The trachea, also known as the windpipe, is an important structure which connects the throat to the lungs. It is composed of 35- 45 C-shaped rings of cartilage that are joined by muscle and ligaments to create a tube-like structure. It serves the purpose of directing air into the respiratory tract.
When the cartilage rings are flattened from the top to the bottom, the trachea is said to be collapsed. Rapid inhalation of air can cause the trachea to flatten and make it difficult for air to enter the lungs, much like a soda straw being drawn on too vigorously.
Why does it happen?
We do not completely understand how this condition develops. However, we know that these dogs have an abnormality in the chemical makeup of their tracheal rings. The rings loose their stiffness so they are not able to retain their circular shape. We also know that it occurs in certain breeds of dogs, notably Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Toy Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. Because of that, it is suspected that there is a genetic factor involved.
What are the signs?
With reverse sneezing the pharynx (back of the throat) goes into spasms. The dog finds it difficult to draw in air through the spasms, so it stands still, stretches out her neck, and thrusts its elbows out (like a bowlegged bulldog) as it honks, wheezes, or snorts. Often eyes open wide. The spasms will stop if she swallows a couple of times.
•Close off her nostrils with your fingers so it has to breathe through its mouth for a few seconds. •Gently rub its throat. This works for some. •Distract it by carrying the dog outside into the fresh air.
Young puppies can reverse sneeze, but the first episode typically occurs in late adolescence. Stay calm and get it to swallow with one of the methods described above. In a few seconds to a minute, it will run off to play. Reverse sneezing is a harmless phenomenon which needs no vet consultation and no medical treatment whatsoever. It is very common in toy breeds.
Other signs, however, will help you distinguish the two conditions: If it makes these sounds when excited or after eating or drinking, or turns her elbows outward and extends its neck and gasps inward with a rhythmic snork! snork! snork!, this is reverse sneezing. If it breathes through the mouth sometimes, or breathes with a raspy sound, or coughs reflexively when you simply rub its throat, it could have a collapsing trachea. If the cough is one or two expulsive outward bursts (forcing air through the trachea to open it), typically with a gag or empty retch at the end, she could have a collapsing trachea.
The most common clinical sign of collapsing trachea is a chronic cough. It is often described as dry and harsh and can become quite pronounced. The term "goose honk" is often used to describe it. Coughing is often worse in the daytime and much less at night. The cough may also begin due to excitement, pressure on the trachea (from a leash), or from drinking water or eating.
If you suspect collapsed trachea or are confused as to the difference between the two, contact you vet ASAP.
Description: Luxated patella (synonyms: slipped patella, slipped knee-cap, slipped stifle) is a disorder in which the patella slips out of the trochlear groove, usually to the medial (inside) side of the leg. It can be unilateral or bilateral, and mainly affects small and miniature breeds. It may cause severe pain, particularly at the onset of the disease when an affected puppy may be seen to run, then yelp and start to favor the affected limb. The disorder may seem minor, and the patella can be pushed back into place, but in most cases luxation recurs repeatedly. The disorder can also be very severe, with permanently fully flexed hocks and stifles with the animal moving the best it can, apparently indifferent to the deformity, and the looks of pity or slight amusement of human observers. The disease is difficult to study, since a genetic susceptibility must be present in combination with an inciting factor such as running, jumping or sudden turns that causes the knee-cap to slip out of place. In some cases, the trochlear ridges are so low or eroded or the patella is so loose, it slips free with little or no effort.
Age of Onset: The disease usually occurs at 4 - 5 months of age, but may occur earlier or later than this age.
Diagnosis:The diagnosis can usually be made by palpation by a trained observer. Radiographs are definitely helpful, especially in examining the trochlear ridges for prognostic purposes.
Treatment: Treatment consists of slipping the patella back into place. This correction is seldom permanent, and frequent relapses occur. Surgical correction using one of 2 or 3 different techniques is a more permanent solution. The choice of technique depends on the individual case.
The disease occurs in West Highland White, Boston, Fox, and Yorkshire Terriers; Chihuahuas; French Bulldogs; Japanes and King Charles Spaniels; Poodles (miniature and toy); Pomeranians; Pekingese; and numerous other breeds.
For more info on Luxating Patellas visit Working Dogs.com
Description: Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (synonyms: Legg-Perthes, osteochondritis deformans juvenilis, avascular necrosis, coxa lana) is a noninflammatory avascular necrosis of the femoral neck and head that usually occurs in small breeds of dogs. The first sign of the disease may be irritability, which progresses to a chronic hind limb lameness of apparent sudden onset. The lameness may decrease as the dog ages. Pain can be elicited when the hip joint is manipulated. Leg motion is reduced, and some muscle atrophy may occur. Either one rear leg or both rear legs may be affected.
Age of Onset: The age of onset is typically 3 - 11
Diagnosis: Typical clinical signs and radiographs of the hip are diagnostic.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment. Some dogs recover reasonable function without treatment. In severe cases, removal of the head of the femur eases pain and helps restore function. Cage rest has been effective in fewer than 25% of the cases.
Source: Westie Foundation of America
This condition is often referred to as a "liver shunt" but the current favored term appears to be portosystemic shunt. These have also been referred to by more exact terms since there are specific types of shunts that vary slightly. The broad categories are extrahepatic and intrahepatic shunts, depending on whether or not the shunt occurs in the liver or outside of it. Specific types of shunts are patent ductus venosus, portal-azygous, portocaval (portal-abdominal vena cava), atresia (lack of development) of the portal vein and acquired shunts that occur due to changes in blood pressure or circulation.
