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Nasal Tumors in Dogs

Nasal Tumors in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Nasal tumors in dogs are abnormal growths in the nose. Tumors commonly appear in the nasal passages and the paranasal sinuses. 

Dog nasal tumors are malignant in 80% of cases. The tumors do not metastasize but are locally invasive and cause bone damage. The frequently reported type of nasal cancer is adenocarcinoma. Other types include sarcomas, squamous cell carcinomas, undifferentiated carcinomas, and transmissible venereal tumors (TVT). 

A complex mixture of genetic and environmental factors, like urban pollution, cigarette smoke, and sun exposure, causes a dog nose tumor to manifest. 

Bloody nasal discharge, sneezing, nose pawing, breathing difficulties, facial deformity, appetite loss, increased tearing, and neurological problems are standard signs of cancer on dogs nose

Nasal tumors in dogs are diagnosed through advanced imaging techniques (X-rays, CT scans, and MRI) and biopsy. Dog nose cancer is incurable. 

The median survival time for aggressively treated dogs with nasal cancer is between 12 and 18 months. Radiation is the main form of treatment. Dogs with untreated nasal cancer die within two to six months of diagnosis. 

What are Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

Nasal tumors in dogs are abnormal growths in the nose. Tumors occur when cells mutate and continue multiplying, spreading abnormal genes. 

Nasal growths are primarily malignant, with rare cases being benign tumors. Malignant nasal tumors are locally invasive and destroy the surrounding tissues but rarely spread to distant organs. 

Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of nasal cancer in dogs. The tumor is aggressive and requires immediate veterinary attention.  

Nasal cancer in dogs is fatal. Treatment aims to control the symptoms and maintain the dog’s quality of life.

What Part of a Dog's Nose gets affected by Nasal Tumor?

The nasal cavity is the part of a dog’s nose affected by nasal tumors. The second most common predilection spot for tumors is the paranasal sinuses. 

A dog’s nose is an intricate, delicate structure comprising a rhinarium, nostrils (nares), nasal cavity, olfactory receptors (ORs), Jacobson’s organ, and sinuses. The dog’s skull confines the nasal cavity. 

Knowing the anatomy of dog nose is critical for understanding how nasal tumors develop and their effects. Nasal structures are closely related to the eyes and brain, and tumors in the nose cause ocular and brain issues.  

What do Tumors on a Dog's Nose look like?

Tumors on a dog’s nose look like nasal swelling and lost facial symmetry. The dog’s nose becomes misshapen and asymmetrical from a frontal or lateral perspective. Bloody discharge drips from the nose, and the area around the nostrils looks unkempt. Tumors pressuring the eyes cause an abnormal eye bulge and ocular discharge.  

What are the Types of Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

The types of nasal tumors in dogs are listed below. 

  • Nasal Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma stems from the glands that produce mucus in the nose. The tumor is malignant, highly invasive, and unlikely to metastasize. Nasal adenocarcinoma dog occurrence is prevalent in older, long-nosed breeds like German Shepherds and Collies. 
  • Undifferentiated Nasal Carcinoma: Undifferentiated nasal carcinoma is a unique type of tumor that does not resemble normal tissue. Nasal carcinoma in dogs is rare and has a very poor prognosis. 
  • Nasal Squamous Cell Carcinomas: Squamous cell carcinoma is a rare cancer type that occurs on the hairless tip of the nose, called the nasal planum. Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to this cancer form. 
  • Nasal Sarcomas: Sarcomas develop in the nasal and paranasal sinuses. The three common nasal sarcomas in dogs include fibrosarcoma (from connective tissue), chondrosarcoma (from cartilage), and osteosarcoma (from bones).
  • Transmissible Venereal Tumors (TVT): TVT is a sexually transmitted tumor that manifests on the dog’s genitals and the nose in rare cases. The tumor resembles a red mass and crumbles the tip of the dog’s nose. 

Are all Nasal Tumors in Dogs cancerous?

