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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24466
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My Malti-Poo was eating and started inverted sneezing then

Customer Question

My Malti-Poo was eating and started inverted sneezing then looked like he couldn't breathe and is wheezing in a way I've never heard before. After a few minutes of patting his back and trying to make him throw up he stopped choking and finished eating. Is it possible he aspirated? Should I take him in to an emergency clinic to get checked?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

If Callum had aspirated he wouldn't have normalized as he did. He experienced a bout of reverse sneezing which can be alarming but unless an increased respiratory rate - greater than 40 breaths/minute - and persistent coughing were seen, a visit to the ER can be avoided. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
there's no risk of pneumonia? I read that when that happens there's a danger of dogs developing pneumonia even as late as a week later. He frequently suffers from reverse sneezing but this sounded different and much worse than usual. He couldn't stand up at one point and it sounded like there was choking involved and he tried to vomit a few times but couldn't. Thank you for your help- I just want to make sure I take every precaution with him.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Dogs that aspirate are symptomatic immediately. I've not seen pneumonia develop a week later. He sounds as if he "terminally gagged" after deeply coughing and became hypoxic - lack of oxygen to his tissues - perhaps due to bronchospasm. This isn't the same process as aspiration pneumonia. The only manner in which to confirm that he didn't aspirate would be to X-ray his lungfields and look for the tell-tale signs in his cranial lungfields. I vote for "watchful waiting". If he stays asymptomatic, you'll have saved a trip, stress to Callum, and the expense of an ER visit.

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