Yorkshire terriers are reported to have a higher than normal incidence of liver shunts. They are reported to be more likely to have extra-hepatic shunts which is good since they are easier to repair.
What are the signs?
How is Liver Shunt diagnosed?
How is it treated?
CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS OF HEPATIC PORTO-SYSTEMIC SHUNTS by Larry Snyder, DVM
Clinical Signs: Most dogs will be diagnosed with port-systemic shunts under one year of age, but dogs as old as eight have been diagnosed with the condition. Animals are usually stunted, thin, depressed, have trouble gaining weight, and are usually characterized by the owners as chronic "poor doers". In most affected dogs there will be some degree of behavioral signs ranging from listlessness, apathy, or depression to more severe signs of circling, head pressing, stupor, drooling, blindness, or convulsions, some leading to coma. These behavioral changes are due to an accumulation of toxins (especially ammonia) that affect the brain causing a condition called Hepatic Encephalopathy. These toxins are most abundant in the blood stream following the dog eating, especially a high protein meal, & may remain high for hours afterward. Not all dogs with the shunt will show this meal associated behavioral change, but in 25% of the affected dogs that do, the diagnosis becomes clearer. A high percent of affected animals show an intolerance to anesthetics or tranquilizers, & will show increased recovery times following use of these products. Even anti-convulsants used to control seizures may be potentially dangerous if allowed to concentrate in a dog with functional shunt. Approximately 75% of affected individuals will show digestive system symptoms including poor appetite, ascites, vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, or occasionally deranged appetite (eating paper, etc.). Urinary system symptoms may include increased thirst and urination, & in a majority of porto-systemic shunt cases, there will be crystals or stones formed in the urinary tract. These crystals will be either uric acid or ammonium urate (ammonium biurate or thorn-apple crystals.). There can be bladder stones formed or crystals may be noted on the hair around the prepuce or vulva.
Laboratory Findings: Routine performed serum chemistries are fairly nonspecific toward confirming the diagnosis of porto-systemic shunts, but there may be a decreased total protein (primarily albumin), decreased blood glucose, decreased cholesterol, & decreased blood urea nitrogen (BUN). The uric acid levels may be elevated in a significant number of affected individuals. Acid levels are extremely important in the diagnostic screening of symptomatic potential shunts. Fasting and 2-hr. post meal blood samples are evaluated for bile acid levels. In virtually all porto-systemic shunts there will be a significant rise in the bile acid levels over normal. The use of bile acids in screening clinically normal dogs for liver shunts is not currently being advised due to the variation of normal bile acid levels in Yorkshire Terriers, & other breeds as well. Reports of recent vaccination with modified-live vaccines causing high serum bile acid levels in normal animals have not been confirmed as of this time. Liver function testing with Bromosulfaphthalein (BSP) or ammonia tolerance testing are sensitive & reliable if performed correctly. These tests measure the liver's ability to excrete/detoxify known agents, and thus measure liver function accurately.
Radiography. Radiography is one of the most important methods of establishing a diagnosis of porto-systemic shunt, & is currently the only universally accepted method of confirming a shunt, short of major surgery. Injection of a radiopaque dye into the spleen (Splenoportograpy) will show the shunt on radiographs & allow accurate assessment for surgical correction.
Nuclear Medicine. The placement of a radiopharmaceutical agent (radioisotope) specific for the liver into the colon for absorption through the mucosa has been gaining favor because of its noninvasive diagnostic value. This procedure requires expensive equipment & the diagnosis is based on the distribution of the radionuclide in the lung or heart compared to that in the liver. This procedure also does not identify the exact location of the shunt for surgical correction if required.
Ultrasound. Until recently, ultrasound was fairly unreliable for nonsurgical diagnosis of porto-systemic shunts. With the advent of Color Flow Ultrasound, there is the potential for diagnosis of this condition on non-anesthetized animals. At the present time, this technology appears to be the diagnostic procedure of choice. If currently undertaken research confirms its value, Color Doppler Ultrasound will soon be the preferred screening and diagnostic tool.
At the present time, Hepatic Porto-Systemic shunts are considered to be UNQUESTIONABLY genetic by some of the leading canine experts, but the mode has not been identified at the present time; research is being conducted at Michigan State University to identify this pattern. Genetic disorders in dogs can spread relatively rapidly if a dog, whether affected or a carrier, is a well-respected animal in either conformation or ability, and is used extensively for breeding. This is especially true in the case of the male that can produce hundreds of offspring during his breeding life. If the cause of such a condition can be discovered, then a working strategy can be implemented to control and eliminate the disorder.
The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America Foundation, Inc. is currently funding research into both the genetic nature of the problem & into the use of Color Flow Doppler Ultrasound as a diagnostic & screening tool. These steps will hopefully become the basis for setting up an open registry for Yorkshire Terriers & other affected breeds to hopefully eliminate, or at least minimize the problem within each breed.
For More information contact the Y.T.C.A.
Sources •Richard, Michael, DVM Q&A-Dr Mike Retrieved February 1998 from the WWW http://www.vetinfo.com/Q&A.html •Shumsky, Terri (1993) How to buy your Toy Dog, and Raise it Inexpensively California Creations by Terri. •Snyder, Larry D.V.M. Y.T.C.A. Foundation
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