Dear YAP,


Question:  If your pet must go under more deeply and they have to intubate the dog, does the yorkie (because their esophagus is so small) run the risk of collapsing trachea?  If your dog has an elongated palate, might that tube cause a problem?  Is this something that you can trust a good vet to perform or do we need to ask extensive questions prior to this kind of surgery?



Good question.  No, intubating the trachea (putting a tube down the windpipe) is a very easy and non-traumatic way to protect the patient from aspirating material into their lungs.  Some dentistry can be done with sedation.  In this situation the patient retains their gag reflex and, if they do vomit, they will not suck the material into their lungs, they will swallow it.  With deeper anesthesia, required for anything more than a quick cleaning, it is best to put a tube in. This provides several advantages:  it protects the patient from aspirating vomitus into the lungs, it allows the vet to administer oxygen and even breath for the dog if necessary.  It does not cause collapsing of the trachea.  In an experienced vet or vet technician's hands, it is easy and very atraumatic.  If the dog has a collapsing trachea, intubation of the trachea is actually necessary so that the collapsed area is held open by the tube. The same is true for an elongated soft palate - the tube actually helps prevents obstruction of the airway.  Hope this answers your questions.

Dr. Christine M Egger, DVM, MVSc, CVA, CVH, Diplomate, ACVA
Professor, Anesthesiology
Small Animal Clinical Sciences






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