Dog Owner’s Nightmare, or Harmless Condition? A Closer Look at the Reverse Sneeze

A close-up of a small dog sneezing

Confusing. Frightening. Shocking. Terrible. These are just a few words to describe the sounds of a reverse sneeze. In fact, the sounds of this symptom can be so terrifying that after hearing it the first time, some dog owners seek emergency medical care (often in the middle of the night).

While it can be directly related to something that requires treatment, the reverse sneeze condition is often spontaneous with an unknown cause.

It’s Idiopathic

The reverse sneeze condition, also called “inspiratory paroxysmal respiration”, is common in dogs (particularly brachycephalic breeds), less so in cats. If the owner is unfamiliar with the condition, it can sound like the animal is struggling to breathe. 

What Are They Doing?!

During a reverse sneeze, a pet will repeatedly breathe in through their nose with uncharacteristic force, taking quick, short inhalations. You might observe your pet standing with their neck stretched out and lips pulled back. They may or may not make a loud snorting sound. 

One episode may last 10-15 seconds. However perilous the sounds are, a reverse sneeze is typically related to nasal irritation, allergies, or overexcitement. Even more bewildering, it can happen seemingly out of the blue.

Brace Yourself

Sneezing and reverse sneezing are intended to rid the body of irritants. Whether it’s dirt, dust, or pollen that animals try to expel, the reflexes are closely linked. A reverse sneeze may be caused by irritation to the nasopharynx (that tricky spot behind the nasal cavities, but above the soft palate). 

Dogs can behave normally and appear completely unchanged after a reverse sneeze. But it is unlikely that they won’t have repeated symptoms later on. While there is no cure for reverse sneeze, if it happens continually, it’s time to address the symptoms. 

When a Reverse Sneeze Means More

We take an animal’s medical history into consideration when evaluating symptoms of a reverse sneeze condition. A thorough physical exam may lead to digital x-rays, rhinoscopy and other diagnostics to ascertain allergic reactions, infections, foreign bodies, masses, or anatomical abnormalities.

Small mites can also be a cause for reverse sneezing. Transmitted between dogs and even through contaminated environments, nasal mite infestations must be taken care of with appropriate parasite medications. 

Surgical procedures, antibiotics, and allergy medications can alleviate problems associated with the reverse sneeze. 

Prevention

It may be possible to reduce the severity or frequency of reverse sneezing through:

  • Gentle massage of the throat
  • Softly blowing on your pet’s face
  • Holding the nostrils closed for a few seconds
  • Leaving it alone (symptoms will eventually subside)

Taking a video of the reverse sneeze can help us treat your pet if their condition worsens or becomes more common throughout the day.

If you have additional questions about your pet’s health and happiness, our veterinary staff is always here for you at Godspeed Animal Care

Veterinary Acupuncture for Your Pet

Did you know that your favorite staff at Godspeed Animal Care offers veterinary acupuncture for your pets?

Alternative therapies like acupuncture give us a scientifically founded way to help pets when other therapies are not enough or cannot be tolerated. In fact, therapies like acupuncture often work synergistically with traditional medicine to achieve even better results.

Interested yet? Read on to learn all you need to know about veterinary acupuncture and how your pet could benefit.

Continue…

Is Cat Scratch Disease a Real Thing?

As if we needed another reason to detest fleas, they are responsible for spreading a bacterium called Bartonella henselae to approximately 40% of cats.

Found in flea dirt (droppings) and also deposited via direct bites on the skin, B. henselae can also be spread from one infected cat to another during a fight, and to humans, as well.

If you have a cat that likes to use their claws, we recommend this quick refresher on the dangers of cat scratch disease.

Yikes!

Cat scratch disease is a bacterial infection. If an infected cat bites or scratches you and breaks the skin, or simply licks at an existing open wound, a mild infection can develop at the site of the injury in about 3-14 days. Signs of cat scratch disease include:

Continue…

Cavities in Dogs? While Rare, They’re Not Unheard Of

We emphasize good pet dental care because periodontal disease is irreversible and progressive. The good news is that with a dedicated dental care routine, this disease is entirely preventable.

There is another facet of pet dental care that requires an added layer of vigilance, however. Dental cavities in dogs are a known phenomenon but because they aren’t as common, dog owners may be surprised to know they’re actually a risk.

Continue…

How to Safely Remove a Tick, And 4 Ways Not To

It is important to remove a tick the right way to prevent tick-borne illness in pets

If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, you know that it’s always tick season. In the autumn, many of our clients and their pets are still happily taking advantage of the crisp days by spending time outdoors. We know that ticks are something to prevent, but have you ever had to safely remove a tick? If not, we have some tips and tricks for you to make this process relatively easy.

The Problem With Ticks

There are four tick species in our area that humans and dogs encounter: the Lone Star tick, the brown dog tick, the American dog tick, and the deer tick. Most of us know that tick bites are painful and uncomfortable. Did you know that they are also dangerous?

Continue…

What’s the 3rd Week in October For? Celebrating Vet Techs, Of Course!

Vet techs are the backbone of pet health

When you visit your doctor’s office, there is always a nurse that takes your blood pressure, weight, temperature, and so forth before the exam begins. In our profession, instead of nursing professionals, veterinarians need vet techs (veterinary technicians) or LVTs (licensed veterinary technicians). And when we say that we need them, we really, really need them! In fact, they are so important to hospital functionality, an entire week in October is set aside to celebrate their hard work, raise them up, and provide additional tools to help them succeed.

But what do vet techs do, exactly?

Continue…

Do You Have a Happy Cat? Five Signs the Answer May Be No

A happy cat will show their feline affection. Cats are pretty self sufficient. They are also good at covering up when they are not happy or experiencing stress. Many cat owners feel that things are hunky-dory in the kitty happiness department. After all, they have a warm place to snuggle, a bowl of food, and a clean litter box. What’s to be sad about?

Many cats are not as content with life as their owners may believe. In honor of Happy Cat Month, Godspeed Animal Care wants to share with you a few ways to assess if have a happy cat (or if you have some work to do). Continue…

Pet Dental Treats: Do They Really Work?

dental chewsIf you pursue the aisles of your local pet supply store, the number of dental care products available for pets is simply staggering. Dental diets, chews, rinses, and treats abound. With most pets having some degree of dental disease before 3 years of age, the need is there. But do they really work?

Understanding and choosing pet dental treats can be a difficult task to undertake. Thankfully, your friends at Godspeed Animal Care are here to help you.

Continue…

Easier Than Pie? Getting a Handle on New Pet Vaccinations

new pet vaccinationsThe joy of bringing home a little bundle of furry energy can be quickly overshadowed by the list of things you have to do to provide for them – but it’s all worth it. Your new pet depends on you for everything, but perhaps the most important part of your job is to protect them from disease. Sure, the list of new pet vaccinations can be daunting, but we’re here to help you decode these dangerous diseases and encourage their prevention.

Need vs. Optional

Some new pet vaccinations are more appropriate for pets who will be visiting public places or areas frequented by other animals. However, even strictly indoor pets should receive the bare minimum of new pet vaccinations to protect them from potential exposure to disease.

Continue…

Diabetes in Pets

diabetes in petsDiabetes is a huge problem, both in humans and our pet population. This all-too-common disease can have serious health consequences if uncontrolled. Godspeed Animal Care thinks it’s important for animal lovers everywhere to have a good understanding of diabetes in pets and what they can do to prevent it.

Continue…