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.
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.
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.
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.
A dog’s sense of smell is an amazing thing. Originally used for survival, people now use the power of dog noses in emergency situations and to improve the quality of life for pet owners by detecting cancer cells or oncoming seizures.
But what allows dogs to have this unique ability? This power of super smell has a lot to do with those tiny slits on the sides of a dog’s nose. If you’ve never noticed them, you may be surprised to learn what dog nose slits are and the purpose they serve.Continue…
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.
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:
While the reasons to purchase a pet directly from a breeder vary, prospective owners are usually drawn to a particular look, distinct personality, or other well-known behavioral traits. While it’s true that responsible breeding has its place, the team at Godspeed Animal Care wants to remind people that a mixed breed pet can also bring a great deal to the table. In other words, adopting a mutt can be a huge game-changer!
A Look at Genetics
Part of the fun of a mixed breed pet is that we don’t always know their exact heritage. We can observe certain obvious markers, but without previous knowledge of a pet’s parents and/or genetic testing, it’s a guessing game.
Many owners are interested in having a concrete understanding of an animal’s breed so they can better determine whether they’ll be a good fit for their lifestyle and family.Continue…
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…
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…
Most pet owners spring into action to prevent, recognize, and treat a pet emergency, but what’s the right approach when it comes to disaster preparation? There are similarities, of course, but to truly tackle emergency preparedness for pets, you have to widen the scope quite a bit. Between hurricanes, floods, fires, and more, pets can quickly become separated from their owners, and suffer from injury or illness.
If You Gotta Go
Evacuation is one of the most common results of a natural or man-made disaster. The rule of thumb for owners of all types of pets is that, in the case of evacuation, pets must go, too. In other words, if it’s unsafe enough for people, it’s certainly no place for animals.
A major part of your emergency preparedness for your pet must include a list of alternative places to safely stay in the case of evacuation. Have an evacuation route all mapped out, and mark places along the way that you know are pet-friendly. Hotels, motels, friends, and family members are all excellent, safe choices, but if there’s a lack of availability, you may not be able to keep all your pets together.
Depending on the type of emergency, there could be temporary Red Cross shelters positioned around the area. Designed to help people, these shelters cannot accept pets except for service animals. Check with us about pet boarding.
Tips and Tricks
In the spirit of preparation, cover your emergency bases in these ways:
- Train your pet to leave the house. This will help them move quickly when it really counts.
- Have your pet microchipped and always update your contact information if it changes.
- Ensure that their vaccinations are all up to date.
- Print up your pet’s medical records just in case.
- Have a picture of your pet printed and placed on their travel kennel or crate.
- Keep a backup collar, ID tags, and leash in your car.
- Store a few days worth of food, water, waste disposal bags, toys, and bedding.
- Keep some first aid items on hand.
- Affix a sticker to the door or window near the entrance to alarm rescue workers that a pet lives there (be sure to remove them or write “evacuated” across them before you leave).
- Before moving back into your home, be sure to carefully inspect your property for any potential hazards to your pet’s health and wellness.
Emergency Preparedness Pets
No matter the type of destruction your home or block experienced, it’s an uphill battle to get back into the normal swing of things. You may notice subtle to major shifts in your pet’s behavior. Aggressiveness, resource guarding, or anxiety are typical results of trauma or stress. Please let us know if we can help you address certain behavioral problems.
Also, if we can answer further questions about emergency preparedness pets, we encourage you to reach out to us at Godspeed Animal Care.
One of the easiest ways to combat a heat wave is to simply get wet. This might take some of us out of our comfort zone (that is, a nice air conditioned environment), but the bottom line is that splashing around is not only effective, it’s fun, too! Chances are, your pet agrees with the fun factor. You want to make them happy and comfortable, but water safety for pets absolutely must be enforced.
There are quite a few precautions when it comes to summer in general. We recommend scheduling your pet’s wellness care exam before any upcoming adventures to ascertain the quality of their overall health. If they aren’t fully vaccinated yet or microchipped, these help protect them from unseen dangers this summer. Continue…
Some pet owners are given ample time to prepare for their pet’s upcoming surgery, as in the case of a scheduled spay or neuter procedure. Pet owners coping with an emergency illness or injury don’t have time to consider all the in’s and out’s of prepping. However, what is possibly more important is taking care of a pet after surgery. Post-operative care can be a cause for concern, but with the right information your pet can get through it with flying colors.
Humans have lived in harmony with canine companions for millennia, and the relationship continues to be mutually beneficial. From ancient Chinese scrolls depicting dogs and people working together to Roman frescoes showing a blind man being led by a dog, there’s clear evidence that supports this special dynamic.
Dogs have also been employed in the military looking for wounded soldiers or carrying messages to the front lines. These days, a service dog can help an individual in a variety of meaningful ways, and Godspeed Animal Care is proud to share them with you.
Seeing Eye, Hearing Ear
In 18th century France, canines were commonly engaged as assistants to the blind. Here in the U.S., the first guide dog school opened in 1929 called The Seeing Eye. Over the following years, formal training methods began to evolve in order to develop the concept of service dogs. While seeing eye dogs continued to help blind people with daily tasks and activities, service dogs were being trained to help deaf individuals as well.
The idea of the service dog was pioneered by Bonnie Bergin. Through her work with canine training and development, she helped to elevate the status of the service dog. Her work allowed a certain recognition of the bond between a service dog and their human partner, which created a wider acceptance in our culture.
The roles of service dogs continued to grow in the 1980’s and 1990’s, as they became extremely useful to individuals on the Autism spectrum and veterans suffering from PTSD. With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, it not only became unlawful to discriminate against disabled people, but necessary requirements for service dogs were also enforced.