Collapsing Trachea Questions and Answers
Is there any type of test and/or procedure that can be done
on a dog to determine if
if a collapsing trachea could be a problem in the future
NO, there is no test to determine if a dog could get Collapsing Trachea.
Can a dog with this disease pass it on to litters – Is this genetic.
At this point they don't know yet. There hasn't been
enough research done yet to make that determination.
Does location make a difference to the sound they make (wheezing as opposed to honking)?
NO....most often (more common) it's "honking" but sound can be "Wheezing".
What material is the stent made of? Is it metal or plastic?
The stents we are using are 'expanded metal'. They are made out of Nitnol
which is an alloy. These are the same type of stents
used in human medicine for procedures such as cardiac, gallbladder, etc.
We do not use the metal mesh. We have found that it is not strong enough
to hold the trachea open.
How successful is the surgery?
Currently, this condition is not "curable". Surgery allows them to breathe much better.
Is it only performed for dogs with the upper collapse and not the thoracic?
NO....the type of surgery - procedure performed depends on where the
collapse is. The area that is collapsed determines whether they need rings
placed or a stent or both. In other words, treatment varies depending on the
patient/location. "treatment varies with location, we fit treatment to the patient".
Is Glucosamine helpful?
Glucosamine doesn't hurt the animal but it doesn't help the condition.
I have always heard that turkey meat is not good for our dogs.......is that just
another "rumor" that circulates???
From Dr. Claudia Kirk nutritionist at UT:
The comments regarding Turkey being toxic to Yorkies is mixed both with some truths and
inaccuracies. In general, Turkey is a good quality meat that is highly digestible and has good
quality amino acid profile. It is not toxic to dogs (as already noted by Jean Fritz). Turkey
is indeed considered a high tryptophan protein and, as noted, tryptophan is an essential amino
Where the earlier rumor could have been started is that aromatic amino acids (like tryptophan) can
build up in the blood during liver failure.
The higher concentration of aromatic amino acids to branched chain amino acids (i.e. valine,
isoleucine, and lysine) in blood can result in high brain uptake of certain amino acids that
contribute to unusual brain neurotransmitters. This is one of the proposed mechanisms of
hepatoencephalopathy: the seizures, and neurologic signs that sometimes occurs with severe liver
failure. In other words, feeding a very high tryptophan concentration is typically avoided in
animals with liver failure and I suspect this is where the concern arose over Turkey and Yorkies.
On a relative basis (compared to other proteins) - turkey is high in tryptophan, however, it is
also pretty high in branched chain amino acids - so the overall effect is not significant for
most dogs. I would be more concerned about controlling total protein intake and assuring good
protein quality than completely avoiding turkey as a protein source for shunt dogs.
In severe cases, it may be necessary to feed low AA:BCA proteins (like cottage cheese) along
with protein restriction - but this is unnecessary for most.
And, for corrected Yorkies or Yorkies without shunts - Enjoy the turkey!
Is Lomotil good for my dogs collapsing trachea?
Lomitil is an opiate antidiarrheal drug, similar to loperamide (Immodium), which has largely
replaced it because Lomotil was Rx only and Immodium is OTC. To the best of my knowledge,
these drugs have motility-modifying effects only on the GI system, not on the respiratory system.
Like any other opioid drug, at high enough doses, they could cause respiratory depression
(which may or may not be a good thing in a dog with tracheal collapse). At any rate, since
tracheal collapse is a structural problem from degenerating cartilage rings and not a "spasm"
problem, I can't see how these drugs would be useful by reducing "spasms" of the trachea.
One way that they might be helping (if they do indeed help), is that, being opioid agonists,
they possibly have at least a little antitussive (cough inhibiting) effect, although again, the
GI motility effect is the main action with these drugs.
So, if the patient is coughing and these drugs are even weak cough suppressants, there might be
some improvement seen.
However, since there are proven dependable cough suppressants already available to us (such as
hydrocodone), I would much rather use one of them, and possibly a tranquilizer also if that was
Hello. My name is Pete. I have a 7 month old yorkie names Max. We got him when he was about 4
months old. We noticed everytime he drinks water he coughs for about 15 seconds and then is fine.
The vet told us it was kennel cough and we have been repeatedly giving him medicine for it since
then. He also snorts when he is sniffing something but i am not sure if that is just normal for
yorkies. But he still gives a breif cough after he drinks...but otherwise he is completly fine
the rest of the time. Does this sound like he could have collapsing trachea? and if yes why hasn't
my vet been able to figure this out if i have even been able to pick up some symptoms. If this
doesnt sound like CT then any idea what it could be? thank you very much.
This is a tough one......I'm told it could be several things. It could be kennel cough, it could
be a collapsing trachea......if they have one at that young of age its hyperplastic which from
what I understand means it never developed properly at birth, it could be something as simple
as a reverse sneeze, which is not uncommon in small breeds, or it might have an
elongated soft palate. I would suggest they have this baby examined by a
board certified surgeon if it continues to be a problem. They do not say
how long they've been treating it for Kennel Cough.
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