Canine post nasal drip is a condition in which your dog's sinuses produce a vast excess of mucus, which then drains down the back of his or her throat instead of being passed into the nasal cavity where it can later be expelled. It's a frustrating condition that causes an almost constant sense of irritation in the back of the throat and in addition to increasing the likelihood of infections and sore throats, it can add a lot of stress to your dog's life that could cause him or her to act out in unusual and unwanted ways.
The number of potential causes of canine post nasal drip is vast. It can be instigated by basic respiratory diseases such as rhinitis and sinusitis, or it could develop as the result of trauma to the throat and sinuses such as acid reflux disease or a particularly bad instance of airway blockage. It's even possible for allergic reactions to food, medication, or something in the environment to cause canine post nasal drip to occur.
No matter the cause, the disease is rather easy to diagnose. There are certain clinical signs which you should be on the lookout for in your dog. These include constant swallowing in an attempt to get rid of the tickling sensation in the throat, congested airways that might lead to wheezing or a reduced tolerance to exercise. He or she might not eat with the same zest that he or she typically does because of a chronic sore throat that is often accompanied by uncontrollable fits of coughing. Lastly, persistent bad breath is a very good indicator that your dog is suffering from canine post nasal drip.
Treatment depends largely on the underlying cause of the condition. During the early stages of diagnosis, it's important to give plenty of fluids to your dog to help relieve congestion and dehydration. During this time, a large number of cultures and swabs will probably be taken from your dog's throat and nose in an attempt to more accurately understand what's causing his or her suffering.
If the cause is found to be a persistent infection of the sinus, then antibiotics are the usual course of action and are often very effective. Occasionally, a physical defect will result in the persistence of a post nasal drip and in these instances, regular nasal irrigation must be employed. Certain minor surgeries to re-route the flow of the excessive mucus might also be useful to your dog. If the cause is found to be allergic in nature, then the above steps might still be taken to relieve your dog's suffering while the allergy part of the disorder is treated independently with medications such as antihistamines and strong decongestants. Steroids have been used effectively in the past, but they are not recommended for anything more than short term usage.
While there is no real cure for canine post nasal drip, the disease can be very effectively managed by paying attention to your dog's environment and helping to isolate the central cause of the disorder. It may be that a simple lifestyle or diet change is all that's necessary to relieve his or her suffering.