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What to Do for an Older Dog With a Severe Gagging Problem?

My 14 yr old Beagle/Lab mix has had a horrible gagging problem and nothing has helped so far. He's had all shots, been to the vet (they said it is not KC), so he's been on antibiotics, steroids, cough suppressants, allergy medication, etc. He's been x-rayed to look for obstructions and as last resort, the vet removed 9 teeth (she said only 3 at first) in hopes that maybe some infection may be causing him to gag.


Any offers of suggestions/help will be very appreciated. Sometimes he gags so hard it scares me and he even wakes from a sound sleep gagging. Thank you!


By CJCDOGS from Wellington, OH

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October 10, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, Carolyn,

Let me first say that I am not a vet, so don't take any of this as absolute, but my beagle started "reverse sneezing" when she got older. I don't know if your dog is doing that (you can search for "dog reverse sneezing" on Youtube and see if it looks/sounds familiar).

It is normal for some dogs, even though it is really alarming when it happens, but I wouldn't expect it to start for no reason at your dog's age. Hopefully the vet took an X-ray rather than just pulling teeth.


Ultimately, a vet determined that my dog had an abscessed tooth. Some of a dog's teeth, like the canines and the premolars, have roots that run deep into their skulls. An abscess goes equally as deep and cause swelling in the upper pallet, leading to the reverse sneeze. It is a very serious condition for dogs because the infection is not easy to clear.

Again, I'm not a vet so I can only tell you some of the symptoms that my dog exhibited that helped the vet conclude that she had an infection:
1. Her nose was runny, and she was always licking it. Over time, she even developed a small crack on one side of her nose.
2. If you looked directly at the dog, like eye-to-eye, there was a noticeable droop on one side of her face, and you could even see that her eye on that side was slightly bulging. This was all due to the effects of the infection.


3. Even if you don't see these symptoms, it doesn't mean that your dog doesn't have an abscess. The symptoms I described occurred when the infection was very advanced.

Good luck with your dog. Above all else, my advice would be to take your dog to another vet if you think this vet has done all he/she knows to do. And keep taking her to new vets until you find one that can help. Don't give up.

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October 11, 20100 found this helpful

Hi Clintonnichols,

Thanks for the advice. We've already checked for reverse sneezing. I even video taped him when he would do this for an entire day so they could see how hard & loud his gagging is. That's when she decided to remove his bad teeth, thinking the infection was causing the problem. The x-rays showed nothing abnormal at all.


I trust these vets (there is 4 in the clinic), They have taken care of all my "kids" for the past 20 yrs. They understand my financial situation and are very generous allowing me to be billed. I had to go on disability 3 yrs ago, live alone, and every penny is precious. I cannot & will not put a price on any of my kids, but seeking another vet is not feasible right now. That's why I came to the internet for help, hoping someone else may have gone through the same thing with their pet.

Thanks again for your advice. Just knowing you cared enough to respond means more than you know. May you be blessed with good health, happiness and love.


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October 11, 20100 found this helpful

Carolyn, is your dog gagging at all when she is eating? I spent several thousand on my baby girl to save her life. She spent weeks in the hospital to no avail. I was fortunate to have a vet that would work with me also. Thank God for him! When baby girl started gagging, it would start while she was eating or shortly after. It was awful, what she gagged up. There was so much phlegm. Let me know. Thanks, from Kathy, Richland, Ms.

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October 11, 20100 found this helpful

The only thing I could think of that was not mentioned here is roundworms. But they are usually a problem in puppies, and your Vet has probably checked this out. If not, it might be worth a try. If you have a vet school associated with a University nearby; they are often good at diagnosing and good about not overcharging. Good luck!

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