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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10447
Experience:  I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
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My dog acts like he wants to throw up but nothing comes out

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my dog acts like he wants to throw up but nothing comes out and it seems like he is having problems breathing with it. His stomach collapses and a snorting you have an idea of what this could be...just started 2 nights ago and it comes in spurts
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did your dog eat anything unusual?
Customer: unknown...usually feed her just grain free dog food but did give her some ham that was cooked with black eyed peas the other day
JA: What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Cotton and she is 10yo
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Cotton?
Customer: she had a yeast infection around 6 years ago ...operation

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern about Cotton.

Could you look at this video and tell me if this is similar to what he's doing?

Thanks, Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
this is called reverse sneezing? hmmm how can I help her because this is the first time and its been going on for two or three nights

Yes, this is what it's called so thanks for confirming that this is what she's doing. Please give me a few minutes to type back a response for you about this condition. Deb

A reverse sneeze is the body's attempt to clear irritants from the nasopharynx or back of the throat and would be considered a normal reflex to any nasal, pharyngeal, or sinus irritation.

When a dog only occasionally reverse sneezes, then I don't worry about it too much but when the condition becomes chronic, then the following explanations which I list below are possible causes. It's a little unusual for a dog this age to start this behavior, though; typically it's seen in younger dogs.

1. Nasal mites but may be difficult to find.
Treatment is fairly easy, though, with Ivermectin given every week for three doses.

2. Foreign bodies such as a blade of grass or foxtail. Often sedation with rhinoscopy is needed to detect such a problem, though.

3. Allergies or rhinitis/sinusitis which may be more challenging to diagnose without advanced testing but response to medication can sometimes help to rule this problem in or out.

4. Polyps or masses which are best diagnosed with an MRI and possible rhinoscopy and resultant biopsy.

5. Unknown...which is often the case with younger dogs.

6. Lower airway diseases can result in secretions that are coughed up; these may irritate the nasopharynx resulting in a reverse sneeze.

But, usually these patients are also coughing or showing other signs.

As to at-home, over the counter treatment options, I often suggest that owners try antihistamines such as Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) which can help to dry up secretions which may be triggering this behavior. The dosage would be 1 mg per pound of body weight twice a day although sedation can often be seen as a side effect.

If Cotton doesn't respond to antihistamines and she were my patient, I'd probably treat her for #1 just to eliminate it from the list...but every vet practices differently, of course.

I hope this helps. Deb

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Deb

Hello again,

I'm just following up on Cotton. How are things going with him? Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She seems to have gotten better with benadryl...thanks for all your input...glad it wasn't worse case scenario...

Thanks for taking the time to share this good news about Cotton; I'm glad to hear that she seems to be responding to the Benadryl.

Regards, Deb

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