Gesundheit! The Canine Reverse Sneeze
The hope for this site and this blog is to serve as a point of information for you, our clients and friends. Ideally, we can use these pages to help you understand complex issues of veterinary medicine. Today, however, this post has a bit more of a self-serving purpose. Today we want to discuss the canine reverse sneeze. It needs explanation because the sneeze, when initially witnessed can be very frightening. It needs video highlighting, however, because none of us feel anything less than ridiculous when trying to recreate a sneeze. Obviously we don’t want anyone to suffer through their pet’s sneeze without knowing what they have seen. As important is the fact that none of us want to ever again try and mimic these sneezes in the exam room.
The sneeze is truly an irritation of a dog’s pharyngeal region. We have linked a brief description on our medical info page. A more in depth discussion of the physiology of the sneeze can be found here. Owners who have witnessed a sneeze describe the episode as a choking or gagging or even an asthma attack. Normally, after a thorough exam, we have a pretty good idea of what is going on, but describing our suspicions is a bit harder. “Have you ever heard of a reverse sneeze?” we’ll say. It’s at this point that the assistants and technicians usually find something to keep them in the exam room so they can giggle at the next scene. Summoning our courage and jettisoning our dignity we will then launch into our best impression of the sneeze. Some of us are better at it than others, but no names will be printed here. Upon the act’s completion some clients will agree that their dog has been sneezing, some will doubt it, but all will have considered Heimliching us during the performance.
And so I give you this AHCHOO! Our days of exam room reverse sneezes are over, and the technicians and assistants are sadder for it.