Q. How can I prevent my Chichuaua's trachea from collasping?
DR. CHRISTIE LONG, D.V.M., C.V.A.
A. Unfortunately there isn't a lot we can do to prevent the trachea from collapsing. Dr. Elbeze's suggestion is a good one, as a harness does not place pressure on the trachea and keeps the weakened cartilage from collapsing. If the problem is severe enough that the trachea is collapsing spontaneously (without pressure being applied) and your dog is having severe trouble breathing, I'd recommend seeing a boarded veterinary surgeon regarding the placement of a tracheal stent, which supports it and keeps it open. This is a very difficult and expensive surgery, however, and it's sometimes not successful. As far as medical management, if your dog is coughing frequently as a result of the collapse anti-tussive medication such as butorphanol may help.
DAVID ELBEZE, DVM, MRCVS
A. sometimes it collapses spontaneously and there is nothing you can do about it, but using a harness instead of a collar is the main thing you can do to prevent this condition.