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BBB's Maddy has a collapsed trachea

 
 
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:21 am
After my Bichon, Maddy, finished being groomed Wednesday, he started coughing and shorting, and was obviously in breathing stress. The groomer and I thought maybe he had inhaled some of the 4-inch long fur removed from his body. I watched him for a few hours and decided to get him to the vet. It wasn't inhaled fur. His trachea had collapsed and his lymph nodes were inflamed. The vet said that groomers use a collar on a leash to prevent dogs from falling or jumping off the table while they are being groomed. Apparently, Maddy pulled against the restraint collar and his trachea was damaged. He is on two medications to help his breathing and cure any gland infection. I mmediately went to the pet store and bought harneses for both of my small dogs and got rid of their collars, which the vet said is bad for small dogs. I didn't know this about small dogs. The following information is valuable to know if you have a small dog. ---BBB

Tracheal Collapse
The Pet Health Care Library
What Is the Trachea Anyway?

Trachea is the scientific name for windpipe, the tube that connects the nose, mouth, and throat to the lungs. The trachea is meant to be a fairly rigid tube. It consists of muscle connecting a group of cartilage rings. The rings are actually not complete circles; they form a C with the open end of the C facing towards the animal's back. This muscle covering the open end of the C is called the tracheal membrane.

When the diaphragm (the flat muscle separating the abdomen from the chest cavity) flattens and the intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs) move, air is sucked into the lung. The muscles move the opposite direction and air is pushed out of the lung. The trachea serves as a pipeline bringing air into the chest. Part of the trachea is in the throat but it extends into the chest as well so that we can look at the trachea as having an intrathoracic portion and an extrathoracic portion.

Why Would a Trachea Collapse?

Tracheas collapse because the C cartilage flattens due to weak cartilage. When the C loses its curvature, the tracheal across the gets loose and floppy. Instead of being a tight muscle covering, the membrane moves as air passes through the trachea. When air rushes into the chest, the membrane of the intrathoracic trachea balloons outward and when air rushes out, the membrane of the intrathoracic trachea droops down into the C cartilage causing an occlusion. The tickling sensation of the membrane touching the tracheal lining generates coughing and if the obstruction interrupts breathing, the patient may become distressed. If the collapse is in the extrathoracic (also called the cervical) trachea, the opposite occurs; the collapse occurs during inhalation and the ballooning during exhalation.

Panting or rapid breathing for any reason makes the collapse and anxiety worse, which unfortunately tends to generate more rapid breathing and a vicious cycle of distress.

Making things worse still is the inflammation generated in the trachea. The collapse creates increased secretion and inflammation thus promoting yet more coughing which creates yet more inflammation. Ultimately the tissue of the trachea changes and loses its normal characteristics and the condition gets worse and worse.

The trachea may be collapsed along its entire length, only in the intrathoracic section, or only in the extrathoracic section. Most commonly the collapse is at its worse right where the trachea enters the chest.

What Animals Are Affected?

The victim is almost always a toy breed dog, especially poodles, Yorkshire terriers, and Pomeranians. The disease usually becomes problematic in middle age but can occur at any age. The cartilage defect that leads to the flattened C rings seems to be hereditary.

Many dogs with collapsed tracheas do not ever show symptoms, however, until a second problem complicates things. Factors that bring out symptoms might include:

Obesity
Anesthesia involving the placement of an endotracheal tube
Development of kennel cough or other respiratory infection
Increased respiratory irritants in the air (cigarette smoke, dust, etc.)
Heart enlargement (the heart can get so big that it presses on the trachea)

If a secondary factor such as one of those listed above should occur and make a previously incidental collapsed trachea a problem, often removal of the secondary factor (weight loss program, getting an air filter, etc.) may clear up the symptoms of the collapsed trachea.

Treatment

The following steps are often helpful in long-term management of the tracheal collapse patient:

If any of the above listed secondary problems are of concern, they must be addressed. This may mean that the owner gives up cigarettes or that the dog goes on a formal weight loss program or other treatment to resolve the exacerbating problem.

Dogs with collapsed tracheas become unable to efficiently clear infectious organisms from their lower respiratory tracts. Antibiotics may be needed to clear up infection.

Cough suppressants such as hydrocodone or torbutrol may be handy.
Corticosteroids such as prednisone and related hormones cut secretion of mucus effectively but are best used on a short term basis only due to side-effects potential. Long-term use may promote infection and weaken cartilage further.

Airway dilators such as theophylline or terbutaline are controversial as they may dilate lower airways but not the actual trachea. By dilating lower airways, however, the pressure in the chest during inhalation is not as great and the trachea may not collapse as greatly.

