Tracheal collapse is a chronic, progressive disease of the trachea, or windpipe. The trachea is a flexible tube and, similar to a vacuum cleaner hose, it has small rings of cartilage that help keep the airway open when the dog is breathing, moving, or coughing. The rings of cartilage are C-shaped, with the open part of the C facing upward. Between the two ends of the C is a long band of tissue- the dorsal membrane- that runs the length of the airway. In some dogs, the C-shaped cartilage becomes weak and begins to flatten out. Initially it becomes U shaped but, as the dorsal membrane stretches, the cartilage rings get flatter and flatter until the trachea collapses (Figure 1). The collapse can extend all the way into the bronchi- the tubes that feed air into the lungs, resulting in severe airway compromise in the animal.
Small breed dogs are most commonly affected with the disease, particularly Yorkshire terriers, Pomeranians, poodles, and Chihuahuas. Affected dogs are often middle aged or older, though it can be seen in some young dogs as well. Dogs that are overweight or that live in household with smokers may be more at risk or at least more likely to show clinical signs.
Medical management includes weight loss, cough suppressants, antispasmodics or bronchodilators to reduce airway spasms, and sedation to reduce coughing and anxiety. Some dogs may require heavy doses of sedation to break the coughing cycle, since coughing will irritate the airway and lead to more coughing. Additionally dogs should be kept away from smoke and other environmental pollution (coughing may be even stimulated by smoke or other irritants brought in on clothing and hair). Dogs with infections are treated with antibiotics.
Medical management is continued after the surgery, and most dogs are placed on a course of steroids to reduce swelling and irritation from the ring or stent placement. Owners must continue to keep their dogs thin and avoid exposing them to smoke or other airway pollutants. Also, they should use a harness that is specially made to fit low on the chest so that no pressure is put on the neck area when the dog is being walked. In winter months, a humidifier may help relieve irritation from dry, heated air.
This information on Tracheal Collapse and much more can be found on the American College of Veterinary Surgery's website! acvs.org
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Patellar luxation is one of the most common congenital anomalies in dogs, diagnosed in 7% of puppies. The condition affects primarily small dogs, especially breeds such as Boston terrier, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, miniature poodle and Yorkshire terrier. The incidence in large breed dogs has been on the rise over the past ten years, and breeds such as Chinese shar pei, flat-coated retriever, Akita and Great Pyrenees are now considered predisposed to this disease. Patellar luxation affects both knees in 50% of all cases, resulting in discomfort and loss of function.
Patellar luxation occasionally results from a traumatic injury to the knee, causing sudden non-weight-bearing lameness of the limb. It may also develop subsequent to cranial cruciate deficiency in dogs that will typically have a chronic history of lameness. However, the cause remains unclear in the majority of dogs. Congenital patellar luxation is no longer considered an isolated disease of the knee, but rather a component/consequence of a complex skeletal anomaly affecting the overall alignment of the limb, including:
- Abnormal conformation of the hip joint, such as hip dysplasia
- Malformation of the femur, with angulation and torsion
- Malformation of the tibia
- Deviation of the tibial crest, the bony prominence onto which the patella tendon attaches below the knee
- Tightness/atrophy of the quadriceps muscles, acting as a bowstring
- A patellar ligament that may be too long
Knee cap can be manipulated out of its groove, but returns to its normal position spontaneously
Knee cap rides out of its groove occasionally and can be replaced in the groove by manipulation
Knee cap rides out of its groove most of the time but can be replaced in the groove via manipulation
Knee cap rides out of its groove all the time and cannot be replaced inside the groove
Thank you American College of Veterinary Surgery for making this information available for all who are interested!