View Full Version : Reverse sneezing/nasal discharge HELP!

3rd February 2011, 12:58 AM
New to this board and it has already helped me...I have a 2yr female cavalier (Bella) who has had the "snorts" and nasal discharge from one nostril for about 6 wks. She has no other symptoms and is active and eating well etc. I have had her to the vet 3 times and her lungs are clear, heart good, no temp, no cough, skin and coat are normal and an xray of her head and nasal passages shows no obstruction or abnormalities. A blood work up was done twice- everything was in normal range except her low platlettes, which is why they wanted to repeat the first one. I have since learned on this site that the low number could be considered normal for cavaliers. So im no longer really worried about that aspect. I am worried that she has been on meds for 2wks and is no better (and no worse.) She has been on benedryl, doxycycline,previcox and zeniquin. Should I continue to be worried? She seems perfectly normal except she "snorts" when she gets up in the morning and when she is active with our other dog (who is not sick.) She does have a little bit of clear nasal discharge from one nostril only. The vet thinks it may be viral or fungal and said if these meds dont clear it up she will have to see a specialist and have more tests done. Can anyone give me any advice, suggestions or personal experience. Can a dog just have a lingering cold? Thanks in advance!!

1st March 2011, 03:44 AM
I posted over a month ago and got no replies to my question. Now im wondering if reverse sneezing or "snorting"as we call it, is just going to be the way Bella is. She has been doing this for at least 2 months. We have been to the vet 3 times and she has been on antibiotics etc nothing has helped or cleared up whatever is irritating her. She does it mainly when she wakes up or is excited. The only new "problem" is her HORRIBLE breath. Like nothing we have ever smelled-metally and fishy and putrid. The vet checked her teeth and mouth and all looks normal and healthy. I just have to believe it is due to whatever is causing her drainage and snorting. Any suggestions or advise? She checks out healthy and her bloodwork was normal as was a nasal and head xray.At 2 why would she just start this snorting and I have to believe the breath is an infection but the antibiotic did nothing to help either problems.

1st March 2011, 12:30 PM
Hi–I am so sorry that somehow your initial post disappeared without getting answered! I know a lot of people might have some ideas. To start with, perhaps your vet is not very familiar with the breed, as sounds like it might be the case given that they were unaware of the platelets situation. Most cavaliers have reverse sneezing and snorting to some degree because of their shortened snouts. For some dogs, they will go into a reverse sneezing session, which owners commonly refer to as the “cavalier snort”. A couple of mine do this from time to time; some dogs will do it daily. For the vast majority of dogs, this is not a problem and can be solved by just gently tipping their head forward and placing a thumb over their nostrils for maybe 10 seconds which forces them to breathe through their mouth and stops the snorting. Given that she hasn't seemed to need medication for anything, I would really not be inclined to be pursuing a problem that may not exist as you have done the things I would've suggested–checking for something caught up in her sinuses for example… As long as she isn't acting as if it is a difficulty for her. That said, I have no idea why she has some discharge through one nostril and perhaps it is an infection somewhere along the way and it might be worth talking to a specialist.

There are times when the breed however can suffer from obstructed airways and sometimes surgery is done to help relieve this. I don't think that this is relevant in your case, but you can read more about this at www.cavalierhelath.org.

I am sure some others will have some ideas, too.

1st March 2011, 12:45 PM
hi, the only time ive smelt rubys breath as metallic, she was starting with an anal abcess, which followed a bout of colitis. whether it was a sign of infection i dont know...she also snorts sometimes but only about twice a week and only if shes got very excited,its like she cant catch her breath. she has clear discharge alot from her nose too, ive mentioned it to the vet and she just said dogs get colds too. i hate medicating if it can be avoided so i just get her out in the fresh air lots. im paranoid about everything but im a believer in the less is more approach .unless shes obviously unwell of course x

1st March 2011, 08:31 PM
Just a thought, here, but can your vet do a culture of the nasal discharge, and see if anything grows? It would also let you know if the correct antibiotics are being used. Also, and this is in people, I don't know if it translates into dogs, lol, but a sinus infection can be up in the sinuses, and still show clear discharge, because the actual infected area is not draining/draining down the back of the throat. It can also cause the horrible bad breath (again, in people, don't know about dogs). Might be worth asking about though? Rose does a little bit of that, but no drainage. Oh, and could it be allergies? Just tossing stuff out, I hope there's something in there you can use ;) .

