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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 29770
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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ED HAWKINS...Our 8 yr old welsh terrier was diagnosed with a

Customer Question

Customer: ED HAWKINS...Our 8 yr old welsh terrier was diagnosed with a collapsing trachea about 1 yr ago...she has been on the0phyline 300mg twice daily and a hydrocodone as needed...her situation seems to be getting worse...I am looking for a vet very experienced with this type of condition and all the latest options to consider
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: her present condition is difficulty barking and a cough that that seems like she is trying to get her breath
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Customer: no problem..I am a LSU Alumni living on the Gulf Coast
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm going to post the current acute and chronic treatments considered in these dogs for you. Please peruse the synopsis which I've tailored to your terrier and then return to our conversation with additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish...

Acute General Treatment

Oxygen and judicious use of sedatives and cough suppressants may be necessary in an acute crisis. Butorphanol can lessen acute severe cough and respiratory distress and should be considered a narcotic antitussive of choice for your terrier. Low dose acepromazine can provide sedation that breaks the cycle of airway irritation and coughing when a bout of extremely severe, collapsing trachea-related coughing occurs. Her worsening would appear to dictate the use of such a tranquilizer.

Chronic Treatment

Obesity leads to decreased lung expansion and increased breathing effort; hence, weight loss is important in any obese dog with collapsing trachea. Another alternative to her hydrocodone is diphenoxylate/atropine (Lomotil) which has found favor in these dogs because of its efficacy without causing profound sedation. Antiinflammatory therapy should be considered at this time to decrease laryngeal or tracheal inflammation. This is usually accomplished with predisone but only short-term use is recommended. If theobromine is no longer effective, either of the beta-2 agonist bronchodilators should be considered - terbutaline or albuterol. Finally, surgical implantation of external prosthetic rings can be considered in patients with grade II-IV collapse that fail medical management. Please ask her vet if she's a candidate for such surgery. Rings are more practical for cervical collapse but can be attempted for thoracic collapse. Please note that several potential drawbacks exist, including implant failure and extension of the collapsing process beyond the length of the implant over time. Intraluminal stents are an alternative. These are placed with endoscopic or fluoroscopic guidance.