Fungal Sinus Infection in Dogs

Aspergillosis is common sinus infection in dogs. Sinus infections in dogs will manifest through cold-like symptoms and nasal discharges. Fungal infections may be problematic to remedy, but if a suitable treatment is prescribed, the infection may be eliminated in a few weeks. If left untreated, the infection can cause permanent damage in the sinuses.

Fungal Sinus Infection Transmission

Fungi are found in the pet's environment and dogs may inhale them, ingest them or they can land on their skin. However, most of the times, these fungi won't cause infections, as the immune system fights them off. In some dogs the fungi may cause infections. Sinus fungal infections are more frequent in dogs with a weaker immune system or in pets that have been under antibiotic medication.

The fungi spores are typically inhaled by the dog and these will cause an infection in the nasal passages and travel to the sinuses as well. Fungal infections may also be transmitted through direct contact with an infected dog or through contact with nasal discharges. Some dog breeds with shorter nasal passages are more prone to being infected.

Symptoms of Fungal Sinus Infections

A fungal sinus infection may have minor effects on the dog, but can also develop into a serious infection that can cause bone damage. The symptoms of a fungal sinus infection will include:

  • Nasal discharges, typically pink or creamy white
  • Nose bleeds
  • Nasal ulcers
  • Sneezing
  • Pawing of the face due to pain and discomfort
  • Damage to the bony sinus passages
  • Lethargy

These symptoms may also point to a tumor or a respiratory infection, so a few tests should be performed.

Diagnosing Sinus Fungal Infections

A sinus fungal infection may be diagnosed through a fungal culture. However, fungi are normally present in the dog's nose, so the test may not give accurate results. A blood test may be performed to determine if there is an infection. If the vet suspects bone damage, x-rays will be performed.

Treatment Options

A fungal sinus infection may be difficult to treat, as the fungi may thrive in a moist and dark environment and the sinuses are a great location for them. The vet will recommend topical ointments and medications. Antifungal creams will be used, together with antifungal drugs (itraconazole or fluconazole). Another course of treatment is through infusions with an antifungal solution. The vet may also recommend emptying the sinuses by applying pressure while the dog is under anesthesia. This may be a successful approach and more than 90% of dogs can be healed. It is important to monitor the dog, as the infection may return or may not be properly treated.

Prevention of Fungal Sinus Infections

Fungal sinus infections may not always be prevented, as the fungi come from the dog's environment. However, if you keep your dog healthy and offer immune system support, you may help him fight infections more efficiently.