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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.
Help for Sneezing
A rectal temperature reading will usually indicate if your dog or cat may have a respiratory tract infection (the normal temperature of a cat or dog is about 102.5F. If the temperature is over 103.5 it might indicate a problem). Conventional preventative treatment for respiratory tract viruses usually means a vaccination, and treatment will usually include antibiotics, vitamin A and good nutrition. Be aware that some antibiotics and vaccination may be unpleasant for your pet and accompanied by side effects.
More Information on Sneezing
Tips related to sneezing:
- Cats rely on their sense of smell with regards to their appetite, so if they are unwell you may need to tempt them with pungent smelling foods to keep them eating!
- If your pet is going to stay at kennels for a period of time, make sure that his or her immune system is up for the challenge and in tip top shape
- If your pet is allergic to certain detergents and household products, switch to all-natural cleaning products
- If your pet has a respiratory infection, make sure they are fed adequate, healthy food full of nutritious minerals and vitamins to help them with recovery