Treatment for Tracheal Collapse in Dogs

If you assume that your dog may have had a tracheal collapse, you must know what to do next to protect your pet.

That is why Canna-pet has created this resource, to provide more information on how to treat tracheal collapse in dogs.

Has it Been Diagnosed?

Before treatment, it is critical to have your dog diagnosed by a veterinary professional. In the event that your dog has not been to your trusted veterinary professional yet, here are a few options that are likely to be expected before diagnosing:

To determine if your dog has experienced tracheal collapse, the vet professional will often start with an X-Ray. This can be done with:

  • A normal X-Ray that, if the condition is present, reveals a smaller, tightened opening.
  • A moving X-Ray (also known as a fluoroscopy), which enables the vet professional to watch how your dog breathes. The process itself delivers a continual flow of X-Rays that give the vets a more clear, video-like picture of what is going on.

There may be a recommendation to take it a step further.

  • There is a camera-based method called a bronchoscopy. It is a more invasive procedure than an X-Ray, however, it does divulge much more information. It not only reveals other potential issues, from abnormalities to bleeding but can give a very accurate estimate of how narrow the trachea has become. This method can also draw out tissue and fluids from within the trachea area. (Your dog is under anesthesia during this procedure.)4 The tissues can be tested, allowing for even more information and insights about what’s going on with your pup.

Remember, there are other things and conditions that can be causing the rough, dry breathing (the most prevailing symptom of tracheal collapse). The root cause could also be, as revealed by examination and X-rays, something lodged in your pup’s airway, a canine infection, a dog tumor or other issue of the trachea or lungs.

Tracheal Collapse Dog Treatment

Once there is an official diagnosis of tracheal collapse, the next step is to view potential treatment options. They can vary quite a bit given the prognosis and your dog’s unique circumstances. Here are some potential options that a veterinary professional may recommend:

Help them lose weight.

  • Canine obesity and being overweight is a big trigger for the collapsing of the trachea. A very important step is, if your dog is on the heavy side, to help them shed a few pounds.

Check the Environment.

  • In addition to treating the internal, present problems, it’s recommended to make sure their home environment has any pollutants or smoke reduced, as these can both contribute to and exacerbate the issue.
  • It is also important that the dog feels calm; this helps reduce symptoms. Here’s what can cause anxiety in dogs.

Switch from a Collar and Leash.

  • A harness around the neck can hurt or cause discomfort when tightened. Instead, use a body harness that will shift holding pressure to the torso rather than their vulnerable neck. That will give your sweet pup relief.

Get the right medication.

  • Certain things may be prescribed to help your dog breathe easier, such as cough suppressants, medicine to help reduce inflammation and antibiotics. Antibiotics can be vital because, with this condition presenting a greater risk for infection, they will be at the ready to try and keep your pup’s system healthy.
  • Anabolic steroids may be recommended, as this link to testosterone can help to strengthen the C-rings in the trachea that have grown weak and flattened.
  • A light sedation may be prescribed to help your dog find relief when symptoms get increasingly worse. As mentioned, the more anxious your dog, the more irritated the throat can become.

With proactive medical management, like the options above, canines can have a quite high success rate. A 1994 study revealed that if dogs received such medical treatment, 71% had positive results in the long-run.

If the forms of treatment above are not providing an ideal response or your vet suggests a higher level of action, there are options. For example, there are a few types of surgical techniques. One kind is using prosthetic rings to replace those that are collapsing. If the dog is younger than 6 years old, the results tend to be more optimistic. The overall rate of success is about 75% – 85%.

But, How Did this Tracheal Collapse Happen?

You are breathing a little better knowing that there may be options to help your dog feel happier and healthier. But, you may also be wondering how, if diagnosis proves positive, this happened in the first place. Get more information on the types of dogs prone to this condition and what can cause tracheal collapse in dogs.



“Collapse of the Wind Pipe in Dogs.” PetMD, Accessed 12 Oct. 2018.

“Fluoroscopy | Upstate Veterinary Specialists | Greenville SC.” Upstate Veterinary Specialists, Accessed 12 Oct. 2018.

Spector, Donna. “What You Need to Know About Collapsing Tracheas in Dogs.” Vetstreet, Accessed 12 Oct. 2018.

“A Strange Condition in Small Breed Dogs | Tracheal Collapse.” Healthy Pets, Accessed 12 Oct. 2018.

“Tracheal Collapse in Dogs.” WebMD, Accessed 12 Oct.

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