Dog Sinus Infection Treatment with Itraconazole

Itraconazole is a drug used to treat fungal infections which are confined to small areas of the body, such as the toenails, sinuses or even in the respiratory system. This medication is particularly effective against aspergillosis, a fungal infection of the nose and sinuses of dogs. Aspergillus is a common fungus that most dogs will come into contact with at some point in their lives. Aspergillosis can affect dogs of any age or health condition, but is more frequently seen in those that have weakened immune systems, suffer from chronic sinus infections, have been on prolonged antibiotic therapy, have diabetes or are undergoing chemotherapy. Itraconazole helps to fight sinus infection caused by the aspergillus fungus by preventing it from producing important membranes necessary for growth, thus relieving the symptoms of the infection.


When a dog inhales aspergillus spores, they go into the nasal passages and stay there. If they're not fought by the immune system, they will begin to grow and may cause a sinus infection. Dogs with longer noses are more susceptible to this infection, as are younger dogs or dogs fighting other health issues. Infection can range from a mild irritation of the mucous membrane to a severe and rapid destruction of the bony passages in the sinuses.

Symptoms of Dog Sinus Infection

A dog sinus infection can cause many symptoms. When caused by a fungus, like aspergillus, you may notice nose bleeds along with unstoppable clear or cloudy discharge from the nostrils. Sinus infections will usually cause pain in the nose or facial area, and may lead to ulcerations on the outer portion of the nose. Aspergillosis can be diagnosed from swabs taken of the nasal area. Even more effective methods of detection include biopsy or blood tests, as aspergillus spores may be present at any given time, but not severely enough to be causing problems.


Itraconazole, branded as Sporanox, is an antifungal medication that works by interfering with the normal function of fungal cells. This drug is available by prescription only, and is used off-label for fungal infections in dogs. Available in capsule form, itraconazole may be prescribed for several weeks, depending upon the severity of the infection, and any side effects that the dog may experience.

Side Effects of Itraconazole

Itraconazole is a fairly safe medication, but side effects are always possible when taking drugs of any kind. Dogs that have a known sensitivity or allergy to these types of medication should be given an alternate remedy. This medication may react adversely with antacids or certain antibiotics. Side effects of itraconazole may include vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite. A rare, but more serious side effect of this drug affects the liver. Reports have been made that long-term use of this medication may cause hepatitis or other liver problems. If your dog begins to experience jaundice, seen as a yellowing of the skin and eyes, this may be a sign that the liver is being adversely affected.