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Dog sneezing, runny nose, woke up from sleep because of breathing problem

by Samantha Wei Xu

My dog Jade is 4 years old Labrador. She was given first injection of kennel cough two weeks ago, and starting 3 days ago she has been sneezing quite often and has had watery discharge from her nose.

It is not a non-stop sneeze, but it's fairly frequent compared with her normal heavy sneezing which happens mostly when she is out exploring (and the normal sneezings always comes with a head shaking, and we normally would see probably two/three times a week only.)

Currently, her sneezing comes in group: Some small/light sneezing at the beginning as if there was dust in her nose, then some heavy sneezing comes afterward. Yesterday, it happened 6-7 times in one short hour. It happened when she was walking in the house, garden and the community lawn.

Just now, she was sleeping like a human, belly up on the couch with her head on a cushion. Out of nowhere, she let out a very heavy sound from the throat which woke her up from sleep, followed by attempts to breath through her nose. She obviously had problems breathing at that moment, and it seemed that something was in her throat and nose.

It lasted about half a minute, during which I was so scared that she might suffocate. She tried to vomit, but nothing came out. After that she calmed down again and has had no additional symptoms. She obviously was in discomfort and got a shock as well. However, she seemed to have good sleep in the past few nights, from 10pm to 7 am. Symptoms were not observed during sleeping.

As I will be traveling, I am not sure I can leave her in this unstable situation with a friend. Do you think it is something I should be worried about?

Thank you in advance!

Samantha from Dubai

Comments for Dog sneezing, runny nose, woke up from sleep because of breathing problem

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Feb 15, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog sneezing, runny nose, woke up from sleep because of breathing problem
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Samantha,
How is Jade's eye? February 10, when you submitted your question about her eye problem, I was suspicious that her eye problem may have been a reaction to the kennel cough vaccine she had 2 weeks ago. AND now she is sneezing!

What you are describing sounds like a 'reverse' sneeze. This is caused by a spasm of the soft palate in the roof of the mouth. Similar to hiccups being caused by a spasm of the diaphragm. There is NO danger of her suffocating. BUT, it is suspicious of a reaction due to a vaccination (Rabies vaccination reactions can cause this, too). Especially those kennel cough vaccines that are administered via nose drops. But this can also occur by the SQ injection of kennel cough vaccine.

I suggest you return to the veterinarian that administered the vaccine to have Jade examined. Make sure they write a note in her chart to record all of the problems that she has had since she received the vaccine. I would also suggest that you DO NOT let her have any more of the kennel cough vaccinations ever again.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Feb 15, 2012
Dog sneezing, runny nose, woke up from sleep because of breathing problem
by: Samantha

Hi Dr. Tillman,

Thank you for your comments on Jade’s eye problem.
Jade's eye is recovering slowing but towards a right direction. I have been giving her the saline drops on daily basis. The pimple at the upper eyelid is slowing going away but the lower eyelid still shows some white areas (pimple?).

I am leaving tomorrow and be back in town in one month time. Jade will be staying with a friend of mine. With not enough time to take her to a vet before I leave, can I believe she will recover with time as long as she skips the second injection (She has a second injection due in 2 weeks)?

She normally snore a lot and heavily when she sleeps. Does it impact her health going forward? May I assume the snoring and the strong reaction of soft palate are somehow related? Should I be worried? What can I do when she is having breathing problems? I tried patting her chest which did not help too much.

I hope it is not 'contagious', as my friend who will keep her also have a dog.

Thank you and have a good day!

Feb 16, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Sneezing, runny nose, woke up from sleep because of breathing problem
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Samantha,

That is good to hear that Jade's eye is improving, and I can assure you that she will continue to improve without the second "booster" kennel cough vaccine.

Regarding the vaccination, you asked, "Does it impact her health going forward?"

ALL vaccines impact the health of the individual. Here is an October 2011 report that was listed on the Veterinary Homeopathy list-serve recently: This German study was done in children, not dogs, but the same effects would be apparent in animals.

You asked if the snoring and the 'strong reaction' of the soft palate are related. No, the snoring occurs because her soft palate is relaxed and hangs down in front of her airway passage as she sleeps.

The reverse sneeze occurs because of a spasm, or a repeated fluttering or tightening of her soft palate, which can happen at any time. BUT it DOES NOT obstruct her airway. A reverse sneeze, if that is what she has, usually only lasts 10-20 seconds, possibly up to a minute. It is similar to hiccups. You do not need to do anything, as they will subside and stop.

The tendency to have reverse sneezing, where the soft palate goes into spasms, seems to be related to what is called 'vaccinosis' in holistic medicine. And it seems to be more specifically related to the Rabies miasm.

There are homeopathic remedies useful for treating this. It is NOT a contagious condition, since it depends on the susceptibility of the individual, and the vaccine. In modified live vaccines, such as the kennel cough vaccine, after an individual is vaccinated there is the possibility of shedding viral particles up to 2 weeks after being vaccinated. If your friend's dog is healthy, and has a strong immune system there should be no problem.

When you return from your trip, it would be best to take Jade to see a holistic veterinarian. Providing her with a healthy diet, immune support and treating her homeopathically.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Cough Diagnoses & Treatments,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Coughing Problems Section

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