Nasal tumours in dogs

A nasal tumour is an uncontrolled growth of cells on the nose or in the nasal cavity. The majority of nasal tumours in dogs are malignant and locally invasive, but do not usually spread to other organs. 

Nasal tumours can be an external squamous cell carcinoma or intranasal adenocarcinoma. Intranasal tumour signs can mimic a foreign body in the nose, fungal or bacterial infections, chronic rhinitis, tooth root abscess, or blood clotting disorders. 

What are common nasal tumour signs in dogs?

Early signs include:

  • Crusting on the nose
  • Loud snoring
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge

Intermediate to advanced signs include: 

  • Oozing lesion on the nose
  • Rubbing or pawing at the nose
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Eye discharge
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Facial deformity
  • Disorientation

A crusty nose, or nasal discharge, can be signs of nasal tumour in dogs

How are nasal tumours managed in dogs?  

The first step in nasal tumour management in dogs is addressing pain and any underlying infection. The preferred treatment is radiation therapy, but chemotherapy may be considered. 

Cryotherapy or surgery can be used for an external squamous cell carcinoma. Dogs with nasal tumours need regular veterinary visits to monitor their status and prognosis. 

Discussing a personalised management plan with your veterinarian and a veterinary oncologist is important for the best outcome for your dog.

What is the prognosis for dogs with nasal tumours?

The prognosis depends on the tumour type and how early the cancer was detected. Without treatment, the median survival time for dogs with a nasal tumour ranges from three to five months. 

Complete squamous cell carcinoma excision can be curative. Radiation therapy can extend the median survival time to between 6 to 18 months. 

Management tips for dogs with nasal tumours

At-home needs include:

  • Easy access to food and water, and a comfortable location
  • Consistency with any prescribed medications 
  • Monitoring breathing, nasal appearance and discharge, appetite and energy level
  • Using a cold compress or nasal spray for nosebleeds
  • Avoiding smoking in the house, using an air purifier
  • Keeping your dog with a squamous cell carcinoma out of the sun

For end-of-life care:

In a crisis:

Immediately contact your vet if your dog has uncontrollable bleeding, excessive sneezing, or difficulty breathing; appears disoriented; collapses, or vocalises in pain.

It is vital to begin end-of-life care discussions before your dog‘s condition becomes unmanageable or they begin losing their quality of life. 

The team at Goodbye Good Boy offers individualised support to help you and your family navigate this progressive disease by providing quality-of-life checks, in-home euthanasia, cremation and aftercare services and personalised memorialisation options. Our services can even be pre-paid to help ease the financial burden at the time of your pet’s passing. 

To learn more about our pet end-of-life services, give us a call on 1800 953 619 or visit our website

This article was reproduced with permission from Goodbye Good Boy advisor Dr Dani McVety, of Lap Of Love.