What is a reverse sneeze?

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 Reverse sneezing (also called backwards sneezing or inspiratory paroxysmal respiration) is a phenomenon observed in dogs, particularly in those with brachycephalic skulls.  During a reverse sneeze, the dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still, and extend his head. A loud snorting sound is produced, which may make you think the dog has something caught in his nose. The most common cause of a reverse sneeze is irritation of the soft palate, which results in a spasm.


Brachycephalic breeds, like pugs, bulldogs, and of course Brussels Griffons with elongated soft palates, occasionally suck the palate into the throat, which can cause an episode of reverse sneezing.

“A reverse sneeze, like a [regular] sneeze, is a reflex, but instead of a rapid expulsion of air through the nostrils, it is a rapid . . . inhalation. It is loud, so people often think that their dogs are having an asthma attack. Dogs don’t have asthma attacks, so it’s usually suggestive of reverse sneezing.” Quoted by  Dr. Mark Hiebert, medical director of the VCA TLC Animal Hospital in Los Angeles.

Most episodes of reverse sneeze last less than a minute, although longer durations have been reported. It rarely needs treatment, although some dogs will get anxious, especially if the owner panics.  It is best to remain calm and stroke their throat.  When I do that with Remy he focuses on me and the episode ends.  It is like it never happened!

In certain cases, your veterinarian may choose to prescribe anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine or decongestant medications to help with your dog’s condition.


Healthy Petsith Dr. Karen Becker

Reverse Sneeze in Dogs  By Ernest Ward, DVM


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