Feline Collapsed Trachea

Feline collapsed trachea is a common respiratory disorder in cats. It occurs when the walls of the trachea become weakened and can no longer hold its shape, causing it to collapse during breathing. This leads to a narrowing of the airway and an increased risk of infection. Symptoms of feline collapsed trachea include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and gagging. In severe cases, the cat can also have exercise intolerance and/or a bluish tint to their gums due to oxygen deprivation.

The exact cause of feline collapsed trachea is unknown, but there are several risk factors associated with it. These include aging, obesity, chronic bronchitis, certain breeds (e.g., Persian cats), and airway irritants (e.g., smoke).

Collapsed trachea is a common respiratory disorder in cats that can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications. It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment for your cat.

Symptoms of Feline Collapsed Trachea

Feline collapsed trachea can cause a wide range of symptoms in cats, including:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gagging
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Bluish tint to the gums due to oxygen deprivation
  • Noisy breathing -Labored breathing
  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Frequent pauses in breathing

Diagnosing Feline Collapsed Trachea

Collapsed trachea can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be subtle and non-specific. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, your veterinarian will need to perform a physical examination and take x-rays of your cat’s chest. During the physical exam, your veterinarian will look for signs of respiratory distress , such as labored breathing or open-mouthed breathing.

Stages of Feline Collapsed Trachea

Feline collapsed trachea can be split into three stages based on the severity of the condition.

Stage 1

In this stage, the tracheal walls are weakened but still able to hold their shape. The cat can have mild symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing during exercise.

Stage 2

In this stage, the tracheal walls are significantly weakened and begin to collapse during breathing. The cat will have moderate to severe symptoms such as gagging, open-mouthed breathing, and exercise intolerance.

Stage 3

In this stage, the trachea is fully collapsed and the cat has severe symptoms including bluish tint to the gums due to oxygen deprivation.

Treating Feline Collapsed Trachea

The goal of treating feline collapsed trachea is to relieve the symptoms and prevent further collapse. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition and will include lifestyle changes, medications, and/or surgery.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Making lifestyle changes can help reduce the symptoms of feline collapsed trachea. This includes avoiding airway irritants such as smoke and dust, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing a calm environment.
  • Medications: Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to help reduce inflammation in their trachea and make breathing easier. These medications can include corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and antibiotics.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of feline collapsed trachea, surgery will be needed to repair the damage. This involves placing a stent inside the trachea to help keep it open and reduce the risk of collapse.

Preventing Feline Collapsed Trachea

Regular veterinary visits can help identify and treat any respiratory issues before they become more severe. Your veterinarian could recommend vaccinations or other preventative care to strengthen your cat’s immune system and help reduce the risk of respiratory infections. Furthermore, providing a healthy environment for your cat can help reduce stress levels and minimize the risk of feline collapsed trachea.