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Dog Nasal Diseases: Symptoms, Treatment & Common Types (Nasal Mites)

Understand your dog’s nasal cavity functions & common diseases (nasal mycosis, polyps, neoplasms, parasites). Learn symptoms & treatment options.

The muzzle of dogs is the part of the dog's face that is more or less prolonged depending on the breed, where the nasal orifices (nose) and the mouth are located. Like any other body part, a dog's muzzle can be affected by various pathologies of various natures and severity.

The intricate respiratory system of dogs is susceptible to various ailments, among which “dog nasal diseases” stand out as significant concerns for canine health. These conditions encompass a spectrum of disorders affecting the nasal passages, sinuses, and related structures, manifesting diverse symptoms and degrees of severity.

From common infections to more complex issues like nasal tumours, these diseases can significantly impair a dog’s quality of life and even pose serious health risks if left untreated. Understanding the nature, causes, symptoms, and treatment options for dog nasal diseases is crucial for veterinarians and pet owners alike, enabling timely intervention and effective management to alleviate discomfort and promote the well-being of canine companions.

What are the FUNCTIONS performed by the nose?

Even for our four-legged friends, a properly functioning nose is essential to ensure a good quality of life. The main functions that the nose performs are humidification and warming of the inhaled air, necessary to preserve the lower airways from cold or excessive dryness; filtering, which, by preventing the passage of dust, bacteria, and pollen, traps all the material in the mucus that will then be transported to the oropharynx.

We observe the NOSE.

Various pathologies can produce lesions in the cat's nose, including neoplastic, parasitic, immune-mediated, infectious, genetic, environmental and idiopathic causes.

One can distinguish the nasal cavity from the paranasal sinuses inside the nose. A septum divides the cavity into two parts called the nasal fossae, each of which is subdivided into four major longitudinal canals, the meatuses and other smaller ones called the turbinates; together, they occupy the entire nasal cavity, increasing its surface area; they are highly vascularised and innervated.

Therefore, the mucous membrane that covers this area of the nose acts as a barrier to pathogens that, by infiltrating, could cause irritation and severe damage.

The most common DISEASES

A delicate balance that can be disturbed by the various diseases affecting this area. Here is a brief description of the primary diseases that can influence the nasal cavity of our pets.

Nasal mycosis

The nasal cavities are ideal for the growth and development of fungal colonies, as heat, darkness, and humidity provide optimal conditions for any fungus. The main aetiological agents causing intranasal mycoses in dogs and cats are Aspergillus fumigatus and Cryptococcus neoformans.

Aspergillus fumigatus

Aspergillus is a fungus found in soil, on house plants, furniture and furnishings made from plant fibres, around bird cages and in house dust. Aspergillosis is dogs’ most frequent nasal mycosis and has occasionally been reported in cats.

This disease is often associated with the presence of endonasal foreign bodies, neoplasms, and trauma. The mycetes penetrate the organism through the nasal cavities by inhaling the spores or because they are carried by foreign bodies (e.g., plants); depending on the infectious load and exposure time, the frontal sinuses and the more caudal portions of the turbinates may also be affected.

The main functions that the nose performs are HUMIDIFICATION and HEATING of the inspired air, which is necessary to preserve the lower airways from excessive cold or dryness. The filtering avoids the passage of dust, bacteria, and pollen, trapping all the material in the mucus, which will then be transported to the oropharynx.

Aspergillus produces substances capable of destroying the underlying mucosal and bony tissues. The most frequent symptom is the nasal cough, which first presents unilaterally and then bilaterally due to the destruction of the nasal septum; the material may come out spontaneously or following sneezing and is catarrhal-purulent, greenish-yellow, dense and foul-smelling, sometimes with streaks of bright blood.

Usually, the affected person presents noisy breathing with an open mouth. As the disease progresses, anorexia, drooping and eye discharge due to obstruction of the nasolacrimal canal are observed; the increased volume of the lymph nodes, submandibular and cervical, is also associated with the fungus.

Cryptococcus neoformans

Conversely, Cryptococcus is a fungus widespread in soil contaminated by pigeon guano or rotting eucalyptus leaves. This mycosis is the most common nasal fungal disease in cats, whereas it is less frequent in dogs.

Cryptococcus neoformans is also excreted into the body via inhalation and can spread to the central nervous system, lungs, blood, kidneys, and other organs. Immune deficiency secondary to viral infections, such as in Feline Leukaemia or immunodeficiency-positive cats, maybe a predisposing cause of this infection.

Nasopharyngeal polyps in cats

Nasopharyngeal polyps can form in cats of any age and breed, although they are more common in young cats. They usually form in the middle ear (where they have their root) and emerge outside the eustachian tube, out into the nasopharynx or external auditory canal.

They are mono-lateral or bilateral beni-gone inflammatory proliferation. The cause of their formation is currently unknown, but a viral origin (herpesvirus, calicivirus and papillomavirus) is assumed. The main symptoms in cats with nasal polyposis include noisy breathing, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, mono- or bilateral otitis, and turned head.

Many of the lesions that affect the nasal plane of dogs are expected to have various pathologies. Hence, an accurate diagnosis is crucial because it lets us know the underlying cause and establish the most appropriate treatment in each case.

