8/10/07

Hypoplastic Trachea


So - here we were with our English Bulldog puppy (that's her on her back trying to play with Rufus our pitbull/lab mix in the picture), who we were told to keep calm, cool and slim. Luckily Stella has never been turned into a beggar. She loves her dog food - Nature's Variety - which we feed Rufus too. I have to say this food treats them both very well - although pricey - worth it (and I have tried lots of other high-end dog foods over the years with my dogs). She never overeats - and we try to keep her weight in check - although she's already a small bulldog due to her small trachea.

Her hypoplastic trachea is a condition where her trachea is abnormally small - about the size of a cat, our vet has told us. This causes her to breath as if you or I were having to breath through a straw. Normal breathing is fine for her, but if she gets overexcited or overheated, she puts more and more stress on her trachea, which can cause breathing difficulty, problems dealing with mucus, water and food, and eventually can cause the trachea itself to begin to weaken or collapse. Apparently vet students in some of the best veterinary schools are working on surgeries to correct this problem - but so far its not treatable.

It seemed that one of the worst things we were going to have to battle was the fact that when she got overexcited, she tended to vomit or hack up mucus, and that sometimes she must have been aspirating on that material, breathing it back into her lungs, and this would turn into pneumonia (at least this is our hypothesis). Or, the excessive breathing would cause the mucus to build up and get so thick that she would then develop breathing problems. Either way, the lemon is our savior and Stella's favorite toy, and its the one thing that seems to keep her airways clear and functional! We all love the LEMON!

44 comments:

  1. hello,
    our mini bulldog has that sme problem with getting too hot or excited he gets all this froth and mucus stuck in the throat. weve heard about lemon before. do you drip it in his mouth or what? Thanks!

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  2. If you watch the videos I have uploaded - you can see that we have gotten our bulldog to think of the lemon as a toy. We get her to bite a lemon half and right when she bites it we give it a good squeeze! If your bulldog won't have anything to do with it, I encourage you to squeeze the juice into his throat, but follow it up with lots of praise and pets - so he doesn't start to think of it as a negative thing. Usually after about all the juice from the half lemon is gone, she will clear the mucus from her airway. It works wonders! You could also try the squeeze bottles of lemon juice, or fill an empty squeeze bottle with fresh lemon juice. I think its important to give them strong doses of it, vs. adding it to their water. Even if he doesn't spit up the phlegm, you will hear it start to break up and it will help clear it up. Let us know if this helps you little guy, and send me a pic! I was thinking of a mini bulldog before we got Stella, but of course she is practically a mini due to her breathing issues, she is staying very small - only 38 lbs.

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    1. As I sit here at 11:30 at night in the emergency vet with our bulldog Moose you all have given me hope. He is only 15 weeks old and has had a rough go of it from the start. He got over his pneumonia but as we discover he has the extra small trachea. For the first time this morning he threw up a white mucus and went down hill from there. He spent all day in the vet and they said to put him to sleep. We didn't want to make a rash decision so we took him home to see how he was. Now we are at the emergency vet hoping for a miracle. If he does pull through I will def try lemons. We already planned on the airway surgery but have to wait another month. Thank you for all the helpful info.

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    2. Our thoughts are with you and your pup, good luck! If you make it through the rough patch, and ever want to speak directly with us, let me know! I'll email you our phone and/or email.

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  3. I actually thought stella was a mini! that is about mini girl size. Auto is actually a really small mini, only 25 pounds!
    i wanted to say thank you for the advice because we have been dewprate. This breathing issue has happened 3 times already and it is so bad that his eyes role back and he begins to pass out. it is so scary because he is like our child!
    The lemon seems to be working, he threw up after and then rand around as if to say "i can breathe!"
    i dont know how to send a pic on this thing!
    -jessica

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  4. Jessica,

    I am so glad Auto is being helped by the lemon. We give Stella lemons every other day or so, and it definitely helps keep that phlegm from building up. She almost seems to know its good for her! If Auto has the small trachea, you should try to never let him get overexcited or play too hard for long periods of time, this will help too. If you email me a picture I will definitely post it, and I would love to see him! Keep us posted!
    -Tracey
    tracey "at" fastspot "dot" com

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  5. It is interesting that this mini bulldog has the same issues. I have read that the breeders claim minis are unaffected by breathing issues. That is obviously nonsense.

