Schertz Animal Hospital’s Blog
The Reverse Sneeze and Other Wheezes that Honk in the Night
There can certainly be some strange noises that come from your pet. While anything out of the ordinary is likely to raise alarm, some unusual utterances can be quite normal. Others, however, are certainly cause for concern.
Thankfully for pet owners, Schertz Animal Hospital is here to help them discern that harmless reverse sneeze from more ominous issues.
The Reverse Sneeze
Perhaps the most common pet noise that owners worry about is the reverse sneeze. Thankfully, it is often totally normal!
Reverse sneezing in pets can look scary if you don’t know what is happening. Pets often stand with an extended neck and then pull back to inhale in a dramatic fashion through their nose, making a gagging type noise. This can happen several times in a row, with the episode typically being over in a few seconds.
The reverse sneeze is much like a regular sneeze, being a reflexive reaction to irritation of the back of the throat. Also like regular sneezing, it is not a big deal, although if it is happening a lot it may indicate that there is a problem causing the irritation that needs to be addressed.
Other Noises and When to Worry
Pets might grunt, groan, snort, sniffle, wheeze, or goose honk. Sometimes these are self-limiting, like when we suddenly snore for a night due to an allergy flare up. Others, though, can indicate something more serious.
We see pets every day for evaluation of noises that they are making. Some of the more common causes we diagnose include:
Upper respiratory infections — Both cats and dogs can contract upper respiratory infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Sneezing, a honking cough, watery eyes, and nasal discharge are commonly symptoms of things like kennel cough and herpesvirus infections.
Brachycephalic syndrome — Short-snouted breeds like Bulldogs and Persian cats are not exactly known for being able to breathe easy. A combination of small nasal openings, a long soft palate, and a narrow windpipe can result in all sorts of crazy noises.
Collapsing trachea — Sometimes due to genetics, trauma, or circumstances such as age and weight the windpipe in certain pets is prone to collapsing in on itself. This is irritation and will often cause coughing, especially when the pet is excited or very active.
Asthma — Lower airway inflammation is not uncommon, especially in cats. It can result in wheezing, coughing, and labored breathing.
Heart disease — If a cardiac condition that the body cannot compensate for is present, fluid may build in the lungs. This can cause coughing and retching.
The answer is always to be safe rather than sorry. We want to see them right away, especially if breathing seems labored, the gums are blue or gray, your pet seems weak or is not eating well, or there are signs of distress.
Many respiratory problems can appear similarly, and the only way to assess their seriousness is often through physical examination and diagnostic testing.
Call us right away if you are concerned about your pet. While it may turn out to be a normal reverse sneeze, we would rather err on the side of caution.
Awesome, caring, sympathetic and pets are Number One! — D.O
I LOVE Dr. Mossberg. He and the staff are Amazing and SOOO CARING! They are the BEST — M. Lerma
Dr. Mossburg is WONDERFUL! He is so patient! Answers all my questions. I don't feel rushed. He is just so awesome with our Sophie! — S. Cobarruvias
This is the only place I trust with my girl. They always take great care of my Yorkie. — A Byrd
We can't say enough about Schertz Animal Hospital. Dr. Rodriguez and the whole staff are wonderful and so caring. — P. Ring
This is a wonderful animal hospital. Will highly recommend them for anyone who loves and cares about their pets. — B. Lewis
Have taken our pets there for years. Dr. R. Is the best. We appreciate him and the rest of his hard working staff. — C. Yeary
These are our first pets and first ever Vet visit. We are very pleased with the attention, knowledge, and quality of care. Very pleased with our decision!. — J. Tibbetts
We love the care the staff provides, they are big enough to provide services without having to wait long for an appointment, but still make you feel like family. Love this place. — T. Ha
Took my cat in today on an emergency basis and they were so helpful and kind. They have done what they can for him. I have a dog too and this is the only place I will be taking her to. Best vet we have ever been too. — L. Hamilton
Exceptional customer service and great care of my Sammy! Dr. Rodriguez "Dr. R" is the BEST! — A. Garcia
We absolutely love Schertz Animal Hospital for our puppy! They are so caring and take good care of our Bella. — P. Willard
The entire staff is friendly to me and my Bradley. I feel that my Bradley is in good hands. — A. Cano
Love Schertz Animal Hospital. The staff are all friendly and helpful. Dr. Mossburg is thorough and caring. We have taken 3 of our rescues there. Most recently our 7 year old Rottweiler we rescued. They have always taken excellent care of them. — A. Peterson
Schertz Animal Hospital really cares about your pet. They know their stuff. They been in Schertz for many years. All the doctors really know how to relate to us as they are pet owners too. I highly recommend them for all your Veterinary needs. You won't be sorry. SAH thank you for taking such great care of my Service Dog. — K. Duchess
Schertz Animal Hospital is a group of some of the most selfless people. They have been so attentive and caring to my pups, literally dropping everything to care for their needs. I am blessed and ever so grateful to have this team a part of my little family's life. Alley and Noah looooove you all! Y'all are the bomb dot com! Keep on keepin' on ladies and gents! — A.H
Dr. Mossberg and his assistant, Terri, are outstanding! Rusty can be difficult and they are so patient and kind. My husband and I really appreciate that they go the extra mile! Thank you!!! — T. & M. Taylor
I am totally satisfied with the practices, procedures, and service currently in place and have no recommendation for improvement. — R. Schutte
The front staff are awesome and have great attitudes. Very friendly and approachable. — R. & D. Carter
This is the one place that I feel completely safe with taking my Jasmine too. All of you take good care of her. Thank you. — C. & J. Smith
I appreciate being able to walk in (I did call first) with no appt. The doctor was booked but he still took care of my pet. Kudos to Dr. Rodriguez!! — S. & C. Mag
You are doing everything super good!!! Keep it up!!!! — W. Williams
I have never had a vet office that treats its patients so well, and throughly explains all diagnosis and possible treatment. I have always bragged on this office and will continue to do so. — M. & N. Heller
Always professional, clean atmosphere. — J. Wilson
Love how Dr Rodriguez has a passion for what he does - it makes a huge difference! The staff is friendly and caring - thank you. — Anonymous
Very nice facility that is well kept up. Whenever one of my pets needs medical care,I know I can rely on Schertz Animal Hospital to provide excellent care. — D. & R. Lanier
Dr. Rodriguez and his staff are always pleasant, caring and I feel very confident in the care given to all of our pets! :) — M. & J. Hild