Reverse sneezing can occur occasionally and not be harmful to our pets. However, sometimes reverse sneezing occurs more continuously, and may even alter the state of health of the animal. From AniCura we will tell you below what reverse sneezing is, causes and remedies.
Reverse sneezing, also technically known as paroxysmal inspiratory breathing, is a type of sneeze where the air is not expelled through the nose but is drawn in through the same duct. It is a reflex that the dog performs in an involuntary and sudden way when instead of producing a normal sneeze, the air is sucked in and emits a characteristic noise. During a reverse sneeze, the dog usually stays still, with its mouth closed and its neck extended to inhale as much air as possible.
This situation can be caused by various factors, but generally it is due to a narrowing of some part of the respiratory system.
Reverse sneezing is actually produced by a kind of muscle spasm that occurs at the back of the dog’s mouth. The spasm can last around 30 seconds and the causes of its appearance can be very different: from irritation in the nasal cavities to a temporary narrowing of the trachea. By causing a difficult inhalation, the animal produces a characteristic noise when sneezing.
Causes of reverse sneezing
This characteristic sneeze is usually produced by a muscle spasm in an area of the animal’s throat. Normally this situation is triggered by irritation or inflammation of the throat or nasal mucosa, which makes it difficult for air to be inhaled correctly.
Dust in the environment, strong odors, certain cleaning products or some irritating substances can cause certain areas of the respiratory system to become irritated and, as a consequence, reverse sneezing appears. Overexcitation or the presence of a foreign body in the nose or throat can also cause reverse sneezing. Also, in the case of brachycephalic dogs, their own anatomy may be the main cause of reverse sneezing.
Remedies for reverse sneezing in dogs
In the event that your dog presents episodes of reverse sneezing, remember that it is essential to go to a veterinarian to be able to diagnose with certainty and find advice in this situation.
Even so, from AniCura we provide you with some tips with which to make the reverse sneezing affect the animal as little as possible:
Gently massage your throat to relieve discomfort
In case of long episodes of reverse sneezing, you can help to make them shorter if you carefully cover his nose so that he opens his mouth and swallows saliva.
Offering water can help soothe an itchy or scratchy throat
Blow into his face gently and little by little.
Carefully, you can try to open his mouth and lightly press his tongue to help him breathe normally.
Remember the importance of visiting the vet to be able to alleviate these symptoms, reduce episodes of reverse sneezing and be able to check that said alteration does not come from a major problem with the respiratory system.
Difference Between Reverse Sneezing and Tracheal Collapse
Reverse sneezing can sometimes be confused with tracheal collapse as their symptoms may appear similar. Although tracheal collapse is more common in small, older dogs, the truth is that it can occur in any type of dog. Its symptoms also vary depending on the severity in which they occur, but normally include chronic cough, respiratory distress and difficulty performing physical exercise. The cough that occurs is easily recognizable as it is reminiscent of a goose quacking. Reverse sneezing does not cause difficulty breathing, so exercise once the sneezing episode has ended. It also doesn’t produce a cough.
If you doubt whether your dog suffers from tracheal collapse or reverse sneezing, analyze his symptoms and contact your veterinarian to obtain an accurate diagnosis.