    Too many breeders are pushing poor quality animals out to the public- it is scandalous! In the UK you pay about �2000 for a puppy that is $4000.

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  6. I am so happy to have found this site. When I received my EB at 12 weeks old. He came to me with right middle and lower lobe pneumonia and was diagnosed with Hypoplastic trachea. Since his pneumonia has cleared up he has been wonderful. He has not hacked up any mucus. He loves to play with my neighbors lab. I am always looking to see if he has any signs of cyanosis (bluish color) in his gums or tongue, none thus far, and I never over due it with him. I am however so scared that one day the floor could drop and he with become sympomatic.

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  7. just want to give you an update on auto! He had his enlongated pallate cliped and it was the best thing we could of done! He is doing so good, no need for lemon or worrying about him!

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  8. just want to give you an update on auto! He had his enlongated pallate cliped and it was the best thing we could of done! He is doing so good, no need for lemon or worrying about him!

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  9. Thanks for the update! Glad to hear Auto is doing so well!

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  10. HI! My name is Ashley and my boyfriend and i just got a little Bulldog/Pug mix. We were so sad to find out he had a hypoplastic trachea. I am so glad i found this site because the vet worried me and made me feel like he was going to be a very sickly dog that wouldn't last long. So far he hasnt been sick or had any major breathing problems. Thank you so much for the lemon suggestion, I will keep that in mind. I feel so much better knowing that other people out there have puppies with the same problems that are able to deal with it!

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  11. Even if my dog isnt showing any signs of congestion, should i still be trying the lemon every other day or so?

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  12. We do, just because, the lemon isn't going to hurt them, and if it helps keep that phlegm out of their systems before it becomes a problem - then all the better! Of course, we have it easy cause Stella loves to bite the lemon halves and thinks of it as a game. She even carries the lemons up to her bed at night!

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  13. Happy Thanksgiving!
    I have been looking to rescue an EB for almost a year with very little luck. I was approached by a local hobby breader whom has a 6 month old EB pup that has possible trach collapse or hypoplasia she has taken her to a couple vets whom have referred her to the University of Michigan for further review. I would really love to adopt this little girl but before I do I am looking for all the info I can get to make an informed choice. I am so happy to have found this it gives me hope that this gal could live a hapy semi-normal life, as I am hesitant to bond with her and have her pass.

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  14. I am so happy to find your blog! I have a small husky/sled dog mix and she has severe trachea hypoplasia, she is about 6 years old. she was very symptomatic when she was very young but then seemed have overcome the symptoms and ran and played hard for years. Now this winter she is have terrible problems breathing when she runs around, especially outside in the cold and it seems to be caused by a build up of mucus in her throat. i am thrilled to hear about the lemon trick and I can't wait to try it. I will keep you posted. Thanks yoiu!

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  15. This is great! My English bully, Pudgie, has a huge amount of mucus in her throat when she goes to bed. Shes not hyper when she goes to bed but she gets clogged more when she is relaxed. We've tried the lemon before only it got on her lip and the acid was obviously too strong and caused a pretty big rash were the acid burned. That was when she was 2 1/2 months. Now we give her a teaspoon of lemon maybe 2 times a week and we never heard her 'trying to breath' again. She is currently 5 months and never been better.

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  16. We just got a bulldog puppy he is 11 weeks old and has this same problem everyone is talking about. I can't believe this is so common! Our breeder however did know about it and sold him to us for much cheaper but we saw him and fell in love now we are just trying to treat his problem. Our vet just keeps giving us antibiotics and Motley shots :( it works temporarily. But the lemon sounds much better! So I just give him some lemon juice a couple times a week? He has pneumonia right now but he is on medicine I am def going to try the lemon.
    THANKS SO MUCH

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  17. Once your puppy is healthy start trying to get him to play with lemon halves! They are so fearless - if you can convince them the lemon is something to chase and bite, and turn it into a game when they are young, you can easily administer for them as they get older - we lucked out on that front. On another note - keep your pup as cool and mellow as possible. Stella really is doing great but we give her lots of time outs, and even lock her away in an air conditioned room when lots of guests come over cause she can't calm down and is so excited to see everyone. Its sad, but its worth it in the long run - and it keeps her healthy. Besides, she much prefers getting her stomach rubbed laying in the bed in the mornings, or going for a Starbucks run in the car and looking out the window!

