Tucker sounds like a pig?

Chest Xray indicating Collapsing Trachea

Chest X Ray indicating Collapsing Trachea

What causes Tucker’s strange snorting sounds?

Tucker is on our YouTube channel for those of you who want to hear what he sounds like. Over the past few years he has progressively worsened to a point now that the owner feels guilty about walking Tucker around the block because he snorts and chokes and looks like he cant breath (which by definition is actually correct). The only problem is Tucker is 3 and wants to run.

Endoscopy Picture of the trachea that should be a circle but is flattened

Endoscopy Picture of the trachea that should be a circle but is flattened

Being a small Yorkshire Terrier there is plenty that could go wrong with the respiratory tract. The possible conditions that could be affecting him include:

  1. elongated soft palate
  2. laryngeal paralysis
  3. everted laryngeal saccules
  4. collapsing trachea
  5. dynamic airway disease
  6. cardiac (heart) disease
  7. a mass/polyp in his respiratory tract .

It was decided to perform a workup as he is only 3 and has a long life ahead of him. At Vet HQ we performed a pre anaesthetic blood profile. We are able to run full biochemistry in house so the results were confirmed to be normal within 30 minutes. We then proceeded to perform a General Anaesthetic. The upper respiratory tract was examined to be normal (nose, nasopharynx (via endoscopy), soft palate and larynx were all normal. Radiographs were taken of his chest that were also normal although were suggestive of collapsing trachea. Endoscopy of the trachea confirmed collapsing trachea and a final radiograph on recovery was icing on the cake.

Potential Specialist Surgery of a dog with a similar condition that has had a stent placed internally to open up the airway.

Potential Specialist Surgery of a dog with a similar condition that has had a stent placed internally to open up the airway.

What seemed like a routine procedure and diagnosis took a hairy turn for the worse when Tucker began seizuring on his recovery from Anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic can change intracranial pressures and potentially increase the chance for a seizure. Some drugs we use can also do this but as I was looking at the functioning of the respiratory tract during the procedure no drugs used on Tucker have been seen to potentiate seizures. Within 10 seconds of  commencing a grand mal seizure we had Tucker in a stable condition. For the rest of the afternoon Tucker came in and out of consciousness and had a few very minor seizures – all controlled with medication. He was on constant monitoring of Blood Pressure, ECG, temperature, and Oxygenation during that time. The Staff at Vet HQ left at midnight that night and were very happy to say Tucker was out of the woods.

Why did he seizure? Well that seems almost more important than the collapsing trachea that he has as seizures could be life threatening. It is also important as we may need to do further procedures to treat the respiratory disease in the future. At this stage though Tucker has made a speedy recovery and is at present on 2 medications and his breathing and snorting has almost gone away.

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