increases when they visit the vet and increases their airway and voila-no more coughing. I suggest getting a video of your dog coughing. Most cameras and cell phones have a video mode. Documenting your dog’s cough will also help you in the future access the progression of the condition.

· X-rays: Radiographs are the second line of diagnosis, but I say this with caution. An x-ray is capturing a precise moment. Either your dog inhaling or exhaling or something in between. Depending on the timing of the x-ray, your vet may or may not get a clear diagnosis. Some dogs have been misdiagnosed from x-rays. But I am going to contradict myself, and say that an x-ray is a starting point. Once your vet has some film they should consult with a specialist. They should be able to email the film and medical history for a consultation.

· Specialist: CONSULT A SPECIALIST! *** If your dog is critical, get to a specialist. This may be in the form of a veterinary college that has experience with CT or a private practice vet that has worked with CT dogs. A specialist will scope your dog. This is different than putting a tube down their trachea. They will inflate your dog’s lungs and insert a scope with a light and a camera to observe where the collapse is located and the severity of the collapse. They will also give you a grade of collapse.

Grade I 0-25%
Grade II 25-50%
Grade III 50-75%
Grade IV 75% & >


Options: Once you know what grade collapse your dog is and in what location-upper or lower or bronchial collapse you will have a better idea of what you are dealing with and make informed indecisions from there.

· Natural Remedies: this usually comes in the form of supplements and dietary modifications. Most supplements don’t have medical documentation to back up their claims so I would say to proceed with caution. There isn’t going to be an herbal cure to CT, but it may provide some relief for your dog. Or help to strengthen their body for good overall health.

· Pharmaceuticals: There are many bronchial stimulators or pain medications that can be used to manage your dog’s cough. Consult your vet for a medication regimen. But if you aren’t getting the results that you desire, work with your vet to modify the dose or medications. You are your dog’s advocate. But no matter the medication, there is no magic pill that is going to reverse CT.

· Surgery: There are options for rings and stents. There are several things to consider for surgery. Does your dog have any other medical conditions? The severity of the collapse (Grade)? The location of the collapse? These things will all be factors that you’ll need to discuss with the specialist to determine if you want to move forward with surgery. Most specialist won’t consider surgery until your dog is Grade III or IV. Even with surgery (rings or stent), there is not a guarantee to the outcome. Some dogs have done great, some have not. This is a personal decision.



What you can do: There are many things that you can do to help with your dog’s coughing episodes.

· Weight: get the extra weight off your dog!! I know that we all love a cuddly belly, but the extra weight means extra strain on your dog’s body. CT is already straining their trachea, heart, and lungs. Don’t make it worse. Be realistic, most people don’t want to believe that their dog needs to lose 1 or 2lbs. If you do start your dog on a diet, consult your vet and take it slow and steady.

· Harness: I never put a collar on my dogs except for fashion purposes. I highly advise that when you walk your dog to use a harness. Even if your dog does not pull when walking, I think that a harness being down lower on their neck is a better option. I also insist that when they are at the vet’s office not to use the slip leashes around their neck.

· Environment: if your dog gets overly excited and starts coughing when visitors show up at the door, then it is up to you to limit when visitors come over. There may be some lifestyle changes that you need to make or to at least make your family and friends aware to call you before they come over because ringing the door bell causes your dog to go crazy and get overly excited. You’ll be able to identify what upsets your dog and causes them distress.

· Allergens: I would suggest getting a good air purifier. If pollen and dust aggravates your dog then an air purifier should help reduce the allergens. Most small purifiers are for average sized rooms and will be fine to keep in the room that your dog spends the most time in day/night.

· Humidity: The HVAC industry states that the proper humidity for inside a home is between 55-65% relative humidity. You can get a humidistat at Radio Shack or on-line. Some will have secondary sensors that you can put in other rooms in the house. I found that in the winter, when the heat was running, the humidity would drop below 50% and my dog would cough more. Sometimes when the humidity was high, my dog would have a wet cough. Depending on your climate, you may need to supplement with a humidifier for dry areas of a de-humidifier for wet climates.

· Salt Lamps: Do a Google search. The small/medium sizes should be good for an average sized room. Salt lamps are said to give off negative ions to neutralize positive ions in the air. They are also said to have a relaxing energy to them. They are good for dogs that get anxious during a storm. They neutralize the energy produced by storms. I don’t really know how they work, but I have one for the room where my dogs stay during the day and one in my living room.