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  18. hi my name is traci i live in corpus christi, texas. My english bulldog is about four months old, her name is dakota she was also was diagonis with hypoplasia wher her trachea is to small. I read that you had use lemon for your english bulldog, and want to try it wtih mine. I want to give Dakota hope for as long as she lives. She is a great dog and loves to play with her other two english bulldog sisters.IF you have any other advice i would appreciate it...thankyou!

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  19. hi my name is traci i live in corpus christi, texas. My english bulldog was diagonsia with hypoplasia wher her trachea is to small.I had read the comments on the website and came across LEMON and how it can help. I want to give dakota hope for as long as she lives.If anyon ehas any advice i would appreciate it .. thankyou

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  20. Traci -

    Good luck! The best advice I can give you is keep your puppy calm! Don't let her play too much with the other dogs, lots of time outs will help her not aggravate her breathing passages. We use the lemon juice every few days especially when STella is sounding phlegmy. Ideally you can use it as a preventative vs. trying to use it once your dog is already having a hard time. Think of the condition like breathing through a straw - you know how the saliva and phlegm builds up when you do that? Same thing for Dakota. So keep her calm and cool - I know it's hard to stop bulldog puppies from playing, but it's for the best for her. Short spurts of fun, or find non-active things that she likes - like chewing on nylabones, going for car rides, etc. Good luck!

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  21. Deanne Fingerman3/21/10, 1:40 PM

    SOOO glad to of found this blog! This is our 2nd bully and never had these serious types of bearthing issues before, but did spend close to $40K in his 12 years of life on other bully issues. Our newest addition, Bentley, is such an angel! We thought we did our dudilagence with finding the right breeder, but sadly, that does not matter in the bull dog world. Little Bentley has been in & out of the vet and ER since he was 8wks old. First being misdiagnosed with Kennel Cough due to the symptoms he displayed. He has had aspirated pnemonia twice now, only to FINIALLY be diagnosed with hypoplastic trachea. He has always been a supper phlemmy dog, constantly choking and gagging and then throwing up. Fortunatly, he is a very mellow bully due to the extensive training he's been in to eventually become a therapy dog. Yes, my trainer laughed when I told her my dream for him, but so far he's proving to be one whom loves for kids to just roll and pull and tug on! As many of you I'm sure have experienced, there is just something about our bully's that bring a smile to peoples face! They can't but to want to get down and get kisses and to rub and touch them. There isn't a night I don't wake in panic to his choking and gaging. We are doing a palate and nose resection in two weeks once his lungs clear from this past bought of pnemonia. Our last bully had undergone a palate clip and is last year a nose resection and he never had breathing issues again. For all bull dog parents, extreme excersize and heat is just asking for disaster. I just gave him some lemon juice, so I'm hoping to see this phlem break up. Our water bill is through the roof due to all the hot steamy breathing treatments he gets daily to help him. Does it help, perhaps for a little bit - think its more important for the pnemonia sake than the phlem. What we won't do for these little souls that somehow steal our hearts instantly!! I look forward to keeping up with all of you on this blog. If anyone wants to talk more "shop" seeing as I have experienced so many bully issues, please feel free to email me - deannefingerman@gmail.com.

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  22. I am glad to see a blog to help out these little ones with serious airway disease but I am disappointed not to see any comment on how to bred this malady out of the bulldog breed and that breeders should not be selling these dogs but giving them away with a written promise to spay and neuter so future generations of bulldogs can be happy AND healthy. Dont go so easy on the breeders...or AKC! There are plenty of bulldogs that suffer and die because they overheat from their airway problems. Please mention spaying and neutering and hold breeder more responsible.

