We often have dogs brought in to us who make an odd snorting sound now and again, often when they are excited. It can be very worrying for owners as it appears that their dog can't breath and is in distress.
Does this sound familiar? Chances are your dog is 'REVERSE SNEEZING'. The 'You Tube' links below show some dogs who are reverse sneezing.
A reverse sneeze is the body's attempt to clear irritants from the back of the nose or pharynx (the region at the back of the mouth/nose). By contrast, sneezing is the normal reflex to something irritating the front of the nose.
Possible causes of reverse sneezing are: allergies, long soft palate (eg flat nosed breeds such as Pugs), rhinitis and foreign bodies (eg bits of food or grass going up the wrong way!). In some parts of the world, nasal mites can cause reverse sneezing but we don't have this mite in the UK thankfully!
Reverse sneezing is often short-lived and not serious, so we often don't treat it. If it's severe, we can give the dog medication to settle the irritation, such as steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. It can help to massage or pinch your dog gently round its throat region, or try blocking off one nostril, both can help stop a bout of reverse sneezing if it's going on for a while.
If your dog is making strange noises, feel free to record an episode then bring your dog in for a consultation, and show us the recording - it'll help us decide what's going on, and whether we need to do any investigations.
But if it's reverse sneezing, the chances are it'll be nothing to worry about.