View Full Version : Is he choking, or is it something else?!

14th September 2006, 12:01 AM
I'm not even sure how to explain this. But, Bentley had an episode today (and he had one last Saturday also) where he was just fine, and then all of a sudden he was standing there, with his head and neck sort of out-stretched and making this awful snarfing/honking/snorting sound, I can't even really explain the sound just right. It only lasted about 30 seconds or a minute both times, but I can tell you it sure scared the crap out of me! He hadn't ate anything weird, that I could tell. And I don't feed rawhide chew sticks, or any kind of chewy things for that matter. He hadn't ate anything either. I do have a pet rabbit, he is a house-bunny, and sometimes there will be a few pieces of hay that gets out, but I don't know if this could be the cause. I'm not even sure if Bentley was choking, I've never seen a dog choke so have no idea. I wish I could give a better description of what it was like, but, he was sort of making a snorting sound, like sucking in air or expelling air..... Does this sound familiar to anyone, or anyone have any ideas? I was so shook up I was ready to call the vet. But, both episodes lasted very briefly and afterwards he was just fine. Makes me nervous now since I have to leave my dogs home alone while I am at work. :(

14th September 2006, 12:26 AM
That sounds like what my dog sometimes does -- "reverse snort"-- or trachea collapse. If it is-- keep the dog calm, place your hand over the muzzle and gently hold the muzzle down. In other words-- have your dog look down and breath thru its mouth. This is common in cavaliers. I know of someone who drove to the emergency clinic at the wee hours thinking it was an asthma attack.

14th September 2006, 12:28 AM
This DOES sound familiar. No need to panic.

It sounds like the cavalier reverse sneeze. I'm not 100% on the science of it, but the chocking/snorting sound is caused by the shape of the cavalier palate or snout. It sounds worse than it is.

Some people have found success in ending longer episodes by forcing the dog's nose down toward its chest for a few breaths. Others finding forcing the nose upward works, too. It depends on the dog.

My new rescue, Willow, has more issues with this than Cedar. It freaks her out; she tries to run and hide. It helps to keep the animal calm by staying calm yourself. And that will be easier when you know the dog is okay, it isnt choking or anything, and you have techniques to do to help.

14th September 2006, 12:55 AM
Thank you for explaining!! (**huge sigh of relief**) I was so scared, but I tried not to let Bentley know that I was so scared. I kept petting him, and he was kind of trembling, and I was so worried he was in pain or something. We had a Toy Poodle several years ago that had a collapsing trachea (got worse after he drank water), so now I feel a lot better knowing that this is probably what it is. Thank you so much! I will try pointing his nose down when/if it happens again.

Cathy T
14th September 2006, 01:20 AM
Thankfully the first time I witnessed this was while I was at my breeder's house visiting Jake. One of her dogs did and she calmed reached over and tilted his nose down. She explained what was going on. Had that happened to me at home without having seen it first I too would have been scared to death.

14th September 2006, 01:24 AM
It really is frightening to see, when you have no idea what is going on.
I wondered for a bit if I should try the heimlich manuever or something.....gawd, I was a wreck. I am so glad that you guys explained it to me! I totally forgot about the collapsing trachea thing, it was many years ago with the Poodle we had had it, and I had forgotten about that.

Thank you so much!! :)

14th September 2006, 10:20 AM
Gus does this sometimes and just holding his head down or raising his back legs stops it. Pippin has a smaller face/snout and when he does it, it is really scary as he panics and runs away from us instead of to us looking helplessly at us,we have to catch him and open his mouth as he really does seem not to be able to breathe and a couple of times his tongue has been BLUE when we got his mouth open. He gets very scared and needs lots of cuddles afterwards.

14th September 2006, 01:25 PM
Busta does it when he gets excited - we just hold his muzzle and that works, it is scarey though. :yikes

14th September 2006, 03:16 PM
Our cavs used to do this when i was younger, we just used to hold them & rub their throats a little that seemed to help.

15th September 2006, 08:08 PM
I'm so glad you posted this!Holly does this from time to time- if she's been lying with her head on my arm, or pulling on the lead, or over excited- and it really scared me. I was started to wonder if it could be heart trouble....especially after reading this board. I think I'm becoming a dog hypochondriac... Anyway, the breeder was here today so I could view my ruby pup (incredibly cute!) and I asked him about it- and it said it was exactly that- the trachea thing. He explained it as being the equivalent of hyperventilating, and to cup your hand gently over the dog's nose in order to simulate a paper bag, and that should work.

15th September 2006, 09:02 PM
Merlin does the same when he is excited. It sounds like he's having his last breaths which is quite frightening. I read about it in one of the cavalier specific books ( i think its a uk author) - its quite normal and just popping your fingers over his nose holes stops him.

TBH I hav had to advise both grandmas of this and what to do as they both have large dogs that don't suffer with flimsy tracheas....

16th September 2006, 03:25 AM
Well I am sure glad that I asked about it, because all the replies has really eased my mind! Thank you! But, it sure is scary when it is happening isn't it?!

16th September 2006, 06:08 AM
The snorting usually is caused by an elongated soft palate, which many Cavaliers have, due to the shape of their heads. As it is explained in http://www.cavalierhealth.org/brachycephalic.htm an elongated soft palate is too long for the length of the mouth, so that its tip protrudes into the front of the airway and may get sucked into the laryngeal opening where it may obstruct the normal passage of air into the trachea.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

18th September 2006, 12:06 PM
the same thing happened to me a month or so ago! boy was i shocked/scared when i heard it..i also asked all the people on this site for advice it was very helpful!!! everything said above is very good advice! worked for me :p

19th September 2006, 12:48 AM
Thank you so much for all of your helpful replies! It made a very frightening experience al lot more tolerable now, and if/when it happens again I'll be more prepared.