A few months ago, Dustin and I applied to be volunteers for a Papillon rescue group, Papillon Club of America Rescue. Today, we were bombarded with emails from other volunteers, so I am guessing that our application was accepted and we have officially been added to the list. As I was reading through other newly added volunteers and their stories of how they came to love Pappies, I noticed a theme in many of their stories: collapsed trachea.
From the first time Dustin and I took Pom Pom to the vet, he told us to make sure to purchase and use a harness when walking Pom. According to vets (and other professionals), small dogs tend to have sensitive trachea and if you pull too hard on their collar, it can collapse their trachea. This is the reason that Dustin and I never walk Pom (or Casper) without a harness.
Something I did NOT know and learned while reading these emails was that people’s Pappies had shown signs of problem trachea for a long time before they finally passed away. One of these signs is a hacking sort of cough when they get really excited.
This is something that happens to Pom quite a bit – she will get really excited when we come home from an outing, and she’ll get all worked up and start hacking. I always worry, and have this on my list to check with the vet (I have wondered if this is a result of some sort of heart condition). However, after reading this I am starting to wonder if Pom needs to have her trachea examined more closely.
One fellow volunteer wrote that her vet regularly monitors her dog and if things start to go south, they will have to give him steroid shots! I’m freaked. I always figured that if we just use a harness and are careful with her sensitive neck and throat area, we will be preventing problems. Now I find out that even if I take the proper precautions, genetics may still be against us.
Warning to fellow small dog owners out there:
1) Use a harness.
2) Keep an eye out for strange sounds and changing behaviors from your baby.
Let’s keep our babies safe!