No, not all nasal tumors in dogs are cancerous. Malignant nasal tumors are more widespread in dogs than benign tumors, however. 

Benign nasal tumors account for roughly 20% of all growths and include polyps and fibromas, according to Dr. Julie Buzby in a post, “Nasal Tumors in Dogs: A Dog Parent’s Guide,” published in ToeGrips in 2023. The remaining 80% of nasal growths are malignant. 

Benign tumors remain on the nasal cavity’s surface and do not invade the dog’s local structures. Malignant tumors are highly damaging and bone invasive. 

What are the Causes of Dog's Nose Cancer?

The causes of dog nose cancer are listed below. 

  • Genetic Predisposition: Nasal tumors are reported in all dog breeds but are more common in dolichocephalic or long-nosed dogs such as Greyhounds, Dachshunds, and Collies, indicating a genetic propensity. 
  • Age: Nasal tumors, like most cancer types in dogs, are more common among older dogs. The average age for nasal cancer development is 10 years. 
  • Sex: Nasal cancer in dogs is more common in males than in females, according to a 2006 study published in CTSAP, “Canine and Feline Nasal Neoplasia.” 
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to urban pollutants and cigarette smoke is a known risk factor for canines developing nasal cancer. 
  • Exposure to Sunlight: Prolonged or frequent exposure to sunlight increases the risk of developing cancer on the surface of the nose. 
  • Chronic Inflammation: Chronic nose inflammation or rhinitis is associated with an increased incidence of nasal cancer in dogs.  

How common are Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

Nasal tumors in dogs are uncommon. Nose-based tumors comprise 1% to 2% of all cancers in dogs, according to a study, “Treatment of Nasal Tumours in Dogs: A Review,” published in JSAP in 2020. 

Nasal tumors are malignant. The frequently diagnosed type is malignant tumors of epithelial origin. Epithelial tumors have two main forms, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.  

Are Nasal Tumors a Common Nasal Problem in Dogs?

No, nasal tumors in dogs are not a common nasal problem in dogs. Nose tumors are rare but are frequent causes of bloody nasal discharge. 

Nasal tumors are the most common cause of unilateral epistaxis, facial deformity, and epiphora in the aged dog, reports a study, “Canine and Feline Nasal and Paranasal Sinus Tumors,” published in VCNA Small Animal Practice in 1992. Epistaxis is the medical term for bloody nose discharge, while epiphora refers to excessive eye watering. 

Foreign objects, nasal infections (rhinitis), and trauma are more common nasal problems in dogs than tumors. 

What is the Average Age for Dogs to Get Nasal Tumors?

The average age for dogs to get nasal tumors is 10 years. Dogs are 9.5 to 10 years old when diagnosed with nasal tumors, based on a study titled “Canine and Feline Nasal Neoplasia,” published in CTSAP in 2006. 

Advanced age is a significant risk factor for nasal cancer in most dogs. Nasal tumors are able to manifest in dogs of all ages, including puppies. 

In a report of 285 dogs with sinonasal neoplasia, 5% were 1 to 4 years of age, suggests Pierre Barreau, DVM, in “Nasal Cavity Tumours” published in WSAVA World Congress Proceedings in 2008

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

The signs and symptoms of nasal tumors in dogs are listed below. 

  • Nasal Discharge: Nasal discharge, known as rhinorrhea, is common in dogs with nasal tumors. The consistency and color of the discharge vary depending on the cancer type and stage. 
  • Nosebleeds (Epistaxis): Bloody discharge is the most frequent type of nasal discharge in dogs with cancer. The medical term for nosebleeds is epistaxis. 
  • Sneezing and Snorting: Nose tumors irritate the nasal passages, blocking them and causing a sneeze reflex, which results in loud breathing or snorting. 
  • Nose Pawing: Dogs with nasal tumors paw at their noses excessively to remove the mass as a source of irritation and discomfort.  
  • Breathing Difficulties: The tumor mass within the nasal passages obstructs normal airflow and impedes breathing. The larger the tumor, the more difficult it is for the dog to breathe. 
  • Facial Deformity or Swelling: Nasal tumors pressure and invade the surrounding skull, causing facial deformities and loss of symmetry in the dog’s facial features. 
  • Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss: Dogs with nasal tumors are unable to eat and lose appetite entirely in the more advanced stages, leading to emaciation and weight loss. 
  • Excessive Tearing or Ocular Discharge: Nasal growths pressure the dog’s eyes and trigger an increased tearing production or ocular discharge, called epiphora. 
  • Neurological Signs: Neurological issues are common nasal tumors in dogs symptoms that occur when the cancer pressures the brain. 

