Understanding Canine Reverse Cough

What is reverse Cough?

Reverse cough, a curious respiratory event in dogs, presents as rapid and repeated inhalations through the nose, often accompanied by snorting or gagging sounds. Despite its alarming appearance, it’s generally harmless and widespread among various breeds, from petite Yorkies and Chihuahuas to larger breeds like Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, and Newfoundlands. Understanding what happens during a reverse sneeze is essential for dog owners.

What is happening? Reverse sneezing involves sudden, repeated inhalations through the nose, resulting in a snorting or honking sound. Triggers can include excitement, irritants, allergies, infections, pulling on a leash, or anatomical factors. Small breeds like York shire terriers, chihuahuenios, poodles, and bulldogs are more prone to develop this problem but that doesn’t exclude mixed breeds or bigger breeds like golden retrievers and grate and Newfoundland for having this coughing-like event.

Symptoms: Rapid, noisy inhalations through the nose, accompanied by a stiffening of the body, and the dog extending its head and neck.

Duration: Episodes typically last for a few seconds to a minute, resolving on their own. Reverse sneezing differs from regular sneezing or coughing and usually doesn’t require medical intervention.

What can I do?  If you find your furry friend caught in a reverse sneezing fit, there are a few techniques you can try to help alleviate the episode. Massaging the throat gently, covering the nostrils momentarily to encourage swallowing, or offering a small amount of water can sometimes help shorten these episodes and offer relief to your pup.

However, it’s important to note that while occasional reverse sneezing is generally harmless, frequent or severe episodes warrant a consultation with a veterinarian. If these episodes become more frequent or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, seeking professional advice becomes crucial. Veterinarians can provide insight into understanding and effectively managing this condition, ensuring your dog’s well-being.

While reverse sneezing is common and often not a cause for alarm, it’s essential to remember that any coughing-like event or unusual respiratory behavior in dogs should prompt veterinary attention. A professional diagnosis ensures accurate identification and appropriate management of the underlying cause.


Fun Fact

Incredible Scent Receptors: Dogs possess an extraordinary olfactory system with around 300 million scent receptors. This number is significantly higher than the mere 5-6 million scent receptors found in humans. This incredible number of receptors allows dogs to detect scents at incredibly low concentrations, making their sense of smell highly sensitive and effective.

Dual Functionality: Dogs’ noses have dual functionality. They can inhale and exhale air simultaneously due to a unique structure called the “bifurcated nasal passage.” While they inhale air through their nostrils, they can also exhale through the slits located on the sides of their noses. This remarkable feature helps maintain a constant flow of air, inhancing their scent detection capabilities.

Scent Discrimination: Dogs’ noses are not just incredibly sensitive; they’re also highly discriminatory. Their sense of smell allows them to distinguish between various scents, identifying individual odors even within complex mixtures. This ability is why dogs are employed in tasks such as tracking, search and rescue operations, and detecting specific scents related to health conditions or even explosives.

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