Is There a Home Treatment for Collapsed Dog Trachea?
What can be done for a dog with collapsing trachea?
What is a Collapsed Trachea?
The trachea, or windpipe, carries air from the outside to the lungs. In some toy-breed dogs (especially Poodles, Pomeranians, Yorkies, and Chihuahuas), a hereditary structural defect can allow the trachea to collapse during panting or rapid breathing.
The collapse may be on either end of the trachea, but is most common right where the trachea enters the chest. The first symptom is typically a honking cough caused by restricted air flow, increased mucus, and inflammation in the trachea.
At its most extreme, collapsing trachea makes breathing very difficult, resulting in severe distress and even fainting from lack of oxygen. Left untreated, the problem will only get worse.
Collapsed Trachea Causes & Symptoms
Collapsing trachea doesn’t usually become a problem until the dog reaches middle age. However, even in dogs with this defect, symptoms may not be seen until another problem comes along, such as obesity, exposure to smoke (like cigarette smoke) or dust, respiratory infections, or heart enlargement. Obviously, dealing with any such issues must be included in any treatment program.
"Excess weight is the most common complicating condition in these dogs. Changing to a canned food diet or raw food diet is an excellent way to get the fat off while maintaining lean muscle mass."
Be very cautious about exercise, since you want to avoid causing the dog to pant, which can set off a coughing episode. While it is important to give your dog adequate exercise in the form of calm walks, you definitely don’t want any excitement or strenuous activity. Heat stress, dusty dog parks, and similar environmental factors should also be avoided.
Of course, a dog with any tracheal or coughing problem should never wear a regular dog collar, bandanna, chain, or any other restraint around the neck. Use a harness instead of a standard collar to avoid putting pressure on the trachea.
Because many dogs with collapsing trachea develop liver disease over time due to poor oxygenation, liver support is important. Milk thistle can be a very beneficial herb for these dogs.
Supplements & Medications
Managing inflammation is the cornerstone of treatment. In conventional medicine, steroids are a common choice, but long-term use can make the problem worse. Some veterinarians will prescribe or recommend cough suppressants to help control your dog's reaction to the collapsed trachea and the uncomfortable coughing associated with it.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress, anxiety, and fear are the worst enemies of a dog with a collapsing trachea. They can trigger and exacerbate the problem. Flower essences, homeopathy, supplements, CBD's, and aromatherapy are all great options for supporting your pet against stress and anxiety.
If your dog is chronically stressed or afraid, contact your holistic veterinarian to explore the best options available. Preventing stress and anxiety is not only important for a collapsed trachea, but can improve overall quality of life.