Tracheal Collapse (Collapsing Trachea) in Dogs


In-depth Information on Treatment

Treatment for tracheal collapse will not cure the condition. Treatment consists of medical management and/or surgical intervention. Approximately 71 percent of dogs undergoing medical management of tracheal collapse show long-term resolution of clinical signs. As a result, medical management should be attempted first.

Medical Management of Tracheal Collapse 

  • If tracheal collapse presents as a respiratory emergency, patients must be stabilized immediately. Dogs are put into an oxygen cage. Administration of a rapidly acting steroid to reduce inflammation of the trachea and larynx is often necessary. Cough suppression and sedation may be necessary to stabilize the dog.
  • Chronic management of a collapsing trachea is based on the severity of clinical signs. Mild cases may need only a cough suppressant. More severe cases may require a combination of cough suppressants, airway dilators, steroids, and/or antibiotics Weight loss helps decrease the required respiratory effort in overweight dogs with collapsing tracheas.
  • If two weeks of medical treatment hasn’t helped, or if clinical signs are very severe, surgery may be attempted. Many procedures have been tried, but the one that is currently in favor is the application of prosthetic polypropylene rings around the trachea. The overall success rate in significantly reducing clinical signs is 75 to 85 percent. Prognosis is better for dogs younger than six years of age. This procedure should be done by an experienced surgeon.
  • Follow-up Care for Tracheal Collapse in Dogs

    Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.


    Administer all prescribed medication(s) as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet. Maintain the dog’s weight at a proper level. Avoid obesity, which can exacerbate clinical signs. Use a harness instead of a collar, to avoid putting pressure on the trachea. Isolate the dog from potential respiratory irritants such as cigarette smoke, noxious fumes or excessive dust.


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