tracheal collapse in chihuahuas: a serious chihuahua respiratory health problem

famous chihuahua editor chihuahua facts, chihuahua health concerns 142 Comments

chi-tracheal-collapse

many chihuahua owners email us with concerns related to their chihuahua puppies or dogs experiencing breathing problems, more specifically frequent gagging, coughing and chihuahua wheezing and seizures that result in gasping for air.  this article may be helpful to you if your chihuahua has been affected by obstructed breathing or symptoms thereof.

chihuahuas are known to suffer from problems related to their soft palate or a collapsed trachea.  it is a health concern that is characteristic of the chihuahua breed and is also commonly referred to as “reverse sneezing”.

chihuahua trachea collapse

tracheal collapse is a condition in which the trachea partially collapses or flattens out as your chihuahua is trying to breath.  this leads irritation and results in the gagging, coughing and wheezing symptoms mentioned above.

the trachea airway in your chihuahua is a very sensitive area

the trachea airway in your chihuahua is a very sensitive area

the trachea is the airway from the larnyx to the main bronchi in the lungs.  it looks somewhat similar to that of a vacuum hose and has many stiff rings with flexible tissue connecting them.

sometimes these rings are not stiff enough and are unable to hold the trachea open against the air pressure that’s created during respiration.  the portion of the trachea that is not stiff is then sucked into the airway causing partial obstruction making it difficult for your chihuahua to breath.

normal trachea vs. a collapsed trachea

the difference in a normal trachea vs. a collapsed trachea

factors that can lead to tracheal collapse in your chihuahua are obesity, irritants, allergies, repeated heart conditions, bacterial infections, viruses and second-hand cigarette smoke.

tracheal collapse can also be brought on by damage done from leash pulling, especially if you use a collar to walk your chihuahua.  it is recommended that you switch to a trachea friendly dog harness to prevent any pushing or pulling against the trachea.

wear a dog harness to avoid tracheal collapse

teaka the famous chihuahua wearing a trachea friendly dog harness to avoid tracheal collapse.

if any of these symptoms develop, take your chihuahua to the vet right away. this is an important chihuahua health concern. if they are not treated, damage can occur in the lungs, larynx, nasal passages and soft palate regions. your veterinarian will provide you with the right medications and you will be able to further prevent symptoms.

a happy and healthy chihuahua is the goal, and a sick chihuahua must be properly cared for.  famous chihuahua welcomes your comments and shared experiences.

 

trachea friendly dog harnesses

 

related: health issues and problems in the chihuahua breed

chihuahua breed facts:  what every chihuahua owner should know!

reference: tracheal collapse in dogs vetinfo4dogs.com/dtrachea.html
photo references: egyvetonline.com/animaldisplay.aspx?c=2&info=16
animalhealthcare.com/handouts/dogs/collapsing_trachea.htm

Comments 142

  1. Marjorie Jamieson

    My little Minki,has been diagnosed with this and my vet,has put him on a puffer with a inhalation ,two puffs twice a day,he doesn’t like the inhaler over his muzzle ,so I make sure I have a treat ready for him.He is seven years of age and I adopted him three years ago
    Poor little mite also has seizures and has medicine for this also.
    I call him my “little gold nugget ” as he keeps me poor.Lol
    But I love him to the moon and back.

  2. elaine

    my 1 yr old has done this sinse ive had him from 9 week old ,i mentioned this to the vet and was told its just a thing these dogs suffer from hell be fine , he seems to do it most when hes giddy like when hes going out to play it last for a few seconds then hes fine ,i didnt know what it was so thankyou

  3. Lee McCumber

    My little girl passed away 1 year ago on October 3rd, one month from her 15th birthday. When this happened I took her to a vet and had to wait for 3 days to have the xray read, my Baybie suffered for 3 days, passing away in my arms the morning before taking her back to get the results read. I feel the vet should have known what she was suffering from. I am still so angry reading this article realizing what she died from and that the vet should have been able to give her meds. Reading this has brought back the pain of that morning.
    I was bessed to have her the time I did. 2 months ago a family member gave me a little long haired chi she is as sweet as she can be, she has not replaced Baybie but I am blessed agian with Sunshine.

  4. Andie

    I have a 5 year old chihuahua-yorkie with a collapsed trachea. He has been taking medication but it is not improving. I have heard that there is a surgery for it but my vet said the success is less than 50% and its too much for a small dog. Is this true or are there any other options?

  5. Wendy

    I have a long hair apple head chihuahua shes only 16 weeks i gave her a bath last night dried her really good and we went to sleep the air was on she woke up around 6 am coughing and gagging and im worried what can i give her or will it pass??

