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RuralPug

Reverse Sneezing Explained

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RuralPug   

Here is a nice simple explanation of reverse sneezing I came across. I wish I'd had it before to explain to panicked owners certain their beloved dog was dying!

Becky Lundgren on Reverse Sneezing

Reverse Sneezing (Pharyngeal Gag Reflex)

Authored by: Becky Lundgren, DVM

Reverse sneezing is a disconcerting event in which a dog makes unpleasant respiratory sounds that sound like it is dying -- or will die in the next few minutes. Reverse sneezing sounds similar to the honking noise made by a dog with a collapsing trachea, but reverse sneezing is a far simpler condition that usually does not need any treatment. It is called reverse sneezing because it sounds a bit like a dog inhaling sneezes. The sound the dog makes can be so scary that many owners have rushed in a panic to emergency clinics in the middle of the night.

The most common cause of reverse sneezing is an irritation of the soft palate and throat that results in a spasm. During the spasm, the dog's neck will extend and the chest will expand as the dog tries harder to inhale. The problem is that the trachea has narrowed and it's hard to get the normal amount of air into the lungs.

Anything that irritates the throat can cause this spasm and subsequent sneeze. Causes include excitement, eating or drinking, exercise intolerance, pulling on a leash, mites, pollen, foreign bodies caught in the throat, perfumes, viruses, household chemicals, allergies, and post-nasal drip. If an irritant in the house is the cause, taking the dog outside can help simply because the dog will no longer be inhaling the irritant. Brachycephalic dogs (those with flat faces, such as Pugs and Boxers) with elongated soft palates occasionally suck the elongated palate into the throat while inhaling, causing reverse sneezing. Small dogs are particularly prone to it, possibly because they have smaller throats.

Reverse sneezing itself rarely requires treatment. If the sneezing stops, the spasm is over. Oftentimes, you can massage the dog's throat to stop the spasm; sometimes it's effective to cover the nostrils, which makes the dog swallow, which clears out whatever the irritation is and stops the sneezing. If the episode doesn't end quickly, you can try depressing the dog's tongue, which opens up the mouth and aids in moving air through the nasal passages. Treatment of the underlying cause, if known, is useful. If mites are in the laryngeal area, your veterinarian may use drugs such as ivermectin to get rid of the mites. If allergies are the root of the problem, your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines. Because reverse sneezing is not a severe problem, do not worry about leaving your dog home alone; if it occurs when you're not there, the episode will most likely end on its own.

If reverse sneezing becomes a chronic problem rather than an occasional occurrence, your veterinarian may need to look up the nasal passages (rhinoscopy), and may even need to take a biopsy to determine the cause of the problem. Sometimes, however, no cause can be identified.

Some dogs have these episodes their entire lives; some dogs develop the condition only as they age. In most dogs, however, the spasm is a temporary problem that goes away on its own, leaving the dog with no after-effects.

Cats are less likely to reverse sneeze than dogs are. However, owners should always have the veterinarian examine the cat in case it's feline asthma, and not a reverse sneeze. Feline asthma requires more treatment than reverse sneezing does.

Date Published: 6/26/2006 10:54:00 AM

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Elkie1   

I have two dogs that do this. Both caused by excitment. Adele will sometimes become overexcited at a show and it will occur inside the ring. We have since lernt to deal with it and the dogs come running when an eppisode begins :laugh:

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OSoSwift   

Very interesting thank you.

Lewis sometimes does this when he inhales his treat when training and also when down the beach and he sniffs to close to the fine white sand.

I rub his throat but may try the other methods and yes it can look like the dog is quite distressed.

Edited by OSoSwift

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sheena   

My dog just this weekend at a trial started sucking air through her nose & seemed a bit distressed during an agility run. She does it sometimes when I put down her food & she gets excited, but this seemed to be with her all weekend whenever she would do a bit of a run. The paddock had just been slashed with lots of grass seeds. 7 hours later, we are now home & I thought she had stopped it, but she just did it again while grooming herself. Is this reverse sneezing????

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RubyStar   

Great post. My Maltese used to do this a lot when she had bad teeth. She got all her rotten teeth removed and the episodes stopped. Interesting! Not sure if it was a coincidence or it was the cause of her throat being irritated. She only rarely does it now, she's 17.

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You have explained so much! My beagle X does this and I was getting freaked out by it. It does sound like she's about to die!

Thank you so much for the explaination!

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Just saved me a trip and costs of the vet! :thumbsup:

I was varnishing some cupboard doors and Kahlua came nearby. He didn't even sniff the doors when he had this attack.

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Here is a nice simple explanation of reverse sneezing I came across. I wish I'd had it before to explain to panicked owners certain their beloved dog was dying!

Super article - thanks for posting!

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Where I grew up, there were casuarinas (she-oaks) in the dog yards. The dogs reverse sneezed when the casuarinas were flowering (it looked like a red dust on the casuarina needles) but never at any other time.

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Thank you for the article. I didn't know what my old dog's condition was until I read about this. I agree, maybe this should be pinned as it's very informative. :thumbsup:

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minimax   

Thank you for the article. I didn't know what my old dog's condition was until I read about this. I agree, maybe this should be pinned as it's very informative. :thumbsup:

It is pinned.

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akristin   

I agree too, very informative! My dog recently started doing this when she enters her dog house and comes out doing the exact same thing described in this article..

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Interesting. Mine does that occasionally but I'd always put it down to a dogs version of "furball" caused by hair in her mouth.

Now I know better :)

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Oh this was great to stumble across ... Juno does this occasionally and it is very distressing. Luckily she only has very short episodes and seems unfazed once it is over, which has prevented full blown panic on my behalf lol

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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tikira   

Thankyou for pinning this great article.

Reverse sneezing is a dreadful scary thing when you don't know what it is. I had my vet on the phone late at night the first time Tip did it, and he was so good, listened to him over the phone and told us what it was, and to bring him in if it does not stop soon. Tip was so distressed, and so was I.

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