Complications associated with temporary tracheostomy tubes in 42 dogs (1998 to 2007)


  • This work was carried out at The Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Herts, AL9 7TA. Results of this study were presented in the Association of Veterinary Soft Tissue Surgeons Spring Meeting, Birmingham, April 2008.


Objective: To identify the type and frequency of tracheostomy tube complications, and to determine factors associated with these complications, and with poor outcome.

Methods: A database search for dogs undergoing temporary tube tracheostomy was performed. The medical records were scrutinised. The signalment, respiratory disease history, diagnosis, surgery, type and frequency of tube care procedures, type of complications and outcome were recorded.

Results: Forty-two records were found. Complications occurred in 36 of 42 (86%) cases. Bulldogs were more likely to dislodge the tube than other breeds (P=0·0376), and cases with three or more complication types underwent more routine care procedures than those with fewer complications (P=0·0370). Thirty-four of 42 (81%) dogs had a successfully managed tracheostomy tube and survived until tube removal, or elective euthanasia without significant tube complications. Bulldogs were also significantly (P=0·0376) more likely to have an unsuccessful tube outcome, as were dogs experiencing severe bradycardia during treatment (P=0·0176). Dogs with unsuccessful tube outcome were significantly (P=0·0331) younger than dogs with successful tube outcome.

Clinical Significance: Tracheostomy tubes in dogs have a high complication rate but a good outcome in most dogs. Careful management may improve the outcome of dogs with tracheostomy tubes, especially bulldogs and dogs exhibiting bradycardia during treatment.