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  23. It was completely accidental that I came across this blog. My 10 mth old EB was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Trachea yesterday. I have attempted to do as much research as possible and originally thought maybe she had a collapsing trachea. This is the 2nd time she has aspiration pneumonia. The first time was when she was around 2 1/2 months. I am not completely sure if that time might have been because she was playing in with the water hose and maybe aspirated water. Nonetheless, I have some relief knowing what we are dealing with now and that so many other people have positive, successful stories to share. When the Vet diagnosed her yesterday, they were quite surprised that this had not be detected when they spayed and the fact that she did so well during her surgery. (Imagine my surprise!!) Yesterday when I took her in she was extremely lethargic, standoffish, vomiting mucus, and wouldn't eat or drink anything. I started her meds last night (4 of them) and she is a new baby today - full of life and love. Needless to say she slept soooooo much better, woke up, ate breakfast, then we had a huge love fest!!! She just wanted to give mommy (me) kisses and play with her little sister (3 mth old lab/beagle mix)in tug of war. Life is grand once again!!! BTW, thank you so much for the lemon idea. We will most definitely keep them on hand from now on!!!! Wishing the best to all of you and your babies!!!

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  24. Terri, can you tell what 4 meds helped your EB on?

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  25. I have a beautiful and fun-loving bulldog male and it was found out that he had a hypoplastic trachea at 4 weeks old because of pneumonia and a good vet. He is still struggling with it and will use lemon juice now for him. I would like to know Terri's 4 meds also. I worry constantly because he loves to play with his playmates. Thanks for any help. Carolyn

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  26. I know it has been awhile since you started this blog, but do you know if currently there is a surgery to help with hypoplastic trachea? Our new baby, Rocky, was diagnosed yesterday with this. Very similar to Stella's case - the size of a cat. The vet wants us to consider surgery once we clear out his lungs. I am not sure, if it is not a "have" to or successful surgery. I do not want him to be part of an "experimental" study. They are suggesting surgery thru one of the local college vet schools. Please let me know if anyone has any information on the hypoplastic trachea surgery. Thanks.

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  27. Lynn,
    I don't know of anything, but Stella's trachea has gotten bigger as she's gotten older. We did get her the palette surgery and her nostrils widened which helped her breathing. I'd be careful going with a vet school, and ask to talk to owners of other bulldogs who they did the surgery for to get references and be sure they've done plenty of these types of surgeries. Good luck to you and your bully.

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  28. How is the Bulldog doing today???
    Mine I had, after getting 6 months old, was a fine healthy active Bulldog.
    Can you email me your answer, as I am checking a TON of sites and might forget to check back.
    aron@cutebulldogs.com

    Thanks so much.
    Aron

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  29. I'm hoping this blog has not stopped. I don't see any posts after November of last year. My precious 6 month old French Bulldog was just (in the last hour) diagnosed with severe hypoplastic trachea. We have had Jacque on steriods for about a month and they are causing some aggression towards his brother Louie. The second opinion vet is suggesting we contact UC Davis and talk to someone about a stint procedure they do. It's not super common and they don't have any longevity in the dogs that have had it so far. Meaning the dogs are only about 4 years out from the stint surgery. I'm confused and concerned and also waiting for the UC Davis vet to call me so we can discuss the cost. I'm definitely going to try the lemon, but our little guys is said a severely narrow trachea and they may not even be able to do the surgery on him. I'm still waiting for the return call from the vet. I'm reading no over exertion, which is hard because his brother, Louie, loves to rough house with him and hold him down. Louie is 22 pounds and 6 months also. Anyway, any advice is very welcome. We are still reeling from the vet telling us that we may not have him 'around' very long. I can't even go there. Help! Chrissy

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    1. Chrissy, sen me your emai and I'll provide any info I can I'm Tracey at Fastspot dot com.

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  30. hi
    i have an EB puppy with this problem, he is throwing up at least four times a day, i am losing my mind, will the lemon help with this

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  31. Moosie,
    So sorry to hear about your puppy. Go see a good bulldog vet, feed soft food, and limit activity. Good luck!

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  32. Hi Everyone!

    I can't even begin to tell you how much I have gone through trying to figure out what is causing my EB to be so congested....I have switched food, detergents...you name it I've done it. Just the other day I spoke to another woman who has had numerous EB's and she said that I need to get Cash to this certain specialist in town who does the trachea surgery. Cash is my baby and I am horrified with the thought of putting him through this, but if it helps him I'm all for it. I would love to hear people's opinions. Cash just turned 4 and from what this woman told me...is that this would be a perfect time. She said that you don't want to do it to early because the trachea could grow back. He has been congested (meaning super flemmy) every day and sometimes wakes up at night coughing. It breaks my heart :( I've done lemon but he absolutely hates it and it only helps a little bit.