2nd March 2011, 01:16 AM
I would be worried about discharge. A lot of breeds with the shorter noses do the reverse sneezing, and it can be completely fine. Generally it is not anything bad and sounds and looks a lot worse than it really is. The sound happens when the soft palate gets irritated, and so massaging the throat or trying to get the dog to swallow have been some things I read that can help shorten up an episode.

Perhaps the discharge is what is initiating your dogs' attacks and causing the bad breath? Definitely have it checked out by another vet if nothing has been done and things seem to be getting worse.

2nd March 2011, 01:41 AM
All 3 of my Cavaliers get into snorting fits from time to time. I'd say at least 1 of them will have a snorting fit almost every day. Usually happens after drinking water or running but sometimes just out of no where. Seemed scary at first but my vet assured me they were okay. Many Brachycephalic breeds (like pugs) will snort. Seems pretty common in Cavaliers too.

As far as the nasal discharge I have no idea. None of mine have any kind of discharge associated with the snort. (unless they just came from the water bowl)

2nd March 2011, 02:19 AM
I think the reverse sneeze and the nasal discharge are two separate matters. They may be related, but many cavaliers reverse sneeze from time to time -- often when excited -- and do not have a nasal discharge. So, I don't think they are connected.

Others have written that the reverse sneeze is nothing to worry about. Usually, that is correct. But some cavaliers may have a chronic problem with it, and it can be serious. It is just something to be aware of in your cavalier. My family has had cavaliers for over 40 years, and every one of them has snorted once in a while without any serious consequences. It is due to the dog having an elongated soft palate in its mouth.

If it is chronic, it could cut off the air passage and prevent the dog from breathing. So, whenever it occurs, we try to force the dog to breathe through its mouth instead of its nose. This may be done by holding the dog's head down and mouth open with one hand while blocking air from entering the nose with the other hand.

Karlin gave a link to cavalierhealth.org, and for that, I am grateful. The webpage at that site that covers this topic is http://www.cavalierhealth.org/brachycephalic.htm#Elongated_Soft_Palate The cavalier pictured there is named Wendy, and yes, as lady-like as she is, occasionally she snorts.

2nd March 2011, 10:39 AM
I would tend to agree with Rod as well, that the issues are two separate issues. The reverse sneezing is almost definitely not something that you need to worry about, but it could be connected to the discharge. The bad breath could definitely be connected to something up in the sinuses that the vets aren't picking up that is also causing the discharge, if there's something festering up there. For those reasons, it may well be worth visiting a specialist and at least setting your mind at ease over what is going on, but I would also make sure that the specialist knows enough about the breed to realize they do have an elongated palate and that this does cause the “cavalier snort”.

And then again, there's the possibility that none of these things is connected! Bad breath can come from an awful lot of things, including dogs that have started to raid a litter box or have access to a back garden that cats might frequent. Any of us who owns cats and dogs can testify that dogs tend to sneak the cat poops out of the litter tray or out of the garden when they can find them, and this can give quite foul breath to the dog for the next couple of hours. It's just one of the possibilities that might be behind a sudden onset of bad breath. Often dogs that have not done this at all before suddenly start doing it.

The bottom line is, I don't really think your dog needs to be taking a huge range of medications in order to stop the snorting. It does seem that there is something there connected to that nasal passage causing a discharge and as the vets cannot find anything, I think you will have to see a specialist to investigate that further. if the bad breath is constant, it may well be connected to the nasal issue, and again, I would probably go to a specialist just to see if they can pinpoint what the problem is.