Do Dog Nose Tumors cause behavioral changes?

Yes, dog nose tumors cause behavioral changes. Pain is the initial cause of behavioral changes, manifesting as disinterest in daily activities. 

Nasal tumors grow and pressure the brain. Excess brain pressure triggers behavioral changes in the advanced stages of the disease. 

Dogs behave strangely and become moody, easily irritable, or unusually vocal. Increased pressure on the brain leads to more pronounced behavioral changes. 

How is a Nasal Tumor in Dogs Diagnosed?

Nasal tumors in dogs are diagnosed based on medical history, a clinical examination, and test results. The veterinarian analyzes the dog’s health history and performs a thorough physical exam. 

The veterinarian assesses the dog’s nose for clinical signs and symptoms. Common diagnostic tests for nasal tumors are imaging, rhinoscopy, and biopsy. 

Blood counts, biochemistry panels, and urinalysis are performed to evaluate the dog’s health. Chest X-rays and abdominal ultrasounds help check for metastasis. 

What are the Tests done to Diagnose Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

The tests done to diagnose nasal tumors in dogs are rhinoscopy, imaging (X-rays, MRI, and CT scan), and biopsy. 

Rhinoscopy is an examination of the nasal cavity using an endoscope. The procedure is less precise than imaging but allows visualization of the nasal passages and helps rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, like foreign objects lodged in the dog’s nose.

Imaging includes X-rays, MRI, and CT scans of the dog’s head. MRI and CT scans are more accurate than X-rays but are more expensive and less available. 

A biopsy is the process of a veterinary pathologist collecting a tumor tissue sample and analyzing it under a microscope. The tissue analysis confirms the diagnosis and identifies the type of cancer. 

How dangerous are Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

Nasal tumors in dogs are highly dangerous. Tumors of the nasal cavity are malignant in most cases. 

Nasal cancer rarely metastasizes to the lungs. The most significant impact of nasal tumors is on the local cells. Nasal tumors in dogs invade the surrounding tissues, affecting the throat, eyes, and brain. 

Is Nasal Cancer in Dogs Painful?

Yes, nasal cancer in dogs is painful. Nasal tumors are locally aggressive and compounded by the skull, which puts extra pressure on the surrounding tissues. 

The tumor growth causes discomfort or severe facial pain, depending on size, type, and exact location. Dogs with nasal cancer are susceptible and refuse to have their faces touched. Pain management is a vital component of the treatment strategy. 

What are the Treatments for Nasal Cancer in Dogs?

The treatments for nasal cancer in dogs are listed below. 

  • Radiation: Radiation is the standard nasal cancer treatment in dogs. The approach is used independently or with chemotherapy or surgery. Palliative radiation is an alternative option in which the dog is given small radiation doses over an extended timeframe. 
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a rarely used treatment for nasal tumors that pairs with radiation therapy or surgery. Doxorubicin is a chemotherapeutic agent administered alone or with other drugs, such as Palladia (oral anti-cancer medication). 
  • Surgery: Surgery is not a definitive nasal cancer treatment because the tumor invades the bone early in the process. Surgery is used for debulking purposes to reduce the tumor mass and boost the radiation or chemotherapy efficacy. 
  • Vaccines: A unique peptide vaccine called EGFR/HER2 is suitable for dogs with nasal osteosarcoma and increases the effect of radiation and chemotherapy. 
  • Supplements: CBD and turmeric are the most popular natural supplements with proven anti-neoplastic features. The supplements are easy to use and safe to combine with mainstream cancer treatments. 

