If you have heard your chihuahua making a loud, closed-mouthed coughing sound, it could be that your Chihuahua has a collapsed trachea. This medical condition is actually fairly common in small breed dogs and can become a serious Chihuahua health concern.
What is a Chihuahua Collapsed Trachea?
The trachea or windpipe is held open by tiny rings of cartilage. When this cartilage is weakened or damaged it is unable to keep the airway open and allows your Chihuahua’s trachea to collapses inward. As the windpipe collapses, it greatly reduces the amount of air that your poor pup is able to pull into her lungs.
A Chihuahua collapsed trachea is a chronic, incurable disorder that usually worsens or becomes more frequent with age. The good news is that, while it can be frightening to listen to your baby dog honking and gasping for air, a Chihuahua collapsed trachea is rarely fatal.
What Causes a Chihuahua Collapsed Trachea?
There are two main causes of Chihuahua collapsed trachea; genetics and trauma. A tendency toward this condition could have been passed to your pup from one or both of his parents or he could have injured the fragile cartilage somehow.
Excitement, stress, heat, or humidity can all trigger an episode of tracheal collapse. When the trachea collapses, it doesn’t stay collapsed; episodes of Chihuahua collapsed trachea usually only last a few moments. As soon as the episode passes, your little dog will likely go on acting as if nothing unusual had happened.
Prevention of Chihuahua Collapsed Trachea
While there is no cure for a Chihuahua collapsed trachea, there are several things you can do to help prevent episodes.
- Use a harness to lead your precious pup. Your Chihuahua should wear a collar so she has somewhere for her identification tags to hang, but a collar should never be used to lead or control your fragile little dog. The use of a Chihuahua harness can help prevent injury or damage to your baby’s trachea.
- Feed her quality food. Higher Quality food has the proper nutrients your little dog needs for over-all good health, including a healthy trachea. A dog food which has adequate levels of glucosamine will help keep your Chihuahua’s cartilage, including that in her joints and trachea, stronger.
- Watch her weight. A chubby Chihuahua can have all sorts of health problems, including Chihuahua collapsed trachea. Keeping your little friend at an appropriate weight will greatly reduce the frequency and severity of collapsing trachea episodes.
- Reduce exposure to triggers. Figure out what situations are likely to trigger an episode of Chihuahua collapsed trachea in your pup and take steps to reduce her exposure to those situations. For example, if you notice that your baby-dog starts honking like a goose every time she goes to the dog park, find someplace else for her to get her exercise.
- Don’t smoke around your dog. Considering the size of her tiny lungs, it doesn’t take much cigarette smoke to cause health problems in your Chihuahua. Collapsed trachea is just one of the issues you are putting her at risk of if you smoke around your little friend.
Treatment of Chihuahua Collapsed Trachea
About 70% of Chihuahua collapsed trachea can be managed with prevention but may need to be medically managed as well. Cough suppressants, antispasmodics or bronchodilators can be prescribed by your veterinarian to help reduce the severity of episodes.
If your little dog has more than a couple of episodes of Chihuahua collapsed trachea in a short period of time, it would be a good idea to take her to see her veterinarian. If the disorder progresses to far, your little dog can develop heart problems as the lack of oxygen puts train on her tiny body.
In severe cases of Chihuahua collapsing trachea, your vet may recommend surgery. If your precious pooch undergoes surgery for Chihuahua collapsed trachea, a rigid, prosthetic piece will be implanted in her trachea which will prevent it from collapsing. Only a small percentage of dogs are given this surgery but it almost always prevents or greatly reduces the occurrence of Chihuahua collapsing trachea.