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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29746
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My toy poodle mix continues to make this weird gulping sound.

Customer Question

My toy poodle mix continues to make this weird gulping sound. Basically it's an exaggerated swallow and excessively licking/smacking lips. She had this issue once before and they sedated her to check throat, at that time she was put on antibiotics and eventually got better. Don't think it completely went away but it wasn't as often or noticeable. I took her to the vet this time for another exam ( no sedation) just a physical exam and Vet felt it was he throat again and prescribed antibiotics. I'm kinda concern that it's not her throat and that it could be something else. No other real symptoms that I can see and she still has a normal appetite. Not sure what else it could be and I'm not sure if I should demand some sort of specific test when all I have is this weird excessive swallowing gulping licking lip thing. It's annoying particularly at night or first thing in the morning which is when it is most noticeable. Any ideas/thoughts on what I should do next?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Hi - You've described the regurgitation seen with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) quite well. Like in people, we treat this with antacids (famotidine, e.g.) and may add a motility modifier (metoclopromide) as well. Nightime - when we're at rest and the esophageal sphincter may open more easily - and early morning - when our esophagus has been bathed in stomach acid all night - are the worst times for GERD patients. Please respond with additional questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
What test can be done to confirm? I've taken her to my Vet like three times in the last 3 weeks and described everything I explained to you and he never thought of this, instead she's on antibiotics again. Is there a treatment besides giving her antacids as I can't imagine that being good or her long term. Last question, any ideas a ro what is causing it, could it be what I'm feeding her?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 years ago.
There are no confirmatory tests. It's a diagnosis by exclusion (for what it's worth, my gastroenterologist scoped me, found nothing, and proclaimed that I must have GERD). Response to treatment tells us that we're on the right track. Antacids aren't necessarily given forever - you might just try 10 days of therapy and see what response you get. GERD may be an anatomical problem (the esophageal sphincter is too loose), a dietary problem (certain foods can stimulate regurgitation or a food allergy/intolerance may have arisen), and stress must always be considered. A nicely conservative approach would be to try a "sensitive stomach" food available over the counter or available from DeeDee's vet. If his vet hasn't considered GERD, go ahead and print out this chat and bring it in to him. I'd be interested in his response. (I'm not clear why antibiotics have been dispensed. Her vet may feel that there is a upper respiratory infection causing inflammation in the oropharynx (back of mouth up into the nose) and resultant swallowing and gulping.)
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept and generosity!