What is Sneezing?
When your pet inhales a breath, he or she also inhales tiny particles of dust and irritants. The nose of a cat or dog is extremely sensitive to smells and odors and it does not take a lot to make a cat or dog sneeze! Ultimately, when your pet sneezes - the body is trying to get rid of something by sneezing (usually something that is bothering the fine hairs in the nose, which could be dust, irritants due to allergies).
As air moves up the nasal cavity, nose hairs and mucus collect these ‘rogue’ particles. The animal body is triggered to shut the epiglottis (at the back of the throat) contract the chest and let out a huge sneeze! Cats and dogs are also prone to sneezing if they have a respiratory infection, when sensitive membranes become inflamed. This is similar to when humans get a cold or the flu - pet colds are caused by a virus or bacteria.
Sneezing can pass the infection to other dogs and cats with pets from shelters having been exposed to the infection, and older pets being more at risk due to a weakened immune system or changes in the nasal membranes.
There are numerous bacteria that can cause sneezing in your pet: Pasteurella, Bordetella, Streptococci and pseudomonal bacteria. Bordatella and Adeno-2 cause kennel cough, while in cats, the two most common causes of sneezing are the rhinotracheitis virus (Herpes-1), Calicivirus and the organisms Chlamydia psittaci and mycoplasma. Non infectious causes of sneezing include: household detergents, allergies, foreign bodies, tooth abscesses and breed characteristics.