In a recent retrospective study of 100 dogs with collapsing trachea, 71% responded to medication and management of secondary factors (obesity, irritants in the air, etc.), 7% had disease so severe that they died within one month of diagnosis, 6% had severe additional disease problems, and the other 16% were felt to be candidates for surgical treatment.

Emergency

The patient's distress can reach a level so severe that the normally pink mucous membranes become bluish and collapse can result. When this occurs, tranquilization is helpful to relieve the anxiety that perpetuates the heavy breathing and coughing. Oxygen therapy and cough suppressants also help. If the patient reaches the point where distress seems extreme or if collapse results, treat this an emergency and rush the pet to emergency veterinary care.

Surgery?

If medical management does not produce satisfactory results, it is possible that surgery may be of benefit. Basically, a rigid prosthesis is placed and bonded around the trachea effectively creating a non-collapsible tube. This is largely effective as long as the portion of trachea that is collapsed is external to the chest. Should the intrathoracic trachea be involved, the surgery becomes far less successful, more expensive, and the prosthesis must be ordered according to the specific patient's measurements.

In all surgery cases, the younger the patient, the more successful the surgery is likely to be with success dropping off in patients over age 6 years. Severity of the collapse prior to surgery is not a tremendous factor in obtaining a successful outcome; improvement is reported in 75% to 85% of patients.

A new technique is being explored using a self-expanding stainless steel prosthesis. A study reporting results of 24 dogs receiving this treatment was published in January 2004. Of these dogs, 96% showed improvement after surgery. Two dogs died within the first week due to stent placement complications. One dog experienced some bleeding. After this 30% were reported to be completely free of symptoms, 61% showed marked improvement, and 4% continued to have symptoms. This appears to be a promising technique but has still only been used in a small number of patients.

Surgical therapy of tracheal collapse requires a surgery specialist. If one is not on staff or cannot be scheduled, referral can be arranged.

Is There Associated Liver Disease?

In the July/August issue of the Journal of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a group of researchers led by Natali B. Bauer pursued the common finding of enlarged liver in dogs with tracheal collapse. Her group looked at 26 dogs with tracheal collapse and compared liver function test results to 42 dogs without tracheal collapse. Ninety-two percent (92%) of dogs with tracheal collapse were found to have abnormal results. Dogs that received stent placement to assist their breathing showed improvement in these tests. It was concluded that oxygen deprivation from the collapse had resulted in significant liver disease in many tracheal collapse patients. It was further recommended that tracheal collapse patients have liver function tests evaluated as liver supportive medications may be helpful.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 10,926 • Replies: 45
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TheCorrectResponse
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:33 am
Sorry to hear about the pooch. Hope it turns out O.K. I hope this was a reputable groomer who didn't realize your dog was showing signs of distress and that you reported back just what had happened so it doesn't happen to another client dog.

As always a good article from BBB!
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:39 am
BBB
The groomer is a wonderful person and very competent. I will inform her of the vet's opinion. She may not know of the risk to small dogs. Every groomer I've ever seen uses that same collar-leash device to control the dogs. I bet most of them don't know of the risk.

BBB
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:44 am
I'm sorry to hear about the trauma BBB.
The best way to control any dog is with a harness. I don't know why people think choking an animal is sensible, we just don't question things like this enough.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 03:30 pm
Arf arf woof woof pant yip whine*







*Get better soon, Maddy!
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 03:50 pm
I always stay with my poodle while he's being groomed. That way, my baby isn't abused and doesn't end up falling off the table and/or choking to death.

I use a groomer who comes to my home in a van and completes the total grooming process in about one hour.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:17 pm
I'm so sorry this happened to Maddy. Does he seem any better now that he's been on the medication for a couple of days?

Thank you for posting the article. I had no idea such a thing could happen, and it's very valuable information.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:20 pm
Get well quick, Maddy. It's been kind of rough lately, but don't let it get you down.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 11:44 pm
Re: BBB
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
The groomer is a wonderful person and very competent. I will inform her of the vet's opinion. She may not know of the risk to small dogs. Every groomer I've ever seen uses that same collar-leash device to control the dogs. I bet most of them don't know of the risk.

BBB

You are far more generous and understanding than I would be in your shoes.

Get well, Maddy.
0 Replies
 
TTH
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 10:48 am
Sorry to hear that BumbleBeeBoogie Sad
I had a similar situation with my little dog. She starts coughing when I come home because of excitement. I knew about the problem because I had bought a book and read up on it. She actually stopped breathing one time and started turning blue so, I did what I thought was canine cpr (it was) and rushed her to the vet.
Thanks for the article because I go to a groomers convention once a year. I'll bring up the subject and see what they say.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 10:58 am
How's Maddy doing, BBB?
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 11:01 am
TTH
TTH wrote:
Sorry to hear that BumbleBeeBoogie Sad
I had a similar situation with my little dog. She starts coughing when I come home because of excitement. I knew about the problem because I had bought a book and read up on it. She actually stopped breathing one time and started turning blue so, I did what I thought was canine cpr (it was) and rushed her to the vet.
Thanks for the article because I go to a groomers convention once a year. I'll bring up the subject and see what they say.
[/b]

Thanks for helping to spread the word to the groomers.

