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What is Reverse Sneezing?

Does your Pom sometimes sound like they're choking? Or has something stuck in their throat?

This is called Reverse Sneezng and is quite common in small dogs. The correct name is inspiratory paroxysmal respiration. Fortunately, there is nothing to worry about.

It generally occurs because the soft tissue at the top of the dog's mouth (the soft palate), catches over the cartilage flap that covers the windpipe (trachea) during swallowing (the epiglottis).

This causes a vacuum to occur in the throat and leads to the “reverse sneezing” which is the dog trying to unstick the epiglottis. The dog should sort it out themselves after a minute or two.

You might be able to help by covering their nose (effectively making them hold their breath) and scratching their throat. Lightly blowing in your Pom's face can help, too, as it forces them to swallow a couple of times, which can clear their throat and stop the reverse sneezing.

If the reverse sneezing is prolonged or leads to fainting from lack of air (syncope), you must get this checked by a vet as there may be something more serious going on e.g. a collapsing trachea.

Dr Tracey Tonkin BVSc (Hons)

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