Although a nasal discharge may only be a sign of infection caused by bacteria or viruses, a mucoid, purulent or bloody nasal discharge can be suggestive of nasal cancer in dogs. Young puppies should be inspected at the vets for a cleft palette if they are discharging milk from their nasal passages.
The nasal cavity in a dog is a complex system comprising of nostrils that open up in two air passages that are lined with scrolled spongy bones called turbinates.
A clear discharge emerging from both the nostrils could also be induced by the presence of small mites but mucoid and purulent discharges need to be looked into since they can be signs of any of the following:
* Alien substances such as grasses or weeds that may have entered the nose while the dog was sniffing around.
* Dental infections, particularly in the roots of upper teeth.
* Fungal infection.
* Nasal cancer.
If blood is present in the discharge, it is almost certain that the cause is either a fungal infection or nasal cancer that is taking root in the passageway. Final diagnosis is made only after eliminating that the bleeding is not induced by violent sneezing, because that can also lead to temporary bleeding.
Nasal cancer in dogs generally occurs as paranasal sinus fibrosarcomas, a sarcoma derived from fibroblast cells, often able to generate collagen, or paranasal sinus chondrosarcomas, a malignant neoplasm of cartilage cells.
Both types of sarcomas mature slowly but are progressive and invasive in nature.
Diagnosis of nasal cancer in dogs requires routine blood and urine tests, biochemical profiling, biopsy and CT scans. Besides the nasal discharge and bleeding, other symptoms that dog owners should keep a watch out for include:
Besides the nasal discharge and bleeding, other symptoms that dog owners should keep a watch out for include:
* Unreasonable and excessive sneezing.
* Bad breath.
* Facial deformity.
* Bulging eyes.
* Seizures that indicate metastasis to the brain.
* Loss of appetite for a long period.
Nasal tumors normally do not react to chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs. Surgery is also a difficult process since the anatomical structure of the nose is extremely complex.
Radiation therapy is available in some cities and veterinary schools but this technique generally only reduces the size of the tumor. It is dangerous to ignore treatment as nasal cancer in dogs can spread to the brain and cause seizures and the condition may also affect the facial bones causing distortion to the dog's appearance permanently.
Like all types of tumors, the cause behind nasal cancer in dogs is also not known. As with the symptoms of liver cancer in dogs, your observation of the symptoms and detection are the only ways to establish medical intervention in early stages to manage nasal cancer in dogs.