Nasal neoplasms

Tumours of the nasal cavity have an incidence of 1-2% of all tumours that can affect this anatomical region in dogs and cats, especially elderly pets. Most are malignant. They are usually primary, i.e. they grow and develop in the anatomical site that housed the first tumour cells at the o-riginum, but rare cases of metastatic nasal tumours have also been reported.

Complete excision of this type of nasal tumour is usually very difficult due to the typical infiltrative characteristics and the limited space of the nasal cavities, so the prognosis is often reserved or inauspicious. Nasal adenocarcinoma is a slow and progressive local infiltration of tumour cells of the tissues lining the inside of the nose. It usually begins integrating one side of the sinuses and then spreads to both.

Adenocarcinoma is the most common nasal cancer in dogs. The actual cause of its occurrence is unknown, although it is speculated that a significant factor may be chronic exposure to environmental pollutants. It is most commonly found in dogs that spend a lot of time in urban environments. Exposure to second-hand smoke, wood dust, or toxins from industrial plants has been linked to this neoplasm.

Dogs suffering from nasal adenocarcinoma usually have nasal discharge containing mucus, pus and blood; they often show swellings on the snout with facial deformities, protrusion of one or both eyes, excessive tearing, sneezing and bad breath.

Nasal parasites

Pneumonyssoides canínum is the main mite that colonises the noses of dogs and other animals. This type of mite is common and does not usually cause severe symptoms; therefore, many infected dogs show no signs, and, in many cases, the infestation is not treated.

A major infestation can cause chronic sneezing, bleeding and nasal discharge, reverse sneezing, altered sense of smell, head shaking, coughing and restlessness. It is transmitted from one dog to another through the contact of their noses. Pneumonyssoides caninum is a tiny mite varying in length from one to one and a half millimetres.

Allergic rhinitis

Rhinitis in dogs, i.e., inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose, can also be caused by allergic factors. The symptoms are similar to those described above, with the difference that, in this case, the nasal secretion is transparent. The affected dog will also have itching and eye discharge, rub its muzzle, frequently lick its paws, and sneeze.

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  • The clinical picture usually manifests itself in certain seasons (especially spring) due to the more significant presence of pollen. Still, if the subject is often allergic to house dust or mould, it can be present all year round.

    Q&As:

    What are the main functions of a dog’s nasal cavity?

    The dog’s nasal cavity is responsible for:
    Humidifying and warming inhaled air protects the lower airways from dryness and cold.
    Filtering dust, bacteria, and pollen: Mucus traps these particles, preventing them from entering the lungs.
    Olfaction (smelling): The intricate structure of the nasal cavity allows dogs to detect a vast range of smells.

    What are some common diseases affecting the dog’s nasal cavity?

    Some common diseases include:
    Nasal mycosis (fungal infections): Caused by fungi like Aspergillus and Cryptococcus.
    Nasopharyngeal polyps: Abnormal growths in the nasal cavity are more common in young cats.
    Nasal neoplasms (tumours) Can be malignant and are more frequent in older pets.
    Nasal parasites: Mites like Pneumonyssoides caninum can cause irritation and discomfort.
    Allergic rhinitis: Inflammation caused by allergens like pollen or dust.

    What are some signs that my dog might have a nasal cavity problem?

    Watch out for symptoms like:
    Sneezing
    Nasal discharge
    Difficulty breathing
    Facial swelling
    Head shaking
    Loss of smell

    Takeaways:

    • The dog’s nasal cavity is crucial in respiration, filtration, and olfaction.
    • Various diseases can affect the nasal cavity, causing discomfort and impacting breathing.
    • Early detection of nasal cavity issues through recognizing symptoms is essential for seeking veterinary treatment.
    • Maintaining a healthy nasal cavity is vital for your dog’s overall well-being.

    Comparison Table:

    DiseaseCauseSymptomsCommon in
    Nasal MycosisFungal infection (Aspergillus, Cryptococcus)Nasal discharge, sneezing, facial deformityDogs and cats
    Nasopharyngeal PolypsUnknown, possibly viralNoisy breathing, nasal discharge, sneezingYoung cats
    Nasal NeoplasmsUnknown, possibly environmental factorsNasal discharge, facial swelling, difficulty breathingOlder dogs and cats
    Nasal Parasites (Pneumonyssoides caninum)Mite infestationSneezing, nasal discharge, head shakingDogs
    Allergic RhinitisAllergic reaction to pollen, dust, etc.Transparent nasal discharge, itching, eye dischargeDogs and cats

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, managing “dog nasal diseases” demands a multifaceted approach integrating early detection, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment strategies. Timely veterinary intervention is paramount in addressing these conditions effectively, as prompt diagnosis allows for the timely implementation of targeted therapies, which can mitigate symptoms and improve prognosis. Moreover, ongoing research into the aetiology, pathogenesis, and treatment modalities for dog nasal diseases is essential for advancing veterinary medicine and enhancing the care provided to canine patients.

    Pet owners can play a crucial role in safeguarding their dogs’ respiratory health by prioritizing preventive measures, such as vaccination and environmental management, alongside vigilant monitoring for signs of nasal disorders. Through collaborative efforts between veterinarians, researchers, and pet owners, we can strive towards better outcomes and enhanced well-being for dogs afflicted by nasal diseases.

    Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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    The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

    Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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    Written by Frenchie Breed

    The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

    Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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