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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15154
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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My dog is experiencing this jerking/hiccuping movement. It

Customer Question

My dog is experiencing this jerking/hiccuping movement. It is involuntary. Last about a minte. Sge doesn't seem like she is in pain. Last about 10 seconds.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Her name is ***** ***** she is 4
JA: Is there anything else important you think the veterinarian should know about tiffy?
Customer: She is a shnoodle and this has just started a couple of days ago.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 months ago.

Do your Tiffy's episodes look like this video of a dog ?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HXcMLokADc&feature=related

If she looks like the video this is a "reverse sneeze" which is caused by irritation of the pharynx. It can be from inhaled irritants. It can be related to gastroesophageal reflux. It can be caused by excitement or post nasal drip or an overlong soft palate. It isn't harmful as it's just a spasm of the muscles around the pharynx because of the irritant, but it's no fun to watch. It can be stopped most times by rubbing her throat gently and getting her to swallow.

If it is because of gastroesophageal reflux then using Pepcid-ac (famotidine) may help. Give her Pepcid-ac (or generic famotidine) at a dose of 0.25mg to 0.5mg per pound of body weight orally every 12 hours for 2 to 3 weeks. That's one quarter of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pound dog every 12 hours. If this helps she can take it for several days as Pepcid is quite safe. You can even try once daily therapy before bed at night after a couple weeks. Reflux tends to happen more when dogs are laying down and sleeping as the gastroesophageal sphincter relaxes and acid can passively reflux up into the esophagus and pharynx. This irritant only causes more tissue swelling, thus dogs with reflux will also snore more. It may help her to get her to sleep with her head raised.
If it is related to an overlong soft palate then surgery may be required eventually if this is interfering with her enjoyment of life or leading to breathing problems.
Sometimes reverse sneezing can be related to dental or gum disease and the secondary inflammation from chronic infections. If this is the case a good dental cleaning should improve things tremendously.

Sometimes this can be related to inhaling a foreign body (blade of grass, grass awn, food chunk) that leads to nasal irritation and post nasal drip.
Rarely this can be related to an inner ear infection and the effects of the infection dripping down her throat.
Another rare cause would be a pharyngeal or laryngeal polyp or tumor.
Sometimes we need to sedate them and take dental radiographs and examine the pharynx and up behind the soft palate to find the cause, so that is always an option if this is worsening for her.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and see if you had any further questions after reading my response. If you do please feel free to respond with them. If not I would appreciate an update on your pup, thank you, ***** *****