Signs and Symptoms of Nasal Cancer in Dogs and Cats
If your pet displays these signs or symptoms of nasal cancer, have your pet examined by your primary care veterinarian as soon as possible.
Nasal discharge is the most common clinical sign of a nasal tumor. The discharge may contain mucous, pus, and blood. Dogs and cats are quick to lick their noses, so close attention to your pet is necessary when you first notice a runny nose. Also, check their bedding and blankets for nasal discharge.
Along with a runny nose, excessive sneezing is another common sign. Unfortunately because sneezing is also a common sign of allergies and infections in the upper respiratory tract, your veterinarian may treat your pet with medication for a different condition—especially if the nasal cancer is in the early stages. The medication may alleviate the sneezing temporarily but it will eventually return. If you notice your pet sneezing even after medication, don’t hesitate to notify your veterinarian.
If your dog has always been a quiet sleeper and begins to snore loudly, it may be a sign of a tumor blocking the nasal airways. When awake, the symptom can be recognized by noisy breathing or shortness of breath.
A bloody nose is never okay. Causes can be from trauma to the nose, allergies, upper respiratory infection, bacterial infection, dental problems, or a possible tumor. As the cancer advances, bloody noses can become more frequent.
Rubbing or pawing at face
As the tumor grows, your pet may show signs of discomfort. They may rub their face on the ground, your leg, or other surfaces. They may also paw at their face constantly.
As the nasal tumor spreads and grows, it can push against the facial muscles and bones, creating a deformity. You may notice a general swelling of the face or that the face is no longer symmetrical. The nose can become misshapen. The tumor can also push into the ocular area, causing an abnormal bulge of the eyes as well as cause discharge from the eyes.
As mentioned previously, nasal cancer can extend into the cranial vault. As the tumor begins to invade the brain, your pet may exhibit neurological signs, like seizures or behavioral changes. Facial deformity, seizures, and frequent nosebleeds indicate that the nasal cancer is no longer in the early stages, and the animal should be taken to a veterinarian for testing as soon as possible.
While the above are some of the common signs of a nasal tumor, there are other signs of the cancer that don’t include the face. For example, weight loss, weight gain, a persistent cough, and wounds that won’t heal are also signs of cancer. Read our “Top 10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Your Pet” article for more information.
Diagnosis and Staging
Diagnostic tests for nasal cancer can include one or more of the following:
- Physical examination for facial symmetry
- Checking for obstruction of air flow in each nasal opening
- Blood work
- Tissue biopsy
- Fine needle aspiration
- Nasal and/or nasal radiographs
- CT scan