My name is***** and I am sorry to hear that your pup has tracheal collapse. This is very common in small breed dogs, especially yorkies and silkies. This condition is caused by the rings of the trachea becoming soft with age. The rings are supposed to be very firm and hold the trachea in the open position, but as they soften, the trachea becomes more soft and cannot hold itself open. This causes coughing because the inner walls of the trachea touch each other and cause irritation.
Here is a link with diagrams and pictures that can help describe this condition:
Treatments can include several different things-
-Medications. I know you said that you were concerned about pills, is this because your dog is difficult to medicate or because you are looking for alternative remedies? If your dog does not like to take pills, there are liquid preparations that can be flavored to just about anything that may be easier to administer. Just ask your vet about having the medications compounded into liquids. For alternative treatments, see below.
-surgery- this is where the surgeon places a stent into the trachea. A stent is a plastic device that is narrow when it comes out of the package, they feed it down the trachea and then it springs open and holds the trachea open. This is a fairly risky procedure, and is likely only performed a major referral centers but it is an option.
-alternative treatments- 1) weight loss can help reduce the pressure on the trachea. 2) Menthol treatments-boil menthol in water and hold your pup above the steaming water for about 5 minutes. This can help open the airway. 3) Reducing allergens in the home such as cigarettes, mold, etc.
Does this help? Do you have any other questions?