Dog ate chocolate?

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Dog sneezed out food.

Species: Dog
Breed: Chihuahua
Age: 5-8 years
Hi there,
I have a couple of concerns. My chi is about 6 and a half years old. We got her when she was 8 months. She always had this problem of getting food, water, or anything else she ate up her nasl passage. Not sniffing it in, but coming through the inside (if that makes sense). She once had an incident with a blade of grass. We took her to Emergency, they gave her a shot of Prednisone. Wasnt getting better a few hours later. Loading her back in the car to go back, when she had a huge sneezing fit and the grass popped out her nose and landed on her head. This is on going it seems. She seems very sensitive in the nose department.
A few weeks ago she was getting a treat of soft canned food (blue buffalo). She eats...well like a piggy. In the middle of her meal she starting sneezing and hacking like mad. I knew what happened. The thing is she never got better even 2 weeks later. She was still sneezing and what not. We took her into the vet. He said could be a few things. Something in her nose, a bad tooth or a nasal tumor. I didnt feel good at all when he said that. He gave her a 2 week antibiotic shot. A few days ago she was sneezing, big ones that her head almost hits the floor. I seen something come flying out. It was some soft dog food! I thought whew...she will get better now. She has improved, but is still a little congested and sneezy at times. Could there still be some in there? Or could it be that her nose is very irritated? She has a clear mucus running a lot at times or when she is sneezing. A few times it looked a creamy to very light yellow. Mostly clear though. I'm scared to death about the mention of the tumors, as I know the outcome of that. We just lost our border collie last month very suddenly to heart failure which left us heart broken. So maybe I am being paranoid? She is a tiny dog, little less then 5 Ibs. I'm so worried. Is it normal for dogs to frequently get things in the nasl passage from eating or drinking? We have a Yorkie her size as well who doesnt have these issues. I would appreciate any thoughts you may have.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Jessica.

In 13 years of practicing veterinary medicine I have never had a patient that had problems with getting things stuck up their nose like you have mentioned.

Has the vet ever mentioned a problem with a cleft palate? If a dog had hole in the roof of her mouth then this could certainly cause food to enter the nasal passage by going through the roof of her mouth. This type of thing can be surgically fixed although it is not an easy surgery to do. However, your vet really should be able to determine if there is a cleft palate present.

Any time I have a dog with violent sneezes and nasal discharge I do get worried about a nasal tumor or a tooth root infection. However, given that China actually sneezed out food then this makes these much less likely.

How are China's teeth? Chihuahuas are prone to having dental issues. Another possibility is if she has something called an oronasal fistula. This would actually be caused by a bad tooth. If the root is infected it can cause a hole to form between the nasal passage and the mouth and food can get up there.

If this were my case then what I would be recommending is a full anesthetic and a good thorough exam of China's mouth. I would be looking for any tiny defects in the hard or soft palate (and if possible, close them surgically) and I'd also be checking all of her teeth and looking for an oronasal fistula. This procedure could be a little pricey but really it is the best option.

I hope things look up soon!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

She did have a dental cleaning a couple years ago. They never mentioned anything about her palate. I wonder if that is something they would notice? He did say she was due for a cleaning again. I try to brush her teeth, but with her flayling around she makes it near impossible. He also did mention her gums were a bit red near the tooth line. I did give her a bone to chew on though, so maybe that contributed to the redness? She doesnt normally get bones. How long would it take a nasal tumor to progress? She has had these troubles her whole surely she would have been gone by now? She has always been a sneezer. The reverse sneeze as well as a normal sneeze. She is eating and drinking normally, we have been blessed with great weather lately so she has been enjoying her walks. If there is soft food left in there, could that cause problems for her? Or would it eventually makes it's way out? Thanks again.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

From what you've described a tumor sounds very unlikely.

Yes, the palate issue is likely something that would have been noticed during a dental cleaning.

If there is still some food there then there is a risk for it causing infection. Any time there is foreign material inside the body it is an infection risk. So, if you do start noticing an increase in sneezing or a green or yellow discharge from the nose she may need to go on antibiotics again.

If there is food there then it is certainly possible that it will make its way out. If there is a hole (such as an oronasal fistula) then more food can continue to get into the nasal passage.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.