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There is no cure for the disease, but certain treatments can be successful at controlling the symptoms.
For dogs suffering from tracheal collapse, there are some proactive things that pet owners can do:
Medical treatment may involve the following:
If the above treatments do not provide relief from the symptoms of tracheal collapse, surgery and stenting may be other options to consider.
Surgery tends to be most successful when the collapse is located within the throat (cervical) portion of the trachea. Basically, a rigid prosthesis is permanently placed around the trachea, effectively creating a noncollapsible tube. But surgery is an invasive procedure, which can be associated with significant complications.
A newer, noninvasive technique for treating tracheal collapse is the placement of an expandable metal stent inside the trachea with the aid of fluoroscopy or bronchoscopy. This is an especially useful technique if the collapse is located within the chest (intra-thoracic) portion of the trachea — an area that's commonly affected and difficult to treat surgically.
Stent placement is not without potential risks and side effects, and it is not a cure, so aggressive medical treatment must continue in these dogs. But the procedure has been very successful at controlling symptoms in many dogs suffering from this debilitating condition.
Dr. Donna Spector is a board-certified internal medicine specialist who practices in the northern Chicago area. She has special interests in canine and feline nutrition, gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes and Cushing’s disease.
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