Canine Sinus Cancer

Sinus cancer in dogs can be either nasal or paranasal; tumors occur in the nose, nasal cavity and sinuses. These tumors grow slowly but are progressive and may spread to other parts of the body.

Causes and Types of Nasal Tumors in Dogs

Vets don't know what causes dog nasal cancer. The tumors occur most often in dogs middle aged or older, though they can occur in dogs of all ages. There are two types of nasal tumors that occur most commonly: paranasal sinus fibrosarcomas, and paranasal sinus chondrosarcomas. Chondrosarcomas are most likely to occur in younger animals.

Symptoms of Dog Nasal Tumors

Dogs with nasal tumors will exhibit excessive nasal discharge. They may bleed from the nose. Other symptoms of nasal tumors include sneezing excessively, watering eyes, halitosis and loss of appetite. Dogs with highly advanced sinus cancer may experience facial deformity and their eyes may begin to bulge. If the cancer has affected their brain, they may experience seizures.

Diagnosing Dog Nasal Tumors

There are a number of other conditions that may cause some of the symptoms of dog sinus tumors, like sneezing, discharge and watering eyes. Your vet will want to rule out alternative causes before testing for sinus cancer. Your dog may have a foreign object, such as a piece of plant matter, stuck in his nostril. He may have an infection in the roots of his upper teeth, or he could have a fungal or bacterial infection of the nasal cavity and sinuses.

In order to diagnose nasal cancer, your vet will perform blood and tissue tests. He'll perform a urinalysis and a biochemical profile. He may perform CT scans, and, if he finds a tumor in your dog's nasal cavity, he'll certainly biopsy it. A biopsy can help your vet determine if the tumor in your dog's nose is cancerous or benign (non-cancerous).

Treating Dog Sinus Cancer

If your dog is diagnosed with sinus cancer, the prognosis will most likely be poor. If the tumor is accessible to your veterinary surgeon, then he will perform surgery to remove it. However, surgery to remove tumors of the nasal cavity and sinuses is difficult, due to the incredibly complex nature of these structures in your dog's body.

If your dog is diagnosed with nasal cancer, your vet will recommend treatment with a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, whether or not your dog undergoes surgery. While chemotherapy is not the most effective treatment for this type of cancer, there is a chance that radiation therapy could reduce the size of the tumor.

Your vet will probably prescribe antibiotics to stave off secondary fungal, bacterial or viral infection. If your dog's condition is too far advanced to benefit from treatment, or if treatment doesn't help reduce or eliminate nasal tumors, your vet will prescribe anti-inflammatories and other pain medication to help ease your dog's symptoms as the disease runs its course. Nasal cancers are progressive and difficult to treat. Most dogs with this disease must ultimately be euthanized.