Does your pup suffer from a collapsed trachea?
If so, you’re probably looking to get them effective relief from the constant coughing and breathing difficulties.
More specifically, you may be wondering if CBD can help reduce their symptoms.
Well, it might.
Read on to learn more.
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Table of Contents
What is Tracheal Collapse?
The trachea, or windpipe, is a tube of cartilage in the throat that helps transport air from the nose and mouth to the lungs.
This pipe is made up of little rings of cartilage that connect the larynx and the lungs.
As the name suggests, tracheal collapse is a condition in which this small tube collapses.
This is usually caused by problems in the small rings of the trachea, causing them to weaken and the structure to collapse in on itself.
What are the Main Causes?
The exact causes aren’t always clear.
It can affect any dog of any breed, although it tends to be diagnosed in dogs of around 6 or 7 years of age.
In most cases, however, tracheal collapse is caused by a birth defect in which the cartilage of the trachea doesn’t form properly.
Tracheal collapse can also be caused by the weakening and degeneration of the rings of cartilage.
Some risk factors that might increase a dog’s risk of developing this condition include being overweight, as well as suffering from other underlying health conditions like:
- Heart and lung diseases.
- Respiratory infections like Kennel Cough.
- Allergic bronchitis.
- Cushing’s disease.
This is also more common in some particular dog breeds, including Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Maltese, Poodles, and Chihuahuas.
What are the Symptoms of Tracheal Collapse?
The telltale sign is a very distinct, dry cough.
As the dog breaths, the windpipe narrows, creating a tickling sensation in the animal’s throat which causes them to produce a deep, dry cough with a very distinct, almost honk-like sound.
Dogs with this condition tend to cough more in situations when they are breathing rapidly, such as on walks, during exercise or while playing with other animals.
Your dog may also cough in other situations when they are agitated, such as during car rides.
Some dogs will also cough when eating or drinking.
They may also suffer from coughing fits.
This constant coughing will irritate the trachea, causing it to become chronically inflamed, which in turn will lead your dog to cough even more.
Besides coughing, other symptoms of tracheal collapse include:
- Lethargy and fatigue.
- Trouble breathing.
- Avoiding exercise and play.
- Blue gums.
The cough associated with tracheal collapse is typically very dry.
And while it may sound harsh, the cough itself shouldn’t be painful to your dog.
What is the Prognosis of Canine Tracheal Collapse?
This is a progressive, chronic, and irreversible condition.
Lifestyle changes, while they might seem simple, can be a big help for dogs with a collapsed trachea.
If your dog is overweight, helping them lose weight should be one of your first objectives.
You should also stop using neck collars right away, as the pressure from the collar will only aggravate your dog’s symptoms.
Also, make sure you limit your dog’s exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, dust, or pollen.
You may also notice that some chemicals, such as those found in cleaning agents or room deodorizers, aggravate your dog’s symptoms.
If so, make sure to stop using these products.
If you’re a smoker, also make sure to avoid smoking in the house and around your pet as this will only further aggravate their symptoms.
Dogs with this condition will suffer in situations where they need to breathe rapidly. So try to keep them from doing intense forms of exercise like running or long walks.
You’ll still want to keep your pooch active but try to do so through light exercise, such as short, slow walks.
Also, try to keep your dog cool during hot summer days, as the heat will make them pant which, in turn, will probably make them cough.
Keeping your dog's food and water elevated may also help them as they won’t have to bend their neck in order to eat/drink.
Dogs with this issue will usually take one or more medications to help make breathing easier and reduce inflammation of the trachea.
Some common medications used include:
- Cough Suppressants. These are usually the first line of defense in cases of tracheal collapse that aren’t very advanced.
- Corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory and help relieve inflammation of the trachea from constant coughing.
- Bronchodilators. These drugs help dilate the bronchioles and bronchi, increasing airflow to the lungs while decreasing resistance in the respiratory tract. In doing so, they’ll alleviate some of the breathing difficulties your dog may have.
- Antibiotics. Your dog might be at a higher risk of developing respiratory infections. Your vet will prescribe antibiotics if they feel your pet is at risk of developing one of these infections.
- Anabolic Steroids. These drugs also help with inflammation and may also help strengthen the cartilage of your dog’s windpipe.
- Sedatives. Your dog's symptoms will be aggravated by agitation and stress. In some cases, doctors may use a sedative to keep a dog from getting too worked up.
Some dogs may benefit from surgery.
Surgery is usually used on dogs who cannot get relief from lifestyle changes and medications, seeing as it can be risky and may lead to further complications further down the track.
Your vet might use a number of supplements to help slow the progression of your dog’s condition.
These can include joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, which claim to prevent the breakdown of cartilage.
Can CBD Help With Tracheal Collapse?
CBD, as you probably know, is a component found in cannabis.
It is one of over 400 active compounds in the plant and has been the focus of a growing body of scientific research due to its potential health benefits.
Because CBD doesn’t produce that iconic high associated with marijuana (which is caused primarily by THC), it’s an attractive potential medicine and supplement for children as well as pets.
If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re familiar with the huge variety of pet CBD supplements out there.
You may already have read about some of the health benefits of CBD for pets.
But can these benefits relieve the symptoms of collapsed trachea?
