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RuralPug

Reverse Sneezing Explained

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YvonneM   

Great article and very helpful. I had remembered reading it quite some time ago out of interest, and this last weekend my boy had an episode of reverse sneezing. I would have otherwise rushed in a panic to my emergency vet quite convinced he was gasping his last breaths! Read article to hubby who also found it very helpful - and the suggestion of covering over the nasal passage for a couple of seconds worked a treat. Brought him out of the sneezing episode instantaneously!

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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!

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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I always thought this was a little dog Soft Pallet issue but now I have a larger dog that did this for the first time a couple of weeks back.

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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My girl does this sometimes. She was in her crate the other night and had an episode, gave me a bloody heart attack being right next to my side of the bed :laugh:

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Boronia   

It seemed (from some of the symptoms only) that Daisy may have had reverse sneezing, it was much worse on hot days or after exercise. my canny vet reckoned it was not and treated her for nasal mites...that is what it was!

So make sure it is reverse sneezing rather than nasal mites (Google nasal mites 'images' )

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gillybob   

Oh thankyou for this article, my dog has problems with his collar if it gets tight and he has exactly what the article describes. Sometimes he wakes me up with the noise and I panic thinking he is choking, but it doesn't really wake him up. Thanks you have eased my mind.

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This used to scare the s**t out of me until I discovered the explanation.

Last few years whenever my elderly Maltese cross does it I cover her nose holes with my fingers and the reverse sneezing stops almost immediately .... and I receive a little lick of appreciation :)

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