Hole in the Trachea in Cats

Hole in the Trachea in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Hole in the Trachea in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Hole in the Trachea?

Tracheal perforation most often occurs due to external trauma or an internal injury and can range from a small tear to complete avulsion, in which case the trachea tears away.

The trachea, also known as the windpipe, is a tube made of cartilage that allows air to pass from the throat to the larynx to the bronchi in the lungs. When the trachea becomes perforated via a small hole or tear in the cartilage, the air that normally passes into the lungs goes into the surrounding tissues. This creates pockets of air under the skin, in the mediastinum (the area between the lungs), around the heart, in the chest cavity and in the posterior portion of the abdominal cavity.

Hole in the Trachea Average Cost

From 558 quotes ranging from $500 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Hole in the Trachea in Cats

Symptoms typically appear immediately or within seven days of the injury or trauma. These symptoms include:

  • Visible tissue damage to the neck and/or trachea
  • Respiratory distress
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Rapid breathing
  • Visible pockets of air under the skin
  • "Crackling" sound when stroking cat's neck and back
  • "Crowing" noise as the cat intakes air
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Aversion to exercise
  • Gagging
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive salivation
  • Coughing
  • Shock
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Hole in the Trachea in Cats

Perforation of the trachea can either be caused by an internal injury or external trauma. Internal injuries most often happen during a separate medical procedure by the veterinarian (iatrogenic). These causes include:

  • Accidental puncture while drawing blood
  • Accidental puncture during neck surgery
  • Traumatic intubation during use of a tracheostomy tube
  • Administration of anesthesia
  • During a transtracheal wash

External trauma to the trachea normally occurs as the result of an accident. These accidents include:

  • Penetrating trauma from an arrow, gunshot
  • Blunt trauma from a thrown rock or object
  • Bite wounds
  • Falling from a great height
  • Vehicle accident
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Hole in the Trachea in Cats

The veterinarian will ask for the cat's health history, a list of noticeable symptoms, any recent accidents that occurred and a date when the symptoms first began. The veterinarian will physically examine the cat, feeling for air pockets and listening to the cat's breathing. Labs, which will include a complete blood count, a biochemical profile, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis, will be taken. These tests will help the veterinarian eliminate other conditions that could be causing the respiratory problems. An arterial blood gas analysis may also be performed. This test looks at the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. A pulse oximetry test will also be performed. Both tests will typically show low amounts of oxygen saturation.

Radiography is the best way to confirm a tracheal perforation. A side view X-ray of the chest and neck will show the air pockets and air collection under the skin, around the heart, in the chest cavity and in the mediastinum. An abdominal X-ray may show free air in the abdominal cavity. The trachea may appear narrowed and the site of the tear or hole may be visible.

A tracheoscopy may also be performed to visualize the trachea. During this procedure, the cat will be placed under general anesthesia while a small tube with an attached camera (endoscope) is placed into the cat's mouth and into the trachea. The tracheoscopy can help the veterinarian determine the extent of damage and the best course of treatment. As this procedure does carry the risk of furthering injuring the trachea, however, it is only recommended in some cases.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Hole in the Trachea in Cats

Oxygen Therapy

The cat will need to be hospitalized and given oxygen via a nasal cannula or a face mask to increase its oxygen saturation levels. Oxygen therapy will be continued while other medical therapies are provided to the cat until the cat can get enough oxygen through its own breathing.

Fluid Therapy

Cats who are dehydrated will need to receive fluids intravenously in the hospital. The veterinarian will monitor the cat's fluid levels and its effects on the cat's heart to ensure it isn't being overly taxed.

Medication

The veterinarian will prescribe pain medications to keep the cat comfortable while it heals. An antibiotic may also be prescribed if a traumatic injury poses the risk of infection or as a preventive measure if surgery occurred.

Surgery

For external trauma or tracheal avulsion, surgery may need to occur. This is normally indicated if the cat's heart isn't able to maintain adequate circulation or if the cat isn't stabilized. During the surgery, part of the trachea will be removed and the trachea will be resected. The surgery poses the risk of infection. Because tracheal avulsion is a medical emergency that could result in sudden death, surgery must be done as soon as possible after the injury has occurred.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Worried about the cost of Hole Trachea treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Hole in the Trachea in Cats

With prompt diagnosis and treatment, most cats recover completely after a minor tracheal perforation. Tracheal avulsions have a guarded prognosis. The cat will need to remain in a quiet, stress-free environment without young children or other animals while it recovers. The cat will need to follow up with the veterinarian to monitor healing with X-ray and physical exams.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Hole in the Trachea Average Cost

From 558 quotes ranging from $500 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Hole in the Trachea Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Kitten

dog-age-icon

6 weeks old

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Redness

My two kittens or attacked by my pitbull gold double robotics road with medication for pain and want to use it last night and I said no can I sue him

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my response, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Since I cannot see your pet, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be causing this, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 13, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Toby

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

2 Years

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Puncture

My cat got attacked by another cat a few hours ago. He has a small puncture wound on the underside of his jaw/neck area, I have seen one small bubble come out of it as well as a moderate amount of fluid. He is still eating and drinking but seems timid. We can’t take him to the vet as there is none where we are located. He is dirty so my mother wanted to try and wash him then wrap him in a towel and flush the wound with sterile salt water. We are not sure if the wound has penetrated the trachea. What would you suggest we do? Thank you for your time.

June 12, 2018

Toby's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

If he is eating and drinking and breathing normally, it isn't likely that the wound has punctured his trachea. If you notice that he is having any problems breathing, you will need to find a veterinarian, whether it is near to you or if you have to drive to get there. If you are able to keep the area clean and monitor it for infection, he may recover normally. If he stops eating and drinking, becomes lethargic, or is having trouble breathing, he will need to see a veterinarian.

June 12, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Hole in the Trachea Average Cost

From 558 quotes ranging from $500 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.