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Nasal Cancer In Dogs: Facts, Symptoms & Treatment

Nasal Cancer In Dogs

Cancers that originate in the nasal region (primary nasal cancer) are rare in dogs and makeup up 1% of all tumors. Nasal cancers, which form in the lining of the nose, make up 60% of canine nasal tumors. In the remaining 40%, most of the tumors are sarcomas which form in bone, connective tissue, and/or cartilage.

The most prevalent type of nasal tumor in dogs is nasal adenocarcinoma. They can crop up anywhere in a dog’s nasal passage counting the sinus area; however, most commonly they originate from the glandular cells in the sebaceous glands. At the time of diagnosis, the metastatic rate is low (<25%) but approaches 50% in their last days. The most common sites of metastasis are the lungs and regional lymph nodes.

Nasal adenocarcinomas are aggressive locally as the cancer cells are aggressive in the location where the tumor is located. They rarely metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. Nasal tumors can corrode the nearby structures, bony plates, and sometimes into the calvarium or skull cap.

These tumors are more difficult to detect as they are concealed within the nasal cavity. Nasal cancer will be typically at an advanced stage when signs are obvious to the owner and a diagnosis is made. Typically nasal cancer is one of those diseases that never give owners any forewarning that things are going to get quite awful for their dogs. Dogs that have Nasal cancer should be diagnosed properly as they are usually misdiagnosed as other tumors.

Symptoms Of Nasal Cancer

  • Epistaxis (Nosebleeds).
  • Mucopurulent Nasal Discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Facial Deformity
  • Exophthalmos
  • Excessive Ocular Discharge
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath).
  • Stertorous Breathing (noisy, labored breathing).
  • Anorexia
  • Seizures
  • Unwillingness to open the mouth.

Treatment Options For Nasal Cancer

A definitive diagnosis can be done by taking a nasal biopsy to determine the type and severity of the tumor.

Treatment protocol for canine nasal cancer is directed towards controlling the local tumor and tackling the concern for metastasis.

When your dog is diagnosed with nasal cancer your vet may recommend surgical removal, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.

For local control, the most common options implemented are surgery and/or radiation therapy.

  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery: In the traditional sense, this is not surgery as no incision happens in the first place. This is actually a non-surgical radiation therapy that uses a single, highly concentrated dose of ionizing radiation to a small, precise target to dissolve the tumor.
  • Stereotactic Radiation Therapy: This is a comparatively new variant of radiation therapy designed to reduce damage to tissue surrounding nasal tumors. Stereotactic radiation therapy is used when the tumor is located seriously close to crucial organs such as your dog’s brain and eyes. Radiation therapy usually involves three successive daily high doses of radiation therapy at different times. As of now, stereotactic radiation therapy seems to offer similar tumor control to conventional radiation therapy, with median survival times of around 9 months to 2 years.
  • Palladia: Toceranib phosphate is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that can be considered as a sole therapy or together with radiation therapy. A combination of radiation therapy and Palladia were associated with an >75 % response rate and median survival time of >1.5 years.

Home Remedies For Nasal Cancer

Top five home remedies that can be used in anti-cancer treatment:

  • Cannabis Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Turmeric
  • Boswellia Serrata
  • Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Prevention Of Nasal Cancer

Prevention is not possible for Nasal cancers. Treatment and survival rates vary depending on the grade and stage of the neoplasm.

Good overall health and early detection are the only ways to prevent this condition.

Check your dog on a regular basis and consult your veterinarian immediately if you find any facial deformity Nosebleeds or mucopurulent nasal discharge.

Affected Breeds Of Nasal Cancer

Medium Dog Breeds, Large Dog Breeds, Bedlington Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Chihuahua, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever, Maltese, Skye Terrier, Standard Poodle, Springer Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier

Additional Facts For Nasal Cancer

  1. Causes:
  • Genetics
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, and pollutants.
  • Blocked or damaged tubes.
  1. Stages:
  • Stage 1: Turbinate destruction only and unilateral nasal disease.
  • Stage 2: Malignant spread extends outside turbinates, bone involvement includes orbit, nasopharyngeal, submucosal, and subcutaneous extension.
  • Stage 3: Carcinoma metastases and involvement of the cribriform plate.
  • Stage 4: Apparent metastatic disease. The most advanced stage. Cancer has metastasized to distant organs.
  1. Mortality:

Canine nasal tumors have average (median) survival times of 1 - 3 months without treatment. Most affected dogs are euthanized humanely due to the local effects of the primary tumor and poor quality of life.

  1. Diagnosis:
  • Nasal bacterial culture / Rhinoscopy
  • Examination of the nasal passages.
  • Serum biochemistry profile
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound, CT scan
  1. Prognosis:

The canine nasal tumor prognosis for recovery is highly unpredictable and depends on several factors, including the stage, presence of epistaxis, histologic subtype, lymph node or distant metastasis, and response to treatment.

Clinical Stage I Disease: Median survival time is approximately 2 years (radiation therapy treatment).

Clinical Stage II Disease: Median survival time of 15 months.

Dogs with higher clinical stages have the worse prognosis, with reported median survival times < 1 year (2 - 10 months) after treatment.

When To See A Vet

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • Epistaxis (nosebleeds).
  • Mucopurulent Nasal Discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Facial Deformity

Food Suggestions For Nasal Cancer

  1. Protein - Lean chicken or turkey breast, lean beef, and Cooked fish (salmon, tuna).
  2. Add lots of veggies (green leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, especially).
  3. Beta carotene foods - Orange, yellow, and green leafy vegetables and fruits (such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach, lettuce, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, broccoli, etc).
  4. Vitamin C foods - Strawberries, Citrus fruits, Potatoes, Tomatoes.
  5. Antioxidants - Blueberries, Cauliflower, Beets, Beans, etc.
  6. Flavonoids - Blueberries, Blackberries, Cranberries, Eggplant, etc.


When detected early and with appropriate treatments, the dog’s prognosis is usually good. Dog owners should consult with their veterinarian as soon as they notice the symptoms as some conditions can be very serious (and possibly fatal).

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