Finally, I would say that you need to monitor your stress level, which can be hard to do. As we get tense, our dogs pick up on it and can further trigger coughing episodes. Find a support group-whether it be your family, friends, or an on-line group. CT can be a long and stressful journey and you will need people around you to support you in the tough times. And to celebrate in the good times too.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  papaspugs on 7/2/2010, 8:18 pm

***My vet, Dr. Katie Linderman, at Standifer Pet Hospital worked very closely with University of Tennessee Veterinary College to diagnose and treat Baby Girl before and after she received the Infiniti Titanium stent. I can’t say enough great things about the staff, students, and vets at the UT Small Animal Clinic. If you can’t travel to UT, then I would suggest your vet contact UT for a specialist in your area for a referral.

For more information, you can visit www.yorkieangelpatrol.com and select Collapsing Trachea
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Aussie Witch on 7/2/2010, 9:18 pm

Very good info Jana - thanks!
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Pugsaunt on 7/2/2010, 11:37 pm

Excellent information, Jana. Thank you very much.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Rebecca and the Pugs on 7/3/2010, 12:53 am

Thank you Jana for posting this.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Saira on 7/3/2010, 1:10 am

This is great, thanks Jana. I have never heard of salt lamps, I am off to google those.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Renee on 7/3/2010, 1:46 pm

Jana, thank you for the information. It is invaluable. I cannot believe it, but I wonder if my Tobey has CT.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  papaspugs on 7/3/2010, 8:24 pm

If anyone wants to talk off line about CT, they can message me. I talked to Katie via fb messenger last night for awhile about Stella. I have Baby Girl's x-ray that I can email you. Here is a link to it on Yorkie Angel Patrol

http://www.yorkieangelpatrol.com/babygirl.htm
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Guest on 7/7/2010, 10:02 am

I think that Peanut may have this as well. it started after her lux pat surgery in Dec last yr. Pretty mild so far, and fairly infrequent. But on the getting excited.......it is her LIFE to get excited at anything. I have been trying to get her more calm for the 18 months we have had her, but will re-double my efforts if this is contributing ot the CT as well.

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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Katie & Stella on 7/7/2010, 11:57 am

Thanks for all of the great info Jana!
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Can Collapsing Trachea be prevented?

Post  Guest on 7/22/2010, 7:08 pm

Great information! Thank you! But I am wondering WHAT CAUSES this? Is it inevitable? I think my 10 year old Henry is beginning to show sighs of this. Can further deterioration be prevented some how?

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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Almandine on 8/31/2010, 8:36 am

Doodikins wrote:Great information! Thank you! But I am wondering WHAT CAUSES this? Is it inevitable? I think my 10 year old Henry is beginning to show sighs of this. Can further deterioration be prevented some how?

As far as I'm aware, there is some natural deterioration in the rigidity of the cartilage rings in the airway as dogs age. But excessive panting/rasping/straining to suck in air puts extra pressure on the structures and speeds collapse. A soft tissue specialist vet once told me it's rare to find an old pug who doesn't have some degree of airway disease.

Keeping a pug cool, reducing the need to pant is helpful.

Frozen bottles of water in his crate on a long journey can help, cooling jackets, wetting down, even a spoonful of ice cream can be useful.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  DeeAnn on 10/22/2010, 9:00 am

My moms 9yr old pug Rosie just found out yesterday she has collapsing trachea. the vet said no surg for it and has cough meds.and no collor or harness either..My mom is wondering what are the bad signs to look for?
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Lindsey on 10/22/2010, 9:08 am

WOW! A lot of great information, thank you Jana!

However, I'm thinking that my Jack might be developing or already have CT. He has episodes where it sounds like he's coughing up a hairball maybe once a week (maybe less). Hmmm....

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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  DeeAnn on 10/22/2010, 9:13 am

Lindsey wrote:WOW! A lot of great information, thank you Jana!

However, I'm thinking that my Jack might be developing or already have CT. He has episodes where it sounds like he's coughing up a hairball maybe once a week (maybe less). Hmmm....


Rosie started to act like that like something stuck.then she will cough and sounds like a goose honking.the vet told my mom that surg will not fix her problem.she is paniced that she will die and she just lost blossom...the vet told her that this sometimes happens as they dog gets older...I dont know but scary poor Jack he needs some cough meds.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Lindsey on 10/22/2010, 9:17 am

DeeAnn wrote:
Lindsey wrote:WOW! A lot of great information, thank you Jana!

