Tracheal collapse is a syndrome in which the trachea (windpipe) collapses which causes an airway obstruction.  It is a commonly encountered cause of airway obstruction and coughing in the dog. The exact cause remains unknown, although there may be many factors involved. The most likely cause is abnormal synthesis of the cartilage that is part of the structure of the trachea (windpipe). The disease causes dogs to cough in spasms.

Either sex may be affected, although it is almost always a disease of toy breeds. Yorkshire terriers are the most commonly affected, but Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, poodles and Maltese are also predisposed. It may affect dogs of any age, although the average age at which clinical signs first appear is six or seven years.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Tracheal collapse is generally diagnosed by physical examination and history and chest x-rays. Tests to visualize the trachea may be recommended including fluoroscopy or tracheobronchoscopy.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. In an emergency situation, dogs with tracheal collapse are treated with oxygen, steroids, cough suppressants and sedation. Long term treatment may involve airway dilators, steroid, antibiotics and cough suppressants. Some dogs may benefit from surgery to reconstruct part of the trachea. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Dry cough (goose honk)
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Gagging
  • Respiratory difficulty

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday:
Walk Ins: Check-in starts at 9:45am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)


Saturday Hours

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM


24 Hour Emergency Care:


Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA



4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA

VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA

Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue

North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd



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