Collapsing Trachea

Trachea is a semi-rigid and flexible tube which connects the upper respiratory system to the lower respiratory airways. It is composed of C-shaped incomplete cartilage rings throughout its length. The circle is completed by a thin membrane which may exhilarate and stick out into the lumen of the trachea and obstruct. In some cases, the trachea becomes too long that it folds upon itself. The obstruction caused by both these situation leads to inflammation with severe coughing.  Collapsing of the trachea is more common in dogs of small breeds although it can occur in all dogs irrespective of the size and breed. Diagnosis involves physical examination in which very little pressure is placed on the trachea and any difficulty in breathing may suspect the presence of collapsed trachea. To confirm the diagnosis, radiograph images and specialized x-rays are taken. Tracheal collapse can be of varying degrees of severity. Patients with collapsing trachea are advised to maintain healthy body weight to avoid the pressure on the deteriorating trachea. When this condition persists for long period, it increases the risk of infections. Treatment can be done medically or surgically or by a combination of both. Medication includes antibiotics and cough suppressants while in surgical correction, a stent is placed inside the trachea to prevent its collapse.