Canine Rhinitis Symptoms

Dogs develop multiple types of respiratory infections, and rhinitis symptoms can be easily recognized. Rhinitis is an infection that affects mostly the nasal cavity and the sinuses of the pet. The infection can affect dogs of any breed, but is more often seen in dogs with long noses. 

Causes of Rhinitis

The causes of rhinitis can determine the type of symptoms the dog manifests. The infection of the mucosa of the nasal cavity can be caused by:

  • Viruses
  • Fungi
  • Bacteria
  • External parasites
  • Foreign bodies lodged in the nasal cavity
  • Tumors in the nose
  • Allergies
  • Dental or gum problems
  • Polyps
  • Oronasal fistulas
  • Immune system diseases

Each of these causes can lead to additional symptoms or some specific symptoms that can help the vet identify the problem.

Symptoms of Rhinitis

Generally speaking, rhinitis will cause symptoms such as:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Frequent touching of the facial area
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Bad breath or halitosis

There are also a few specific symptoms that will be determined by the underlying cause of rhinitis. These symptoms may include:

  • Frequent bleeding, especially if the dog has a polyp or a tumor.
  • Ocular discharges, which can accompany the nasal discharges and may vary in color and consistency. It is important to identify the color and consistency of the nasal and ocular secretions, as these can indicate the source of the infection. A pinkish discharge points to fungi infecting the nasal passages, while green and yellowish discharges are indicative of viral and bacterial infections. If the discharge is mostly clear, the dog may be affected by allergies.
  • Depigmentation of the nose.

The dog may also suffer from a deformation of the face and you may observe lesions or ulceration around the nose. This can be caused by an immune system problem. If the dog is affected by external parasites, you will find that he scratches his skin, especially the facial area, and hair loss is not uncommon.

Treatment for Rhinitis

The treatment for dogs with rhinitis can vary according to the cause of the infection.

Most commonly, the dog will receive antibiotics or fungicides, as the infections are very frequently caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Once the treatment is started, the symptoms of rhinitis will weaken and should go away within a few days. However, the treatment should be continued until indicated by the vet, to make sure the viruses, bacteria or fungi are totally eliminated. Other types of treatment may contain anti-inflammatory medication, a tooth extraction or even surgery (to extract foreign objects, tumors or polyps).

It also helps to get a humidifier and keep the dog in an environment that is not dry. Clean the dog's nose on a regular basis. Steam baths can also clear the nasal passages and help in the recovery process.