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Tracheal Collapse in Dogs

By Ned F. Kuehn, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Section Chief, Internal Medicine, Michigan Veterinary Specialists ; Neil W. Dyer, DVM, MS, DACVP, Director and Pathologist, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, North Dakota State University ; Joe Hauptman, DVM, MS, DACVS, Professor of Surgery, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Michigan State University ; Steven L. Marks, BVSc, MS, MRCVS, DACVIM, Clinical Professor of Emergency and Internal Medicine; Associate Dean and Director of Veterinary Medical Services, North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine ; Stuart M. Taylor, PhD, BVMS, MRCVS, DECVP

Tracheal collapse is most common in toy and miniature breeds of dogs, although it may occasionally occur in large-breed dogs. The cause is unknown. Affected dogs have a dry, honking, chronic cough, and labored breathing. The condition occurs more frequently in dogs that are obese and in those with heart disease or another lung disease (especially chronic bronchitis). Weight loss for obese or overweight dogs is critical in the management of tracheal collapse. Other measures include exercise restriction, reduction of excitement and stress, and appropriate medications such as cough suppressants, antibiotics, and corticosteroids.