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. 

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