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  33. I would ask for references for this vet - as I believe trachea surgery is relatively new. I know they hate the lemon, but if it gets the phlegm out, I say it's a small irritation for them to go through. I also have done steam treatments, and gotten her to have breathing treatments by the vet, where they also pat her ribs to help clear stuff out. Stella often wakes up with raspy breathing at night, usually cause she is hot and also has phlegm. Keep Cash cool, that does help too. Stella is 5 almost 6 now and doing great. We keep her on a high quality food that she seems to do well with (doesn't throw it up or aspirate on it), and regular lemon juice helps her clear out her phlegm. Keep us posted on Cash, and wishing you the best of success with whatever treatment you try. If he's made it to 4, maybe with some diligent maintenance on your part he doesn't need surgery? Most EBs with bad trachea problems don't last too long, so at least he's managed to deal with it this long. FYI we also did have Stella get the palette surgery and have some saccules removed from her airway - when she was about 1. That seemed to help her.

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  34. We just got back from the vet today and after chest X-rays our bully Samson has a trachea the size of a pencil she said. He's getting nebulizer treatments for early stage pneumonia. He's also on antibiotic that was started prior to the nebulizer when we thought it was just sinus infection. Is this size trachea considered the severe end of hypo plastic trachea? He is 17 weeks and after some reading hoping he has a chance of growing out of this??!!! What are ur thoughts. If we take him back to breeder I fear he will be euthanized. This is our first bully and we just don't kno what to do!

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    1. It's up to you, he may grow out of it, but you'll need to be careful with him. Our vet told us Stella's trachea was the size of a cat, but it's since gotten bigger, and she's doing great at 5 years old. Try to get your pup through this spell and see how it goes, you may be his only hope, as breeders often will euthanize dogs with this condition. Good luck, I hope you keep him and he improves!

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  35. Well Samson is on clavamox right now and we ate continuing with albutoril in the nebulizer. We really hope this will bring him around. He's not eating as much as I'd like, tried chicken broth and rice. Pretty lethargic..saw a glimpse of his play today with our 2yr old son, but now he's back to how he was before. I just pray we can get him healthy!!! If anyone has any tricks or advice we would love to know. We are in Iowa so not sure about a specialist...

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    1. Do the things your vet is having you do - the nebulizer breathing treatments and meds for pneumonia - give him time - hopefully he will improve. Once he's on the mend - you really must limit his activity so he doesn't cause the trachea to flare up from too much heavy breathing -which causes it to get inflamed, causing mucus build up - and the problems. It's hard with a puppy, but he will get used to it. Then try the lemon to relive his airways if he does sound phlegmy - but probably not until he's recovered from the pneumonia. You may also want to consider surgery to increase his nostrils and deal with his soft pallet (if it's elongated) as we did for Stella - that helped. Good luck and keep us posted! Sending good thoughts. - Tracey and Stella

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  36. Do the things your vet is having you do - the nebulizer breathing treatments and meds for pneumonia - give him time - hopefully he will improve. Once he's on the mend - you really must limit his activity so he doesn't cause the trachea to flare up from too much heavy breathing -which causes it to get inflamed, causing mucus build up - and the problems. It's hard with a puppy, but he will get used to it. Then try the lemon to relive his airways if he does sound phlegmy - but probably not until he's recovered from the pneumonia. You may also want to consider surgery to increase his nostrils and deal with his soft pallet (if it's elongated) as we did for Stella - that helped. Good luck and keep us posted! Sending good thoughts. - Tracey and Stella

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    1. Thank u for the advice! I hav been scouring the Internet reading bout EB's and pneumonia. And small tracheas. We hope he makes progress and he can grow to b a healthy bullie

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    2. I hope he does great! Good luck and know that many others were told to put theirs down by vets, and they didn't, and those dogs are doing great today.

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  37. My baby Hope is going thru this now ~ took her into the vet for the third time yesterday and she's finally gotten bad enough that he understands my concerns . He has me booked into a specialist this morning and Hope's episodes have become so violent I hope she makes it thru until morning. I am so sad for my sweet girl to see her struggling. I try to comfort her which helps a little. She's 5 1/2 months and weighs 23 pounds and her trachea is about .5cm and the doctor said he would like to see it 4x that size. Reading this while I'm watching her struggle with her breathing is helping me make it thru - thanks for being out there!

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