Age, Sex & Breed – Candy is a spritely 13 year old Golden Retriever.
Presenting Problem – Sudden onset of ‘snorting’ and rasping
History – Candy was a dog that enjoyed a raw carrot as a daily treat from her owner. This healthy snack helped keep her weight trim, teeth clean and had been a longstanding part of the daily routine. However, one evening after finishing her carrot, Candy started with a sudden onset of ‘snorting’ and rasping. By the following morning there was no improvement and Candy was brought in to Braid Vets by her worried owner.
Examination – On examination, vet, Peter Sharp noted that Candy was ‘reverse sneezing’. This is a distinctive noise caused by the ‘aspiration reflex’. This is usually triggered by irritation of the upper surface of the soft palate, which is the fleshy shelf of tissue separating the pharynx (throat) into upper (nasal) and lower (oral) compartments. Reverse sneezing is not uncommon in smaller breeds of dog, especially those with more flattened facial features such as the Pekinese, Lhasa Apso and Chihuahua. Candy was not a typical breed for this behaviour and had never displayed these signs before; consequently a foreign body was considered a possible cause.
Investigation & Treatment – Candy was admitted for a general anaesthetic and exploration of the throat. Endoscopic exam showed that a large piece of carrot was lodged in the nasopharynx above the soft palate. This proved challenging to remove since grab forceps merely ‘pinched’ of small sections of carrot without dislodging it. Eventually the offending foreign body was removed by passing a tube down each nostril into the nasopharynx and flushing the carrot segment into the back of the throat, where it was extracted with forceps.
Outcome – Candy has subsequently made a full recovery from the incident. The cause of the carrot obstruction was sheer bad luck, though it’s fair to say that carrot is now strictly off the menu for Candy!