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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16289
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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We were given a 10 year old westie. He sometimes has a breathing

Customer Question

We were given a 10 year old westie. He sometimes has a breathing spasm, what causes this?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the dog?
Customer: see message i just sent
JA: Where does the dog seem to hurt?
Customer: I put my hand on his ribs and he stops the breathing spasm
JA: Can you see anything that looks wrong or different?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Nothing visually obvious. Is the dog eating normally?
Customer: yes
JA: OK. No appetite problems. Is the dog having trouble peeing or pooing?
Customer: no
JA: OK. No obvious problems there. How is the dog behaving differently?
Customer: he is new to us we have had him for a week. is it nerves
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Angus
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Angus?
Customer: He had a check up just before we got him
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your new, older pup Angus is having some sort of breathing spasm episode, and I understand that you are concerned. they look like the video this is a "reverse sneeze" which is caused by irritation of the pharynx.It can be from inhaled irritants (like any sort of pollen, or mold spores).It can be related to gastroesophageal reflux.It can be caused by excitement or post nasal drip or an overlong soft palate.Dogs with dental and gum disease can have lots of inflammation and may be predisposed to post-nasal drip and reverse sneezing. A reverse sneeze 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 the throat gently. If it is because of gastroesophageal reflux then giving him an acid reducing medication may help. You can try either:1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.OR 2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one half of a 20mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.These will reduce stomach acid and should help decrease symptoms related to reflux. These medications are quite safe and can be used long term if need be. If it is related to an overlong soft palate then surgery may be required eventually if this is interfering with enjoyment of life or leading to breathing problems. If a dog is prone to reverse sneezes and they have a low grade respiratory infection or are exposed to cigarette smoke, candle or incense vapor, pollution or other irritants then that can be a possible complicating factor as well.Ideally if this is worsening your pup needs to be evaluated by your family veterinarian. They can determine whether this is related to a reverse sneeze or something. In the meantime I recommend watching your fellow closely for other symptoms.If he starts to open mouth breathe even when he isn't exercising strenuously then he should see a veterinarian promptly.Because sometimes this can be related to dental or gum disease and the secondary inflammation from chronic infections. If this is the case a good cleaning should improve things tremendously.Please let me know if you have any further questions.