Dogs are said to be a man’s best friend, and rightfully so considering that they are one of the most loyal animal companions. But dogs also suffer from ailments of their mouth and throat that we should know about.
So when is it OK to euthanize a dog with tracheal collapse? This finality should be taken seriously and used only as a last resort. Check-ups, treatments, surgeries, and various types of medications are available to help manage the symptoms, and should be considered before euthasia is enacted and completed.
Tracheal collapse is common with most dogs as they age, and in this article, we will discuss the features of tracheal collapse in canines.
When to Euthanize A Dog With Tracheal Collapse?
When a dog has a tracheal collapse, it affects their throat and mouth. This causes them to gradually suffocate over time. If you see this as a detrimental way of allowing them to pass on, then euthanasia is a viable option to end their pain.
Although this is a choice that you could make, because of the pressing process of it, euthanizing a dog with tracheal collapse should be used as a final decision, after all other options and treatments have been tried; simply because once you take the life of your dog, you cannot give it back.
The most efficient means of enacting this process is to have a trained and certified veterinarian complete it safely for you.
How Long Can A Dog Live With A Collapsed Trachea?
On average, a dog can live approximately 2 years with a collapsed trachea. This is because their trachea is slowly deteriorating as time goes on until it fully collapses by the weight of their throat and neck muscles.
When compared to the average lifespan of a dog, this is a long time for them to live with such an ailment. A stent, or a small, sturdy, plastic tube, could hold up their trachea for a bit longer, making it a maximum of up to 4 years depending on the overall health of the dog.
Within this time, the trachea could hold up, but unfortunately, it will fall until it fully collapses. Yet, 2 to 4 years is the amount of time that a dog can live with a collapsed trachea.
Can A Collapsing Trachea Kill A Dog?
In essence, it isn’t the collapsed trachea that kills the dog, it is the symptoms of it that eventually does. When the dog’s trachea starts to fall, it becomes narrow. This narrowing of the throat causes less air to pass through their trachea which causes symptoms such as coughing, as the most prominent feature.
The narrowing can become so severe that their body cannot inhale as much air as it needs to function, thus, potentially causing suffocation, which could then lead to the death of the dog.
Also, because of this loss of breath, a dog could also pass because of respiratory distress, or suffocation due to lack of air flowing in and out of the lungs.
How Can I Help My Dog’s Collapsing Trachea?
The great part in this whole situation is that there are ways that you can help your dog’s collapsing trachea. Medication is the primary way to assist with healing your dog’s collapsing trachea.
Treatment such as cough suppressants, corticosteroids – which reduces inflammation – antibiotics, or bronchodilators, which opens up the blood vessels so that more air can flow through the body to the lungs, all are viable options for medication treatments.
There are also surgical options. A localized stent in the weak area is a strong choice because it holds up the trachea. Pills are also a great way to help the dog’s trachea considering that it clears out the germs in their throat and possibly strengthens the cartilage.
Can A Collapsed Trachea Heal Itself?
Although most ailments can heal on their own, a collapsed trachea is not one of them; therefore, a collapsed trachea cannot heal on its own. A collapsed trachea is cartilage and muscle that weakens without notice.
Symptoms like excessive sneezing and coughing will occur. You should know that without medication, treatment, or surgery – if necessary – it will be more than likely that the trachea will continue to deteriorate because there is nothing to help it become solid again.
It is possible for the symptoms to pass on their own without medication or any other type of surgical reparation, but the underlying condition of the collapse will remain until proper medical treatment has been applied.
Do Dogs With A Collapsed Trachea Suffer?
Dogs with a collapsed trachea will go through many different stages and changes while they are in possession of the ailment. In the beginning it may start with them excessively drinking water to soothe their throat.
Other symptoms such as a honking cough and harsh sneezing will most likely occur as well.
As the trachea continues to collapse, they may also experience trouble breathing, wanting to walk or exercise less, pain in their mouth, as well as bluish gums from the bacteria that is loading in their buccal cells.
From this perspective, it may be safe to use the word “suffering” due to the gradual pain that the dog will endure.
What Happens When A Dog Has A Collapsed Trachea?
There are a lot of different signs that a dog has a collapsed trachea, and some of them are listed above, such as their honk-life cough and the significant sneezing; but there are other signs of a collapsed trachea.
When a dog has a collapsed lung, you’ll also notice that the dog has an intolerance for exercising, walking, or simply moving around. This is because they are experiencing pain and fatigue. The illed dog will also experience labored breathing; once again, because their trachea is closing in and less air is being delivered to the lungs, thus making breathing a challenging situation.
These traits are typically triggered by too much eating or drinking, excitement, or anything that can irritate the lungs, such as smoke or dust.
What Do You Feed A Dog With A Collapsed Trachea?
With a collapsed trachea, a dog could find eating and drinking challenging, and may not even have the desire to do so often. However, as long as it’s alive, it will have to eat at some point, right?
When it comes to the food, it has to be simple enough for them to chew and swallow with little to no pain while the massecation is happening. Some of the best choices to feed a dog with a collapsed trachea are soft food such as oatmeal, honey, bananas, or blended food that the dog can easily swallow without much effort to chew.
Water is the main liquid that a collapsed trachea can handle, so mixing that with other forms of soft foods increases the chances of your dog eating and drinking without feeling much pain.
What Causes A Dog To Have A Collapsed Trachea?
A dog conjures a tracheal collapse based on a few major factors. Primarily, tracheal obstruction is a major reason for a collapsed lung.
This is usually caused by the flattening of the cartilaginous rings that hold the trachea upright; flaccidity is also a reason for a tracheal obstruction. Another reason for a collapsed trachea is bacterial or viral infection that has gone unnoticed or untreated.
As these ailments continue to persist, it could weaken the trachea significantly until it collapses. This is when the symptoms start to reveal themselves and become a hard situation for the dog and the owner as well.
How Much Does It Cost To Treat A Tracheal Collapse?
The cost of attempting to treat, or fix, a tracheal collapse could run up a bill of a couple thousand dollars; between 4,000 and 6,000 dollars.
Consider the medical factors that are included in fixing any part of the mammalian body: analysis, testing, machinery that does the testing, x-rays, and medication. These factors have to be paid for, and it will be a persistent, and slightly expensive, bill.
Another medical trait that you should know about is the placement of a tracheal stent. This procedure would include hospitalization, the stent, the doctors, and the rehabilitation.
Is It Dangerous to Intubate A Dog With A Tracheal Collapse?
Although not dangerous, there is a risk of intubating a dog with a tracheal collapse. When a dog is affected by the unfortunate event of a collapsed trachea, they are prone to experiencing complication with their heart and their lungs.
With intubation, it could open up their tracheal airway so that they can breathe more efficiently; yet, that open airway could also be an entrance for bacteria and other microbiological to infest and infect the dog’s trachea, making it more susceptible to their trachea collapsing further.
What Does A Dog With A Collapsed Trachea Sound Like?
As mentioned before, a trachea that has been flattened or collapsed will cause a significant cough; this cough sounds like a broken car horn, or a human that has been smoking for most of their life.
You’ll also hear the sounds of sneezing…not much emphasis or description, just a series of sneezing throughout the day. Labored breathing is another sound that you’ll hear, as if the dog is literally gasping for the remaining air that is not entering their body due to the collapsed trachea.
The fact that the dog is making sounds outside of panting or barking is an indication that something is wrong, and that it could be a collapsed trachea.