Hypoplastic trachea

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Radiograph of an English Bulldog with hypoplastic trachea and chronic pneumonitis[1]

Hypoplastic trachea is a genetic disease of dogs associated with brachycephalic syndrome and characterized by malformation of the tracheal cartilage rings that leads to narrowing of the airway.

Predominantly affected breeds included English Bulldog, Pug and Boston Terrier[2] and the condition usually involves other upper airways diseases such as stenotic nares, elongated soft palate and everted laryngeal saccules.

Clinical signs may vary depending on the degree of tracheal narrowing and affected dogs usually present with upper airways noises such as stridor or stertor, exacerbated while eating or drinking. Aspiration pneumonia can develop in some dogs. The condition appears to be aggravated by obesity.

Diagnosis is usually established on clinical history and supportive radiographic evidence of narrowing of tracheal diameter. This condition needs to be differentiated from tracheal collapse[3].

Although there is no specific treatment indicated for this condition, tracheal hypoplasia in some brachycephalic dogs can partially or completely resolve with growth to mature body size[4].


  1. Bulldog world
  2. Riecks TW et al (2007) Surgical correction of brachycephalic syndrome in dogs: 62 cases (1991-2004). J Am Vet Med Assoc 230(9):1324-1328
  3. Durant AM et al (2012) Use of nitinol stents for end-stage tracheal collapse in dogs. Vet Surg 41(7):807-817
  4. Clarke DL et al (2011) Partial resolution of hypoplastic trachea in six english bulldog puppies with bronchopneumonia. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 47(5):329-335