  6. Tracy Robinson

    My jackawowa is 4 months we AV had her a month and since getting her she does a small dry cough which at same time comes with a sort of choking moment my friend sed it could just be as she is a pup prone to chewing and eating on anything she can get mainly fluff she’s cheating her throat the vet were her puppy plan was sed at minute not to worry but looking it up and reading comments on here I’m a bit worried any advice from any1 it happened to wen there’s was a puppy

  7. Pamela Haupt

    I have a two year old mix chihuahu toy rat terrior mix.. I first started noticing him taking his toung and thrusting it like he had a dry mouth.. When he drinks water he gets chocked and throws up a some of it… Now he has started doing the reverse sneezing…. At times it’s like he’s about to collapse…. I will rub his throat that seems to help.. His name is Pettie he weighs 6Lbs. It is truly scary seeing him do this… I don’t know what to do but take him to the vet… But I want a vet that understands this condition and knows how to treat it properly… I live in Birmingham , Alabama… Could anybody help me with information who would be the best vet that I could take him to and truest he will get the proper treatment…. He’s my buddy!!! I LOVE HIM so much… My daughter died less than a year ago. I can’t take looking him too…. Please someone help US😞

  8. Fay

    My Angel is 11 yrs old. She started coughing about 3 mos. ago. At first we thought it was allergies and thought it would pass. After a month we took her to our regular vet who diagnosed her with Congestive Heart Failure and gave her some Enalapril and Lasix. She did not seem to be getting any better. I held her one night until 3:30AM like a baby trying to stop the coughing. The next day I looked up a Cardiology Veterinarian on the internet and took her to him. He did a lot of tests and showed me x-rays with the collapsed trachea that my Angel had. He, also, told me that she did not have CHF, but, she did have a heart murmur. He looked at the medicine that our regular vet gave us and said what was labeled Enalapril was not Enalapril and said the other was not lasix and that she did not need lasix. The Cardiology Vet gave me a bottle from his office which is a cough suppressant and another with Prednisolone plus a prescription that I had filled at the pharmacy for Enalapril. The pharmacy Enalapril looks like what the regular vet said was Lasix. Needless to say I’m going with what the Cardiology Vet says. Her coughing usually starts in the evening with short jerks and then the loud coughing. I pick her up and rub her gently in the trachea area. Having a heart murmur would probably keep her from having surgery. All of her blood tests came back good. I have started feeding her an holistic diet which I hope will help a little. She gets really hot when the coughing starts. I am handicapped and she sleeps with me and has most of her life. She follows me everywhere. I don’t want to lose her. The Cardiology Vet gives me hope for another 3 or 4 yrs. We go back in a few days to the Cardiology Vet for a check up. I don’t see her getting any better or any worse. I really hope the lung bleeding doesn’t start. One thing that I don’t understand is that she started losing her ability to immediately stand on all four legs when she gets up when the coughing started. Her front legs will spread out to her sides. It takes a few minutes for her to get her balance. The Card. Vet checked her legs out, but, could not find a reason for her legs spreading out like that. I try to make sure that her legs are together when she gets up and that she gets her balance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. She is walking on the same floor that she has walked on for years. I have removed her collar. We have a fenced in yard and I watch her when she goes outside. Does anyone know of anything else I can do for her? As little as she is we really cling to one another. Thank you.

  9. sheila sims

    Thanks for the information.very much appreciated. My baby does the same thing. Thanks again.

  10. Veronica Sforza

    My sweet Serina is a Chihuaua rescue. I’ve had her for about 5 years. She’s like 13. She was diagnosed with a collapsed trachea shortly after I adopted her. She’s been on medication for years and it just keeps getting worse. As a matter fact she’s on medication and cough medicine now. Poor baby, she is laying with me now wheezing and coughing. It is difficult for her to breathe or to sleep. My doctor Has been trying to help her. He says, as I have found while doing research, surgery has mabye a 50% chance of woking. Is it worth it to try to do the surgery? I don’t know what to do… I feel so bad for my sweet 4.5 pound Serina. Oh she lost about 5 oz in the past year… Any advise?

  11. S Turner

    My chihuahua has recently been diagnosed with this condition, it’s heart breaking to watch him gasp for breath, he’s much worse in the evenings or in warmer weather, I’ve recently brought an air purifier which has also helped to make breathing alittle easier for him, if anyone has any advice it would be great fully appreciated. He’s also gone very lethargic and doesn’t want to do any exercise, I would love for him to enjoy his walks again like he used to,

  12. Helen Daff

    My dog has symptoms like ‘reverse sneezing’ when she drinks water too fast.
    She’ll then make that ‘chocking noise’ that lasts a few seconds then sorts itself out. Never had it any other time. She wears a harness and not neck collar and is not overweight. I will mention it to the vet next time I go.

  13. Karen

    If I pick my little girl and hold her upright, head on top, and sqeeze a little pressure around her heart area, she quits coughing. I also give her a bronchial dilator that I got from my vet, in tablet form.

  14. Rodney

    Another way to assist in stopping the episode of coughing or choking is rubbing or petting her/ him were they absolutely love it. Were it makes them melt with pleasure. This works and has worked for me every time. My coco loves her back/ spine rubbed. She usually snaps right out of it.

  15. Shirlee

    I have a 4 year old female chihuahua, she was purchased from harrods in London when they had their pet kingdom,she has done that noise since we got her, sounds a bit like a duck sound and at times it gets loud and makes her reach to be sick then it stops but I have found if I say in a stern voice ” princess stop that” then she does. So yes maybe distraction is a good idea like someone else mentioned

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