Reverse Sneezing - What is it?
The easiest way to explain reverse sneezing is to first define a regular sneeze: the rapid motion of pushing air out the nostrils. Reverse sneezing is the opposite where rather than pushing air out, air is rapidly pulled into the nose. When this happens your pet will make deep and long inspirations, stand still, and extend his head and neck. A loud snorting sound is produced, which may make you think your pet has something caught in his nose or throat. A reverse sneezing episode can last for several seconds to a minute.
This is a condition most commonly seen in small breed dogs, perhaps because they have smaller throats and windpipes.
Brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, with elongated soft palates, occasionally suck the palate into the throat, which can cause an episode of reverse sneezing.
While it may be alarming, reverse sneezing is not a dangerous or life-threatening condition. However, it can be a symptom of something serious. If your pet’s reverse sneezing seems to be affecting his/her quality of life, if episodes seem to be lasting longer or if they are happening more frequently we recommend bringing your pet in for a visit as it may be related an upper respiratory tract infection (such as Kennel Cough), nasal tumors, nasal polyps, a foreign body in the nasal passage, etc.
Some of our clients have reported their pets getting almost immediate relief from an episode of reverse sneezing by briefly covering their nostrils. This technique forces them to breath through their mouth. To do this, place your fingertips over your pet’s nostrils for no more than fifteen seconds. Once your pet inhales through their mouth the reverse sneezing should cease. Stop immediately if this adds to your pet’s distress and instead gently stroke their neck to help calm them down.
Does your pet experience reverse sneezing? Is there anything you do to help your pet during an episode? We want to know!
The content provided by the author of Acadia Veterinary Clinic’s blog and website is for purposes of providing information only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your Veterinary Care Provider or other Veterinary Care Professional with any question regarding your pet’s health.