Tracheitis and Laryngitis

Tracheitis is an inflammation or infection of the trachea, or windpipe. Laryngitis is an infection or inflammation of the larynx (the tissue and cartilage that close off the uppermost part of the trachea during swallowing to prevent choking).

Infection or inflammation of other parts of the respiratory tract can accompany these two diseases. There are numerous causes including bacterial, viral or parasite infections; inhalation of allergens (allergy causing particles) or irritants; tracheal injury or irritation and cancer.

Tracheitis may be secondary to underlying tracheal problems, oral disease or the chronic coughing sometimes related to heart and lung disease. Constant barking can produce tracheitis as well. Some infectious forms of tracheitis are very contagious.

Tracheitis and laryngitis most often show signs of:

  • Coughing, or a cough/gag/retch that may produce a small amount of saliva
  • Normal barking sounds may be affected also
 

The cough can be mild and occasional to constant, deep and hacking.

Diagnosis is based on clinical signs, examination findings, response to treatment and sometimes blood work, x-rays or various other lab tests.

Treatment varies widely based on the severity, duration and any underlying problems associated with the disease. Bacterial, viral or parasitic infections are treated with antibiotics, cough medications or antiparasitic drugs as needed. Underlying heart and lung disease, tracheal injury, abnormality or cancer must be treated as appropriate to help prevent recurrence.

Important Points

  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him or her rechecked if there are any concerns.
  • Separate any ill pets from others and use separate feeding, bedding and grooming items.
  • Wash your hands after handling to reduce the chance of disease transmission.
  • Have your pet rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian.


If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.