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Tracheal collapse/heat stroke

Published on: July 04, 2022 • By: shayla rose · In Forum: Dogs
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shayla rose
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July 04, 2022 at 07:10am
I have been dealing with some issues regarding my female Husky (2) since she was young. She has had some health issues due to bad breeding and genetics, but I have always been curious about her trachea. She used to make this high pitched constant squeak when breathing after pulling just slightly on a collar, with any pressure on her trachea. I used a harness until she got the hang of loose leash training and now she’s fine, on the rare occasion that there is pressure she will squeak again. She has also always had super labored breathing with minimal exertion like playing, or with the heat. I don’t take her out in the heat much but she has a cooled pool when outside in the yard when it’s hot, and has to come in after about 15 minutes. After even a quick bathroom break in the heat, her gums turn bright red, her tongue red and swollen to the side, she lays on her side with labored heavy panting. All of the heat stroke signs and it worries me that I’ll never be able to tell if she were to have an actual heat stroke. Today I took her on a hike; it was 85° out but we only did so for about ten minutes, a fully shaded trail with wind and it seemed nice. She was fine, no heavy panting until I got her home. Gums were red, whites of her eyes bright red (happens frequently with slight heat or playing), etc. Kept collapsing like super tired dogs do in her side. Thing is she wasn’t panting at this point, and seemed cooled off, no heavy breathing. Does heat stroke/intolerance occur frequently in dogs with a collapsing trachea? I spoke to her vet with my concerns over a year ago but she took it lightly. They said her trachea looked well when they tubed her for her spay, is this an accurate way to rule out diagnosis? I am going to request an X-ray I think. Thanks!
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
July 04, 2022 at 10:36am
Hello!  You haven't yet convinced me that your dog has a collapsing trachea.  Usually these present with a cough - a very characteristic cough - and in general owners don't report the red gums.  (However, from what you are saying about her breathing, reducing pressure on the neck is still an excellent idea eg with a harness). Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to rule out a collapsing trachea on an x-ray, because collapsed tracheas are a transient thing and unlikely to be captured, although there are some radiographic clues that vets look for. My third comment would be that collapsing tracheas are very common in certain breeds of dog, but not specifically huskies.  Obviously huskies can still get collapsing trachea, but it wouldn't be typical.
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
July 04, 2022 at 10:46am
However, you are quite right to be concerned about the signs that you described.  Congested membranes, exercise intolerance and overheating are all very serious to the point that they can be life threatening.   I wonder how much if this case your vet has seen so far?  Have they evaluated for heart problems and blood pressure? In general, vets prefer it if you present an animal with a list of symptoms you've seen and this feels like the best place to start.  Meanwhile, if you know that your dog turns red and has super-laboured breathing in certain weather conditions, it might be that your vet advises against exercising your dog in those conditions.  It is important to take this up with them.
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
July 04, 2022 at 10:50am
I hear what you are saying about an x-ray, which is one good way of assessing the heart and lungs (less so the trachea), but would normally be guided by your vet who should help you to choose the best diagnostic tool, once they have a list of possible (we say:  differential) diagnoses in their head.  Sometimes radiography is the best way of telling the difference between them, but sometimes it may be ultrasound.
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
July 04, 2022 at 10:51am
I hope that something in here has been useful.  Wishing you and your husky all the best.
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
July 04, 2022 at 10:58am
Please will you let us know what happens next?
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