Reverse Sneezing

(Pharyngeal Gag Reflex)

 

 

 

 

Reverse sneezing is a common phenomenon in dogs. In a regular sneeze, your dog pushes air out through the nose; however, in a reverse sneeze, air is pulled rapidly into the nose. Episodes of reverse sneezing are characterized by repeated spasms of sucking air inward through the nose, several times. During a reverse sneeze, your dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still with his elbows spread apart, extend his head, and his eyes may bulge. He’ll make a loud snorting sound, which might make you think he has something caught in his throat. and during this time. Each reverse sneezing episode generally lasts for one to two minutes,  and then the dog appears completely normal. Most episodes seem to happen when the little dog gets excited and start breathing rapidly or when he first goes out into cold outside air. If you distract the dog, pick him up, stroke his throat or otherwise get his attention, the sound usually stops at once, leaving absolutely no after effects.

Reverse sneezing is caused by an irritation of the nasal sinuses towards the back of the throat.    Allergies play a role in other individuals. Often  this condition is seen during the spring months when there is a lot of pollen around.  If your pet is having these episodes more and more frequently, your veterinarian may try an antihistamine, or even an antihistamine/corticosteroid combination to see if the symptoms diminish or disappear. Most dogs can live with these occasional spasm, especially if you learn how to dissipate an episode by calming your dog down with words or petting.

An episode can be stopped if the dog is stimulated to swallow by either massaging the throat or briefly pinching off the nasal openings. Some dogs have reverse sneezing episodes so frequently that various medications may be needed to reduce the number of episodes.

The exact reasons for these episodes are unknown but may be related to allergies, nasal irritants or nasal inflammation. A reverse sneeze may look disturbing – many people fear that their dog is not breathing during these episodes – but it is not a harmful condition and there are no ill effects. Reverse sneezing attacks are generally quite brief and not life threatening.


In a small number of cases, reverse sneezing may indicate a more serious condition such as nasal polyps.


 

The Pharynx

The "pharynx" is the area of the body where your dog's nasal passages meet the oral (mouth) passages. It's the back of the throat. If you make a gargling sound in your throat (try it now) you are rippling air in your pharynx, and vibrating the end of your SOFT PALATE. This is the area involved in your dog's pharyngeal gag reflex. In some dogs, particularly the smaller breeds, a minor irritation in the oro-nasal pharynx starts a "tickle" phenomena, resulting in the spastic, rapid, in-and-out wheezy respiration.

Allergies play a role in other individuals. If your pet is having these episodes more and more frequently, your veterinarian may try an antihistamine, or even an antihistamine/corticosteroid combination to see if the symptoms diminish or disappear. Most dogs can live with these occasional spasm, especially if you learn how to dissipate an episode by calming your dog down with words or petting.
 

 

 

 

 

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Mystic Moon Yorkies
Valparaiso, IN 46385