Chihuahua Wheezing Problems
Chihuahuas are a fun loving dog breed and can make excellent pets for many people and families. Part of owning any dog involves understanding the health issues that may befall it. One common health problem among many Chihuahuas is something commonly referred to as "reverse sneezing", which is basically characterized by them wheezing. In order to best care for your Chihuahua, it's vital that you understand this common health problem, including how to diagnose it and what to do when you feel that your Chihuahua may be experiencing it.
Chihuahua Wheezing - What To Look For
It's not difficult to notice when your dog is experiencing a reverse sneezing episode, as he or she will probably begin to exhibit honking, snorting, gasping and wheezing noises. It may resemble a cat trying to bring up a hairball, only your Chihuahua isn't actually choking or trying to bring anything up.
It's easy to feel completely and utterly helpless while you watch your Chihuahua deal with this problem, especially when it appears as if he or she is unable to breathe. Don't worry, though, these wheezing episodes sound much worse than they actually are. This occurrence, which is commonly referred to as "wheezing" or as "reverse sneezing", actually has nothing to do with sneezing. Instead, it's caused by an irritation of the soft palate in the roof of the mouth.
Causes of Wheezing / Reverse Sneezing
The soft palate in your Chihuahua's mouth is a soft and fleshy extension of tissue that comes off from the hard palate, which is the actual roof of the mouth. The cause of a wheezing episode is believed to be from an irritated or misaligned soft palate.
While it is not certain exactly what is causing this pharyngeal spasm, it's thought that a number of different irritants may play a role, including dust, pollen and a variety of different household chemicals. Some dogs can launch into an episode after excessive physical activity, drinking too much or too fast, eating, or having their leash pulled on. If you find that your Chihuahua experiences this wheezing episode regularly or severely, other possible causes should be addressed by a veterinarian, because viral infections, excessive soft palate tissue, polyps, and nasal mites may all be underlying contributing factors. However, many cases of reverse sneezing never seem to have an identifiable cause.
What To Do When Your Chihuahua Has an Episode
This behavior isn't only common in Chihuahuas, but most small dog breeds can exhibit it. However, there are a number of specific breeds that appear to be predisposed to it, including Chihuahuas. Many dog owners have rushed to the vet's office in a panic over this health condition, though such a brash move isn't necessarily required.
Some dogs can experience this particular health condition consistently throughout their entire life, while others may only develop the problem as they age. During a reverse sneezing spasm, your dog will usually turn his or her elbows out, extending the neck while gasping in an inward manner. The snorting sound that your dog will make is unmistakable. If you want to attempt to shorten the episode for your Chihuahua, you can gently massage the throat area, or gently pinch the nostrils shut so that your dog can be guided to breathe through his or her mouth. Sometimes if you take your dog outside to get some fresh air exposure, that can cause the spasm to end early. Once the attack is over, everything should be completely fine.