Well, they might.
To understand how, you’ll need to first understand how CBD works in the body.
I haven’t used CBD on a dog with this issue, but I have used it with my other pets. You can read more about my personal story with CBD here.
CBD and Your Dog’s Endocannabinoid System
You’ve probably heard of the endocannabinoid system before.
Without going into too much detail (click here for a full overview of the ECS), the endocannabinoid system is a sort of regulatory system that can help manage a wide variety of bodily processes.
It is mainly made up of 2 components: Endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) and their receptors (CB1 and CB2).
The most basic way to stimulate endocannabinoid activity is with endocannabinoids that fit directly into these receptors.
However, the body is a complex mechanism, and there are many other pathways within it that, once activated, can also activate the endocannabinoid system.
CBD doesn’t bind to either cannabinoid receptors in the body but instead activates other receptors and molecular pathways that end up stimulating the endocannabinoid system indirectly.
So, what does that mean for dogs with a collapsed trachea?
Well, CBD can produce effects that might be able to alleviate your pet’s symptoms.
CBD is a really great anti-inflammatory compound.
In fact, some studies have shown that CBD can be more effective at relieving inflammation and inflammatory pain as standard NSAIDs like ibuprofen and even as effective as some prescription anti-inflammatories.
Actually, CBD provides its anti-inflammatory benefits via some of the same mechanisms as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Like these drugs, CBD affects COX enzymes.
Regular inflammatories block both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, both of which produce special compounds known as prostaglandins which have hormone-like effects.
COX-1 prostaglandins help with blood clotting and protect the lining of the stomach and intestines, while COX-2 prostaglandins are produced in response to injury or infection and help regulate inflammation.
By blocking both of these enzymes, regular NSAIDs reduce inflammation but also cause adverse effects, especially when taken over long periods of time.
CBD, on the other hand, is more selective and seems to have a greater effect on COX-2 enzymes.
In doing so, it is able to relieve inflammation without causing some of the harsh side effects associated with regular NSAIDs.
CBD also acts on glycerine and vanilloid receptors, through which it may also deliver part of its anti-inflammatory effects.
Today, a wide body of research exists on the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD as well as the role of the endocannabinoid system in regulating inflammatory processes.
Other Benefits of CBD for Dogs With This Issue
Besides its anti-inflammatory benefits, CBD may also help dogs with tracheal collapse by:
- Fighting Anxiety: There’s a really solid body of research detailing CBD’s anxiolytic effects. Remember, agitation and anxiety will increase your dogs breathing, forcing more air through their trachea, causing irritation and only aggravating their symptoms. If your dog tends to get anxious or agitated on walks, car rides, or during playtime with other pups, CBD may be able to help them stay calm. For more information, make sure to check out my previous article on CBD for dogs with anxiety.
- Fighting Pain: While it usually isn’t painful, the harsh cough from tracheal collapse can cause pain in some dogs. If your dog suffers from some kind of pain as a result of a collapsed trachea, CBD may help. For more information, make sure to check out my previous article on CBD for dogs with pain.
Remember, the endocannabinoid system is a really wide-reaching system involved in many different aspects of the body’s physiological function.
Hence, stimulating this system with CBD supplements can have a wide variety of effects.
For more information, check out my CBD benefits page where I discuss all of the benefits of CBD for pets in more detail.
Are Pet Owner Treating Tracheal Collapse With CBD?
As I’ve mentioned in other articles, there’s hardly any research trialing CBD on dogs or cats.
Most of what we know about the effects of cannabidiol comes from in vitro trials, studies on lab animals, or clinical trials on humans.
Now, I understand that might make you nervous.
After all, nobody really wants to experiment with medicines and supplements on their pets.
However, CBD is super safe and many pet owners swear by it.
After seeing the effects CBD had on my dog Rosie (who suffered from hip dysplasia and later cancer), I’m convinced that this stuff works.
But don’t just take my word for it.
Other pet owners have seen similar results. Thousands of them discuss their stories in our Facebook Group.
Luke, for example, is an aging Chihuahua who started suffering from a harsh cough due to his aging trachea.
Luckily, his owners were able to greatly reduce Luke’s symptoms using CBD capsules.
Tinker is another dog with a similar story.
At 13 years old, Tinker suffers from sarcoma in his lungs that’s also left him with a strong, persistent cough and feeling miserable.
After just a week of using an extra strength CBD tincture, Tinker’s owners noticed a huge change:
Tinker’s cough was almost completely gone and he started playing again and acting like his old self.
There are many other CBD success stories out there.
Make sure to visit the testimonial pages on sites like Canna-Pet for more insight from other pet owners on the effects CBD had on their pets.
Which CBD Brands and Products are Best?
If your dog suffers from a collapsed trachea, CBD might be able to help them with inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
On my website, I review a wide variety of CBD brands and pet products.
Right now, one of my favorite pet CBD brands for these ailments is HolistaPet.
For this particular condition, I’d recommend HolistaPet’s CBD Pet Tinctures.
HolistaPet also carries a great line of CBD dog treats and capsules. You can review all their products on my HolistaPet review page here.
For more information about this brand and other CBD pet products, make sure to check out the reviews on my homepage as well.