Monday, 26 August 2013

Reverse Sneezing

What a scare for me.  
Over the weekend, my boy Brownie had a double bout of gagging and gasping for air....long inspirations.....very long inspirations.  Very scary.
One minute he was fine, and the next he was standing with his body stretched out in an awkward position and making the most awful gagging snorting noise and gasping for air.
I immediately thought it was a heart spasm and his lungs were about to give out, so I started rubbing his chest area to stimulate his heart.
After the episode passed, I became quite concerned.
My usual tactic before heading off to the vet is to check out the internet....lots of online vets there with lots of useful information, and also lots of dog owner forums with great advice.
What I found out was that my boy Brownie had had a bout of Reverse Sneezing.
According to my friends at Wikipedia, Reverse Sneezing (Pharyngeal Gag Reflex or Inspiratory Paroxysmal Respiration) is usually observed in dogs. The exact cause is not known, but may be as a result of nasal, pharyngeal or sinus irritation such as an allergy, or maybe even from over-excitement.
In this case, Brownie had just been excited by the presence of Brazen and company cavorting in the trees and along the back wall.  There was also some thunder rumbling quite loudly every now and then.  He became so agitated that he was drooling from the mouth (like when your mouth waters for a tasty morsel). 
It was quite distressing for my BrownBerts, and I for one was very distressed seeing him like that.  Reverse sneezing is not known to be harmful, and many dogs, especially small breed dogs, are more susceptible, and will experience the phenomenon at some point in their lives.
It occurs most commonly when the dog is asleep or after a long snooze, or simply after inhaling dust.

There are some common remedies which work well....
Pinch the dog's nose and scratch its throat.
Blowing in the dog's face lightly may also help. After swallowing a couple of times, the dog will then stop the reverse sneezing.
Rubbing the dog's sides and back helps to calm the dog and end the episode quicker.
Most dogs don't require medication, but if the problem is serious, a course of antihistamines or steroids may help.

After the second episode, I pinched Brownie's nose together for a few seconds, and the reverse sneezing immediately stopped.
He was fine again, as if it had never happened.

Reverse Sneezing is not harmful to the dog, but very scary and very distressing to both the dog and its owner. 
I'm glad it's nothing serious, but I'll still take him in to the vet for a full's time for his yearly check up anyway.

You may see Reverse Sneezing here.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Virginia. This has happened to my two from time to time and I didn't know what was happening.

    1. It's kinda scary isn't's good to know that it's not harmful to our canine friends.
      How are your studies coming along?

  2. Oh gosh Virginia that does sound scary. I hope Mr B doesn't have any more such episodes.

    1. Yes, it was scary. He's fine, but I imagine that he may go through this again at some other time in his life.
      My small breed dogs had these experiences, but I never expected Brownie to have it since he's a larger dog.


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