What is Reverse Sneezing?
Reverse sneezing, also known as the “mechanosensitive aspiration reflex” is a common phenomenon in dogs. In a regular sneeze, your dog pushes air out through the nose; however, in a reverse sneeze, air is pulled rapidly in through the nose producing a noisy inspiratory effort.
What a Reverse Sneeze Looks Like?
During a reverse sneeze, your dog will make rapid inspirations, stand still with his elbows spread apart, extend his head, and his eyes may bulge. He’ll make a loud snorting sound, which might make you think he has something caught in his throat. Many dog owners think their pet is suffocating during a reverse sneeze episode. Each reverse sneezing occurrence generally lasts for less than a minute up to two minutes.
Reverse Sneezing Video of a Dog #1
Reverse Sneezing Video of a Dog #2
Causes of Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
A reverse sneeze may look disturbing – many people fear that their dog is not breathing during these episodes – but it is not a harmful condition and there are no ill effects. Reverse sneezing attacks are generally quite brief and not life threatening. Between episodes, the dog acts normal.
In some situation when reverse sneezing is frequent, a more serious condition may be the underlying cause. In those situations, testing for nasal mites, nasal cancer should be done.
How to Stop a Reverse Sneezing Episode
An episode can be stopped if the dog is stimulated to swallow by either massaging the throat or briefly pinching off the nasal openings. Sometimes opening the dogs mouth and gently pulling on the dogs tongue or giving the dog something to eat and drink can also stop the reverse sneezing episode. Some dogs have reverse sneezing episodes so frequently that various medications may be needed to reduce their frequency.
What to Watch For
If the revere sneezing occurs frequently (daily or several times a day) and is associated with other clinical signs, then further evaluation should be completed by your veterinarian.
Watch for other abnormal signs that may suggest a more serious problem including nasal discharge, epistaxis (bloody nose), sneezing, difficulty breathing, abnormal facial deformity over the nose area, decreased appetite and/or lethargy.