If your dog has been diagnosed with tracheal collapse, it can seem like devastating news, but with proper care, calm environment and medication, your dog can live a normal lifespan.
Collapsed trachea occurs when the trachea loses its elasticity and flattens, or collapses. Symptoms include repeated coughing "spells" that often sound like a honking goose. Small dogs are much more likely to develop this condition as they get older.
Medications approved for collapsed trachea include a short course of steroid treatment, cough suppressants and bronchodilators. If your dog is overweight, losing weight will take pressure off the trachea and help his condition, according to Dr. Arnold Plotnick in the health section on Petfinder.com.
Dogs that are treated with the various approved medications often live a full life. A dog with a collapsed trachea should not be encouraged to perform rigorous exercise since this will make the coughing worse. Additionally, switching from a collar to a harness will reduce irritation to the trachea, according to Dr. Race Foster on Peteducation.com.
The Yorkshire terrier is the breed that is most susceptible to developing collapsed trachea.
When medication no longer helps the symptoms, a surgical procedure is available that involves opening the trachea by using plastic rings and suturing them to the trachea.