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Hi all-

Both of my guys do this. I think they are part bloodhound. They love to sniff stuff, seemingly anything. They sniff really loudly too, loud enough to be heard from several feet away :shock: . But sometimes when they come up for air, they have this look on their face like they are stoned.........their mouths are open and they stay open for awhile. My brother coined the phrase "open mouth syndrome".

What does it help them do? I can't stop laughing when they do it. They crack me up all the time. Any ideas?

Bryon
 

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That look is called flehmen and they are using an organ in the top of their mouth to smell.


"The vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ is an auxiliary olfactory sense organ in some vertebrates, all of which are tetrapods. It is located in the vomer bone, between the nose and the mouth. The sensory neurons within the vomeronasal organ detect distinct chemical compounds, usually large molecules. Snakes use it to smell prey, sticking their tongue out and touching it to the opening to the organ. Some mammals use a distinctive facial movement called flehmen to direct compounds to this organ, while in some other mammals the entire organ contracts or pumps to draw in compounds.

Although some scientists believe the vomeronasal organ is specialized for detection of pheromones, some pheromones are detected by the regular olfactory organ, and the vomeronasal organ detects other compounds in addition to pheromones. Thus, its function is still somewhat mysterious.

In humans it is nonfunctional and regresses before birth, as is the case with some other animals, including cetaceans, some bats, and apes. In adult humans there is no neural connection between the organ and the brain."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vomeronasal_organ
 

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sentimentalgirl: they look kind of *wild* when they do it. You can really tell they're descended from the big cats. Sabby will do it if he smells another animal on me or if he catches a whif of some particularly potent catnip.
 

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Sugar does this sometimes and its so hilarious. One time I was taking the cats for a ride and Twinkie was sitting in the back seat and had his mouth open really big for like 20 seconds. It was scary yet funny.... :lol:
 
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