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Tracheal Collapse in Chihuahuas

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tracheal collapse in chihuahuas

One of the biggest issues we hear from Chihuahua owners is wondering why their dog keeps coughing. Most likely it’s reverse sneezing which is very common in Chihuahuas. It could also be Kennel Cough which is highly contagious. But it may be a more serious issue called Tracheal Collapse.

This condition is common in many small dogs, including Chihuahuas.

Causes of Tracheal Collapse

Dogs with tracheal collapse have tracheas that are not shaped the way they should be. They flatten which causes the dog to struggle to get enough air.

The dog may be born with this defect or they can develop it later on. Some of the things that cause it are:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Injury to the throat (which is why you should always use a harness with a leash instead of attaching the leash to your dog’s collar)
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Obesity
  • Second-hand cigarette smoke
  • A congenital birth defect

 

Symptoms of Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal Collapse most often is described as sounding like a “goose honk”. If your dog starts doing this when exercising or excited, while eating or drinking, they may have a collapsed trachea. Their gums may get a bluish tinge to them.

Treatments of Tracheal Collapse

It’s important that your dog get treated if he has this condition because it will get progressively worse without treatment. Treatments for tracheal collapse include:

  • Corticosteroids which reduces the inflammation
  • Antibiotics depending on the cause of the disease
  • Cough suppressants
  • A weight loss program (if obesity is the cause)
  • Surgery (in extreme cases)

Reverse Sneezing or Tracheal Collapse

It’s often difficult to know whether your dog’s coughing is caused by tracheal collapse or the less severe reverse sneezing. The symptoms are very similar.

If your dog coughs when excited or after eating or drinking, or turns her elbows outward and extends her neck and gasps inward with a rhythmic snork snork  snork , this is reverse sneezing.

If she breathes with a raspy sound, or coughs reflexively when you simply rub her throat, she could have a collapsing trachea.

Also if she coughs with one or two expulsive outward bursts, typically with a gag or empty retch at the end, she could have a collapsing trachea.

Here’s an example of a Chi with reverse sneezing:

and here is a Chi with tracheal collapse:


They sound very similar don’t they? The best way to know for sure is to get your Vet to check your dog.

If you’d like to learn more about this condition, this is the best video I have seen that explains it:

Has your Chihuahua been diagnosed with tracheal collapse? Do you suspect they may have it?  I’d love to know about your experience.

Click to find about other chihuahua health problems.

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Sandy Holmberg

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

My Chihuahua Phoebe who will be 13 on Halloween was diagnosed with the early signs of a collapsing trachea. She was examined by internist and a cardiologist. No heart problems. At the beginning she was on hydrocodone 3 times a day but then as needed. She is doing better. Her coughing is not severe like it was and sometimes she can go 24 to 48 hrs without medicine. I have been trying to get her to lose weigh Although it is a slow process she has lost a pound. I try not to get her to excited.

Cathy

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

Sounds like you are doing everything right for her Sandy, Hope she continues to stay well.

Shelly

Friday 14th of December 2018

I have a baby that is a product of two "designer dogs". She is my world and now despise any and all breeders of designer dogs. Anyway.... She has several health issues. My worry is how does treachea prolapse effect her life span. Currently she is thriving with the help of cough suppressants.

Cathy

Friday 14th of December 2018

She is so pretty Shelly! I'm not going to lie, complications of tracheal collapse can shorten her life but it doesn't necessarily mean it will. Just make sure, she continues to get good medical treatment, make sure she doesn't get chubby (it's worse in overweight dogs), don't let anyone smoke around her, and always use a harness when she's on a leash.

Helen Ogden

Thursday 16th of August 2018

My Luis (male chi) developed the trachea problem after he was choked by a groomer at PetCo. He looks just like the dog in the video. Fortunately he doesn't seem to have trouble all the time, but when he does it is very hard to listen to. Needless to say I no longer go to PetCo.

Cathy

Thursday 16th of August 2018

I'm so sorry that happened to your Luis! It makes me glad (as a former professional groomer) I can groom my own dogs. It's hard trusting them with others. I know I worked with a few groomers that were less than gentle with the dogs and it broke my heart for those pups.

Alan Balmer

Monday 23rd of April 2018

This is a similar comment to above, but is edited a little better ...

Thanks,

Alan

My six pound Chihuahua was diagnosed with trachea collapse in January 2018. I began treating him with an energy healing that my wife and I administer. His recovery was 10% after one month. This improved to 60% after two months and 90% after three months.

I am talking about his overall body cartilage consistency.

The actual collapsed trachea went from a 40% collapse to less than 20%, which is where we are now.

I have before and after videos, too.

Given this success, we are launching a business treating trachea collapse in small dogs and cats. We are offering a full money back guarantee if we can’t improve your pets condition by 25% in the initial six weeks of treatment.

We have been studying the effect of these energy healings and to date we have invested over $100,000 in published scientific studies documenting the validity of our program. We can provide these studies upon request.

We are now accepting our initial clients!

Alan 641.233.1036

Carmen

Sunday 11th of November 2018

I don't know how old all these threads are but for Alan,... would you mind posting more information on what can be helpful to those of us that probably can't afford your "healing energies" program but we're willing to try various things to help our poor little chi's.... I have 2 chi's (13 and 15 YO) and they both seem to have the collapsing trachea. I will be checking into the Spongia and will also look for a holistic Vet (which I haven't found in my area yet). Thanks for all the great info Cathy! Love all the great info here!

Alan Balmer

Monday 23rd of April 2018

My six pound Chihuahua was diagnosed with trachea collapse in January 2018. I began treating him with an energy healing that my wife and I administer. His recovery was 10% after one month. This improved to 60% after two months and 90% after three months.

I am talking about his overall body cartilage consistency.

The actual collapsed trachea went from a 40% collapse to less than 20%, which is where we are now.

I have before and after videos, too.

Given this success, we are launching a business treating trachea collapse in small dogs and cats. We are offering a full money back guarantee if we can't improve your pets condition by 25% in the initial six weeks of treatment.

We now accepting our initial clients!

Alan 641.233.1036

Cathy

Monday 23rd of April 2018

Interesting Alan. What ind of energy healing are you doing? Reiki?