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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 21235
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 10m old terrier mix is sneezing when first waking up. I

Customer Question

my 10m old terrier mix is sneezing when first waking up. I just adopted her from a animal shelter. I have two other dogs and I don't want them to get sick from the puppy sneezing. What could this sneezing mean and is it contagious? Please help me.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has you had him with this sneezing?
Any discharge? What color? From both nostrils?
Have the other dogs been in contact yet?
Are they vaccinated?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
First, to have a young dog from a shelter with sneezing, the most common issues are going to be bacterial (kennel cough) or viral (parainfluenza). As she is sneezing and has clear discharge, our viral concerns will be most likely here. We could potentially see this if she had a foreign body caught in her nostrils or allergies, but with her age and situation this would be less likely.
Now unfortunately, the infectious agents are most likely and there is a risk that the other dogs will contract this if sharing even the same airspace with her. And if they have been doing so for 4 days already, then they likely already have. That said, if they are adults that have been vaccinated, then they will have some immunity. And that means that we may not see signs at all or just mild ones.
In any case, for the pup, as long as her nasal discharge is clear you can use supportive care here. If you were to see snotty discharge, then antibiotics from your vet or the shelter's vet would be indicated. In regards ***** ***** supportive care options, you can start by taking her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear some of the discharge congesting her. You can also use a baby nebulizer/humidifier. Though since they often don’t tend to like things held up to their faces, you could make a little 'steam tent’ with your wee one in a carrier/dog crate, the nebulizer/humidifier next to it, and then cover both with a thin bed sheet. You could also do this in a small room.
Furthermore, to flush out the nostrils and reduce irritation within them, you can use saline nasal drops like Ocean Mist or Little Noses (but not anything medicated). To do so, just tilt her head back and drop two to three drops in one nostril. Again not a favorite, but it helps. After the drops go down, you can let the head up and wipe away any discharge that gets loosened. Then repeat with the other nostril if both are affected. Afterwards, wipe away any discharge or crust with a damp cotton ball.
Overall, her signs are highly suspicious of a bacterial or viral upper airway infection. And there is a risk if she has been in contact with the other dogs. Still, since you are not seeing snot, we'd want to use the above supportive care for her to help her settle. Otherwise, we need to monitor the others, as they are at risk but hopefully won't have anything more then mild signs since they have been vaccinated already.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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