However, I'm thinking that my Jack might be developing or already have CT. He has episodes where it sounds like he's coughing up a hairball maybe once a week (maybe less). Hmmm....


Rosie started to act like that like something stuck.then she will cough and sounds like a goose honking.the vet told my mom that surg will not fix her problem.she is paniced that she will die and she just lost blossom...the vet told her that this sometimes happens as they dog gets older...I dont know but scary poor Jack he needs some cough meds.

Well....Jack did have incident about 4 months ago. Hubby said, he took him outside to go potty and Jack just fell over and didn't move. Hubby thought he had died, but about 15 secs later, he popped back up and was back to normal. Nothing like that has happened since. Andy just thought he was being silly. Guess not.... I'm worried, now.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  DeeAnn on 10/22/2010, 9:21 am

Lindsey wrote:
DeeAnn wrote:
Lindsey wrote:WOW! A lot of great information, thank you Jana!

However, I'm thinking that my Jack might be developing or already have CT. He has episodes where it sounds like he's coughing up a hairball maybe once a week (maybe less). Hmmm....


Rosie started to act like that like something stuck.then she will cough and sounds like a goose honking.the vet told my mom that surg will not fix her problem.she is paniced that she will die and she just lost blossom...the vet told her that this sometimes happens as they dog gets older...I dont know but scary poor Jack he needs some cough meds.

Well....Jack did have incident about 4 months ago. Hubby said, he took him outside to go potty and Jack just fell over and didn't move. Hubby thought he had died, but about 15 secs later, he popped back up and was back to normal. Nothing like that has happened since. Andy just thought he was being silly. Guess not.... I'm worried, now.

how scary...yes I would get him checked just to make sure...Poor Jack tell him his auntie is sending him kisses
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Tyson&LuLu'sMom on 10/22/2010, 9:50 am

Does anyone have a video or a reference to what the coughing sounds like?
LuLu will occasionally huff a few times then hack like she's got something caught in her throat.
She's never had a passing out episode, but I wonder if this is something I need to get checked out.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  DeeAnn on 10/22/2010, 9:56 am

Tyson&LuLu'sMom wrote:Does anyone have a video or a reference to what the coughing sounds like?
LuLu will occasionally huff a few times then hack like she's got something caught in her throat.
She's never had a passing out episode, but I wonder if this is something I need to get checked out.

I dont have a video on the sounds..but Rosie acts at times like something in her throat and like now she is honking like a goose..my moms blossom passed out while eating so from then on the dogs get water in there food.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Saira on 10/22/2010, 2:16 pm

Jana's info is really good. We have had a couple of pugs come through rescue with it-a lot depends on how severe it is. I think I had a link to a video saved, I will look for it.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  papaspugs on 10/22/2010, 2:48 pm

I'm at work, but I have a video of Baby Girl before she went to UT that I can post this weekend. DeeAnn-what meds did they prescribe?
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  DeeAnn on 10/22/2010, 4:49 pm

papaspugs wrote:I'm at work, but I have a video of Baby Girl before she went to UT that I can post this weekend. DeeAnn-what meds did they prescribe?

a codine cough med and predisone.
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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Lindsey on 10/24/2010, 12:22 pm

papaspugs wrote:I'm at work, but I have a video of Baby Girl before she went to UT that I can post this weekend. DeeAnn-what meds did they prescribe?

Jana- Did you find the video??
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Collapsing Trachea

Post  my2puggies on 10/25/2010, 12:18 pm

Our Chihuahua Kiwi had this and now Bella gets it every so often... neither has been bad enough that either has passed out... how scary!
We have a Salt Lamp in our front room-- my parents have them everywhere in their house. Saira- we purchased ours at the Harvest Festival at Cashman Center (the craft show). The lady that sells them is super sweet- she's there every year. They have hundreds- all sizes and shapes.

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Re: COLLAPSING TRACHEA

Post  Saira on 10/25/2010, 12:26 pm

my2puggies wrote:Our Chihuahua Kiwi had this and now Bella gets it every so often... neither has been bad enough that either has passed out... how scary!
We have a Salt Lamp in our front room-- my parents have them everywhere in their house. Saira- we purchased ours at the Harvest Festival at Cashman Center (the craft show). The lady that sells them is super sweet- she's there every year. They have hundreds- all sizes and shapes.

When is the Harvet Festival? I want to look into Salt Lamps!
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