Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Reverse Sneezing

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Reverse sneezing, or pharyngeal gag reflex, is a spasm caused by an irritation of the wall of the pharynx. It is similar to a sneeze, which is caused by an irritation to the nasal passages. While the reverse sneeze can look quite alarming, no treatment is needed, and episodes are self-limiting.

Reverse sneezing can have many causes. Common causes can include allergies, nasal mites, foreign bodies (such as a blade of grass or seed), viruses, masses or infections.

Reverse sneezing episodes can also occur when a dog is sniffing, excited, or pulling on a leash.  Exposure to pollen, dust, smoke, perfumes, aerosols, or other allergens or respiratory irritants may also lead to reverse sneezing in some dogs. 

Dental disease and oral infections can worsen irritation of throat and pharynx / larynx, and may predispose some pets to reverse sneezing. 

I'm often asked about Reverse Sneezing by my clients - What to do when it occurs, and how can it be prevented. I advise my clients of the following: 
  • If mild and self-limiting, no treatment or prevention is necessary. If the pet is reverse sneezing, and you want to do something that may be helpful, sometimes rubbing the nose or throat can help to end an attack. 
  • If episodes are more chronic or frequent, you may want to evaluate your pet's environment for potential irritants, and look for ways to minimize your pet's exposure to dust, allergens, and other respiratory irritants. You may also wish to consider an antihistamine trial, which may help reduce symptoms of allergies.
  • For severe and recurring reverse sneezing, I recommend a thorough examination of the pet's throat and oral / nasal cavities using a small endoscope. 
Dr. Bacon services the Greater Knoxville Area, including Farragut, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Clinton, Luttrell, Maryville, Sevierville, and Dandridge.

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