The space between the throat and lugs is called the trachea. This condition is caused when the cartilage rings that make up the trachea break down. It is difficult for air to pass through a collapsed trachea.
Causes are unknown.
A harsh cough is the most common, additionally wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing when you pick up your dog, gagging or vomiting associated with the cough, cyanotic – turning blue episodes.
The prognosis depends on the level of collapse. This is a degenerative disease and even with treatment the issue can continue to persist and worsen. Typically, once a diagnosis is given life expectancy is between 2-4 years. With treatment, you can optimistically expect more than 4 years.
A veterinarian will place light pressure on your dog’s neck over the trachea during a cough. An x-ray, an endoscope, or another imaging source will be used to confirm a diagnosis.
Treatment depends on severity of the collapse. Most cases are treated with medication including cough suppressants, anti-inflammatories, bronchodilators, sedatives, and antibiotics.
Other lifestyle changes will be recommended and can greatly improve your dog’s prognosis. Obesity exacerbates all health issues. Losing weight, stay away from excessive heat and humidity, staying away from tobacco smoke, and stress inducing situations will all help your dog to breathe easier.