Collapsing Trachea in a Yorkie

Our question this week was:

Good morning Dr. Debra

My concern is for my yorkie who has a chronic cough, a condition called collapsing trachea. His cough seems to be getting worse. Is there anything that I can do to help his condition? I understand that surgery is no longer performed for this condition, is there anything I can purchase to help my little guy? Please help!Thank you!

Cathy Haray


Hi Cathy– thanks for your email. Sorry to hear about your little Yorkie. Collapsing trachea is a very common disorder in this breed.

The trachea is the tube that takes air from the mouth to the lungs. The trachea is made of cartilage rings that keep the tube open that allows easy passage of air. In some dogs, the cartilage is abnormal and "collapses" making air passage difficult. The typical signs include a "goose honk" type cough with sometimes gagging.

There is no perfect treatment for this disease. Recommendations include symptomatic care to minimize pressure on the trachea by using a harness or medications to minimize the coughing reflex. They are using some surgical stents to treat this disease. I believe they are being done commonly at the Penn at their College of Veterinary Medicine with good success. I believe their contact information is:

The Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital in Philadelphia
Appointments: 215.746.VETS (215.746.8387)
Emergencies: 215.746.V911 (215.746.8911) 24 hours a day

If you search "tracheal stent" in their search box on their website – you can see some photos.

Also, you might like this article Tracheal Collapse in Dogs. It discusses all the possible treatments for this disease.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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