How can CBD Products Help Treat Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

CBD products help treat nasal tumors in dogs through their anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a natural hemp extract that is non-addictive and non-psychogenic. 

CBD has direct anti-neoplastic properties alone and in combination with standard cancer therapies, states a study, “The Effect of Cannabidiol on Canine Neoplastic Cell Proliferation and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Activation During Autophagy and Apoptosis,” published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology in 2021. 

Hemp-sourced CBD for dogs reduces inflammation, which is the basis of tumorous conditions, and reduces pain as a common cancer symptom. 

Cannabidiol has an indirect effect on dogs with nasal cancer. CBD promotes healthy food intake, which benefits dogs with cancer that have reduced appetites. 

What is the Survival Rate of Dogs with Nasal Tumor?

The survival rate of dogs with nasal tumors is between 25 and 50% for the first two years following diagnosis. 

A study, “Clinical Outcome in Dogs with Nasal Tumors Treated with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy,” published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal in 2010, reports that the 1-year survival rate is 50%, and the 2-year survival rate is 25%. 

The treatment promptness and staging of the cancer influence the survival rate. Nasal cancer does not spread quickly but causes severe local damage. The extent of the locally invasive tumor’s growth affects the survival rate. 

Do Dogs with Nasal Tumor need to be Euthanized?

No, dogs with nasal tumors do not need to be euthanized. Aggressive treatment and adequate supportive care manage the symptoms and prolong the dog’s life. 

Euthanasia is considered the moment the dog’s life quality declines. Untreated nasal tumors are locally invasive and affect the dog’s overall wellness. 

Signs of end-stage nasal cancer in dogs include anorexia, vomiting, loss of energy, extreme weight loss, difficulty breathing, and non-healing wounds and skin lesions. 

How long does it take for Dogs with Nasal Cancer to Heal?

Dogs with nasal cancer do not heal. Nasal cancer types in dogs are incurable. Radiation and supportive treatment improve the symptoms within two to three weeks, but the benefits are temporary. 

Relapses are common in dogs with nasal cancer. The main aspects of nasal cancer recovery are pain control and secondary infection prevention. 

Do Dogs Die with Nasal Tumor?

Yes, dogs die with nasal tumors. Tumors of the dog’s nose are usually malignant and require aggressive treatment. 

Dogs with untreated nasal tumors die within three to five months of manifestation. Treatment prolongs the dog’s lifespan but does not cure cancer. Nasal tumors have high recurrence rates and are fatal.   

How to Prevent Nasal Tumor in Dogs?

There is no definitive way to prevent nasal tumors in dogs due to the mix of genetic and environmental factors. Minimize exposure to environmental pollutants and manage allergies to reduce the risk of nasal tumors in dogs. 

Traffic and urban pollution are difficult to prevent, but cigarette smoke is avoidable. Do not smoke inside the house if living with a pet. 

Control dog allergies promptly to control chronic nasal inflammation as the key factor in tumor development. 

Regular use of CBD is linked to reduced cancer risk. CBD for pets contains hemp, which has anti-tumor properties. The natural hemp extract kills cancer cells, prevents metastasis, and boosts immunity. 

What is the Prognosis for Nasal Tumors in Dogs?

The prognosis for nasal tumors in dogs is guarded. Untreated cases of nasal tumors are fatal, and dogs die within three to five months. 

Aggressive radiation treatment extends the dog’s lifespan for 12 to 18 months. Medications help support quality of life. The medications used depend on the dog’s symptoms. 

Antibiotics, antihistamines, and steroids help control nasal discharge. Appetite stimulants promote food intake in the advanced stages of the disease. 

Nasal tumors in dogs are incurable, and the treatment goal is lifespan extension and quality of life support. Symptom recurrence is common in dogs with nasal tumors harming the prognosis.