The Affenpinscher Club UK
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Tracheal  Collapse

Clinical Description

The trachea is a membraneous tube kept open by numerous   U-shaped cartilaginous reinforcements along its length.   It takes the air breathed in by an animal down to the lungs.   Some of the cartilage supports may be malformed or missing, or the tissue become degenerate, allowing the tracheal tube to narrow if not collapse altogether.   This permanent restriction of the air passages can lead to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and an enlarged and weakened heart.

 

Sympton

The most noticeable sympton is a chronic cough described as 'honking' or 'whooping'.   This is more likely to occur when the dog is excited, after exercise, when pulling on the lead or after drinking.

 

Diagnosis

This is usually made by x-ray although the best method is bronchoscopy where an optic fibre is inserted into the trachea whose interior can then be viewed on a video screen.

 

Treatment

Surgery for this condition is not very successful.   Most of the treatment is by medication which may include anti-biotics for secondary infections, antitussives to stop some of the coughing. steroids for the tracheal inflammation, diuretics to remove some of the excess fluid in the lungs and some form of heart drug if the heart is secondarily affected.

 

Home Management

The treatment regime devised by the vet should be followed meticulously.   The dog should be kept slim.   Heat, stress and excitement should be avoided.   It is better to use a harness than a collar.   Mild sedation may be useful in circumstances in which the dog is likely to become excited.

 

Breeding

This condition. which is very common in some toy breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers, is often not diagnosed until the dog is seven or eight years old by which point its breeding career is usually over.   It is not known whether this condition is inherited though from its familial background it does seem quite likely.   The mode of inheritance is unknown.   If your dog has a tracheal collapse breeding from it will worsen its condtion as well as running the risk of passing it on to future generations.

The Affenpinscher Club is interested in hearing of any dogs whohave had this condition diagnosed.