Warning from pet owner after his French bulldog nearly died from a ‘reverse sneeze’


Adele O’Brien, from Biggar, South Lanarkshire, has told how her dog Ernie nearly died of a ‘reverse sneeze’ while eating his dinner and was saved by a vet

Ernie nearly choked to death after reverse sneeze

A French bulldog owner has shared how his pet froze and his “ribs popped out” as he choked after sneezing upside down while eating.

Adele O’Brien, from Biggar, South Lanarkshire, has warned other owners of flat-faced dog breeds of the dangers of eating and inhaling air quickly rather than exhaling as they would with a sneeze normal.

His dog Ernie had a paroxysmal breath or reverse sneeze and began to ‘scream, scream and gargle’ as he choked, reported the Daily recording.

The reverse sneeze, which lasts a few seconds, is common in flat-faced dogs like Ernie and is usually not dangerous, but if it occurs while eating dogs can choke and it can be fatal .

Ernie’s usual Monday night dinner of jerky croquettes and pulled beef got stuck in his trachea and throat. His ribs then “popped out” and he started drooling, Adele said.

Adele has now warned fellow dog owners of the dangers of inhaling while eating


WS daily recording)

A reverse sneeze, which lasts a few seconds, is common in flat-faced dogs


WS daily recording)

The 38-year-old told The Record: “French bulldogs have an elongated paddle and are therefore more likely to choke. For this reason, I always watch him when he eats.

“I heard it hiss and realized it was a reverse sneeze, which usually isn’t a problem.

“But then he started screaming and making whooping noises and gargling. His body froze and his ears pulled back, he couldn’t move.”

In an effort to dislodge the food, Adele tried massaging under Ernie’s neck.

“I pushed between his ribcage and his abdomen to try to get things moving and I heard a hissing sound, like there was trapped air,” she said.

“He was close to collapsing. I knew it wouldn’t resolve on its own.”

Adele rushed Ernie to ARMAC Vets Ltd where an ‘incredible’ out-of-hours vet ‘gently manipulated’ his body, allowing him to vomit, which saved his life.

After a quick injection of anti-inflammatory, Ernie was safe to go home, but Adele is now on high alert in case her beloved pup chokes again.

“Ernie could have died, we are so lucky the vet was only five minutes away,” she continued.

“When you’re careful you don’t expect your dog to choke. Your dog is like your precious baby. At the time I tried to stay calm but choking can be fatal, it was creepy.

“It’s important for owners to know about reverse sneezes and what to do if your dog is choking. It could be a matter of life and death.”

Kirstyn Reive, of ARMAC Vets in Biggar, explained that most dogs are able to stop themselves from sneezing upside down, but some breeds are more susceptible.

She told the Daily Record: “Instead of expelling air through the nose like a normal sneeze, a reverse sneeze sees air being sucked into the dog’s nose and it makes a loud noise.

Ernie was rushed to a vet where his body was ‘gently handled’


WS daily recording)

“Most cases require no treatment and the dog will stop on its own. But if it doesn’t, owners should keep their dog calm and stroke their neck.

“Ernie choked because he sneezed upside down while eating so he inhaled food. He’s a brachycephalic breed and he has an elongated soft palate which makes him more prone.

The vet issued warning signs of choking to watch out for, saying: “If your dog is making an unusually loud noise, drooling or having trouble breathing, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

“You can try to clear the blockage in their throat, but be careful not to get bitten. In extreme circumstances, we would have to sedate or anesthetize an animal to remove the object it is choking on.

“Owners should avoid giving large objects to their dogs and try not to let them swallow their food too quickly.”

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