Can Tracheal Collapse Kill My Dog?

In severe cases, a dog can die from tracheal collapse as a result of several different causes.

Tracheal collapse, which can be fatal if it progresses, is a condition in which the trachea collapses and closes off the airway. This causes a severe cough and labored breathing. In most cases, it’s caused by an injury, such as a dog being hit by a car or getting into a fight. It can also be due to infection from a foreign object lodged in the throat or from rough handling that causes damage to the trachea.

After the trachea collapses, your dog will be unable to breathe properly and will likely go into respiratory distress. He will not be able to eat or drink and his heart rate and blood pressure will drop dramatically.

If your dog is struggling with this condition, you must take him to the veterinarian immediately. For mild cases of tracheal collapse that do not require surgery, the veterinarian may treat the animal with steroids and bronchodilators. Surgery is often required for more severe cases where airway obstruction is present.

As with any surgery, there are risks involved and your pet could potentially develop complications after surgery. However, if your pet’s trachea has collapsed severely enough that he cannot breathe on his own, he likely would have died without medical intervention. Depending on the severity of the condition before surgery, you may notice an improvement.

Do dogs with collapsed trachea suffer?

Dogs with tracheal collapse can experience bouts of respiratory distress, which can cause panting and other signs of stress.

If your dog has collapsed trachea, you’ll notice she’s having difficulty breathing. When she breathes, she may make a gurgling sound or gasp for breath.

You’ll notice she has difficulty breathing while she’s exercising or when she gets excited by something like a visitor at your house.

She may also develop a dry cough that doesn’t sound like kennel cough.

Dogs with this condition should not be exercised vigorously or allowed to get overly excited until it is treated and resolved successfully.

How long can a dog live with collapsing trachea?

Dogs suffering from a collapsing trachea have a life expectancy of two to four years depending on the severity of the condition. It is important for you to take care of your dog and make sure he is not in pain

Because there are so many possible causes, it can be hard for vets to predict how long a dog will live after being diagnosed with this condition. However, it does tend to be an ongoing and progressive disease and unfortunately, most dogs do not live well into their senior years when suffering from this condition.

Is tracheal collapse curable?

There is no way to cure a dog’s collapsing trachea once it has occurred. A veterinarian will recommend treatment based on the severity of the symptoms and the age of your pet.

Does Benadryl help with collapsed trachea?

Benadryl won’t have any effect on a collapsed trachea. Neither will any other antihistamine medication.

You’ve probably heard that Benadryl can help with asthma attacks or with breathing problems related to allergies. But it will have no effect on a collapsed trachea because it’s not designed to open airways that are blocked due to anatomical nature.

How much is tracheal collapse surgery for dogs?

The average cost of this surgical procedure ranges between $3,500-$6,500. The price may vary depending on where you live and the veterinarian performing the procedure.

Many pet parents want to know if there are any alternatives to this costly surgical procedure. There are some alternative treatments that you might be able to try first to improve your dog’s condition before taking on this expensive surgical option.

Many owners choose to avoid this procedure altogether by euthanizing their pet instead of spending thousands of dollars on a medical treatment that will only extend their suffering for a short period of time. Others continue with expensive procedures that can help their dog breathe easier.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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