I think using a harness instead of a collar might be difficult for the groomers, but perhaps someone can come up with an alternative. Perhaps a band around the stomach area that wouldn't interfer with the grooming.

My vet said all groomers use a collar. She thinks most of them don't know about the risk to small dogs.

Maddy, a male Bichon, weighs about 16 pounds. Dolly, a female Japanese Chin, weighs 7 pounds.

I feel partly responsible because I used collars on both of my dogs. When taking them in the car and walking them to a building, I used a double short leash that hooked on to their collars so I could control them together outside. While Dolly behaved, Maddy tended to pull on the leash, which may have weakened his trachea. The grooming session did the final damage.

I hope Maddy recovers enough that he doesn't have to have surgery to protect his breathing ability. I love that little critter!

BBB
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 11:08 am
littlek
littlek wrote:
How's Maddy doing, BBB?


Maddy is feeling better and breathing much easier today. He wants to cuddle a lot. The meds seem to be helping. He is sans collar and harness. He must wonder why his tags don't jingle when he runs. Dolly keeps picking up Maddy's collar and bringing it to him. They are a devoted pair of doggies.

BBB
0 Replies
 
TTH
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 11:17 am
I will probably be talking to a groomer later today and I get the feeling that the use of the collar is to have some sort of way to control the head of the dog. That way they are less likely to turn and bite. I will be sure to post what she says.

I hope Maddy doesn't have to have surgery due to the risks involved. Sending good thoughts for ((((Maddy))))
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 11:35 am
TTH
TTH wrote:
I will probably be talking to a groomer later today and I get the feeling that the use of the collar is to have some sort of way to control the head of the dog. That way they are less likely to turn and bite. I will be sure to post what she says.

I hope Maddy doesn't have to have surgery due to the risks involved. Sending good thoughts for ((((Maddy))))


If the collar is to protect the groomer from a bite, then why not use a muzzle instead of a collar, which can choke and damage the dog's trachea?

BBB
0 Replies
 
TTH
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 11:59 am
Re: TTH
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
If the collar is to protect the groomer from a bite, then why not use a muzzle instead of a collar, which can choke and damage the dog's trachea?
BBB
The groomer will use a muzzle if the dog is a known biter. Muzzling a dog to get groomed is only a last resort. Even if the dog is muzzled, the groomer has to have some way to restrain the dog from moving about or jumping off the table. If the dog moves about, then the groomer has a higher risk of cutting the dog with the blades. If the dog jumps off the table, especially a small one, the dog runs the risk of breaking their legs. These are only my thoughts from being around groomers. I will ask one personally.
0 Replies
 
TTH
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 09:02 pm
BumbleBeeBoogie
I spoke to the groomer without any mention of what was posted on this site and asked her about small dogs and trachea collapses during grooming. She said "WHAT?". She stated that first of all when she has a small dog who even appears to be in stress with the collar on, she will use a harness. If the dog will not stay still, she will have someone help her hold the front part of the dog. A wiggly dog (for lack of a better word on my part) when being groomed can easily be cut by the blades. She said in her opinion all properly trained groomers should be aware of trachea collapses on small dogs and even large dogs. She stated that the groomer you use may be an excellent groomer, but just unaware of this problem in dogs. She also stated she was in favor of using a harness to walk small dogs due to possible trachea problems.

Finally, I told her what was discussed on the site and she said she would never again use a collar on the dog in question and definitely never one that has had surgery. That is something for you to discuss with your vet though.

I found out soon she will be meeting up with another groomer from another state, who is well known, and she will bring the subject up with her. Most of these groomers are part of an organization and I am sure this will get around real quick. They are a tight community and have meetings where topics such as yours will be discussed.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 09:17 pm
Re: littlek
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
Maddy is feeling better and breathing much easier today. He wants to cuddle a lot. The meds seem to be helping. He is sans collar and harness. He must wonder why his tags don't jingle when he runs. Dolly keeps picking up Maddy's collar and bringing it to him. They are a devoted pair of doggies.

BBB


Oh that's good, BBB! Very Happy

I'm just catching up on Maddy's condition now.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 09:33 pm
I'm horrified, wondering, and hopeful.

J
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2008 10:38 am
TTH
TTH, thank you so much for your interest in this subject. I hope it spreads the word among groomers so fewer dogs are damaged by collars.

BBB
0 Replies
 
 

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