It is a tube that is held open with circular rings. When those rings break down and can no longer hold the windpipe open, it will collapse the trachea. It does not show up until the dog is middle age, it is genetic, and it is more common in toy breeds, like Yorkies, Poodles, Pomeranians, Maltese, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Chihuahuas. It can show up in any breed at any age.
Signs and symptoms to look for are honking coughs which appear to be trying to cough something up, but there is no object, the irritation to the throat lining causes inflammation that produces that sensation. Unfortunately, pets often become anxious and scared which causes them to breathe more rapidly. The best thing for your pet is to hold and calm the pet until the breathing quiets and the dog begins to relax. The pet owner should seek help from the veterinarian. There could be other medical issues that are complicating the problems. Oftentimes collapsing trachea in a dog will not show any symptoms until another medical problem exacerbates the issue. Simple changes like using a harness, avoiding vigorous activities, taking walks at times of day that are less hot and humid, and avoiding exposure to smoke and other irritants can make a significant difference.
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