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What is Nose and Sinus Cancer?

Nose and sinus cancers are considered fairly rare in cats and other companion animals. Cats are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer than dogs. Symptoms may be very similar to a respiratory infection and may not appear severe until cancer has entered a late stage. Any animal exhibiting signs of nose and sinus cancer should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Nose and sinus cancer is a condition in which abnormal cell growth occurs in the nasal cavity, sinus passages, or surrounding tissues. Cancer cells can be malignant and have the potential to spread, or they may be benign. In either case, medical intervention is often necessary to remove and properly treat the tumor. Although most nose and sinus cancers found in cats are malignant, they are less likely to spread than cancer found in other parts of the body. The most likely location for nose and sinus cancer to spread is to the brain or lymph nodes.

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Nose and Sinus Cancer Average Cost

From 336 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,500

Symptoms of Nose and Sinus Cancer in Cats

When cancerous cells or tumors are present in the nasal cavities or sinus passages, the symptoms often mimic those of a respiratory infection. Common early symptoms will include nasal stuffiness, runny nose, and sneezing, which can all be linked to many common and minor illnesses. As the cancer progresses and the cells spread or grow, the severity of the symptoms will increase, making them more obvious. Symptoms can affect the nose, sinuses, eyes, face, and brain. 

Symptoms include:

  • Runny nose or nasal discharge
  • Nosebleeds
  • Watery eyes or ocular discharge
  • Sneezing or snorting
  • Snoring
  • Bad breath
  • Bulging eyes
  • Vision problems or vision loss
  • Nasal or facial swelling or deformity
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Loud breathing
  • Mouth breathing or panting
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapse or fainting
  • Facial pain and related vocalizations
  • Behavior changes
  • Circling, difficulty walking, or confusion
  • Seizures 

Types

There are various types of cancer that can be found in the nose and sinuses. For cats, lymphomas and carcinomas are the most common forms of nasal or sinus cancer. Sinus and nose cancers tend to be malignant. Types of nose and sinus cancer found in cats include:

  • Adenoma
  • Basal cell tumor 
  • Carcinoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Fibroma
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Meningioma
  • Plasmacytoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Squamous cell tumor
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Causes of Nose and Sinus Cancer in Cats

Like many cancers occurring in cats and other companion animals, the exact cause of nose and sinus cancer is unknown. Cancer occurs due to abnormal cell growth, and nose and sinus cancer is no different. It can be caused by skin, lymphatic, bone, or other types of cells. Risk factors that may increase the likelihood of sinus or nose cancer in cats include:

  • Age – more likely to develop in older cats
  • Sex – male cats are affected almost twice as often
  • Urban dwelling
  • Exposure to pollutants
  • Exposure to certain chemicals or poisons
  • Chronic or frequent infections
  • Living in a home with a smoker
  • Presence of cancer elsewhere in the body
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Diagnosis of Nose and Sinus Cancer in Cats

Early diagnosis has been shown to improve survival rates, but the similarities between the symptoms of nose and sinus cancer and other infections can delay diagnosis. Be prepared to discuss your cat’s full medical history, any symptoms you have observed, and the timeline and frequency of those symptoms. If symptoms have been ongoing, this is often a sign that a more serious issue could be the cause. Your veterinarian will conduct a full physical exam and take samples of blood, urine, and any nasal or ocular discharge. Cultures to search for infections will be completed on these samples in addition to standard laboratory testing. 

A urinalysis and blood analysis for complete blood count, biochemistry profile, electrolyte panel, and clotting ability are also standard. If cancer is suspected, diagnostic imaging techniques will generally be used to confirm the diagnosis. X-rays of the chest, head, and face will help identify tumors or suspicious cells. More in-depth imaging may also be used, including CT scans or rhinoscopy, in which the nasal passages or viewed from the inside with a tool called an endoscope. Exploratory surgery or tissue biopsy may also be used to verify the type of cancer and determine if it is malignant or benign. 

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Treatment of Nose and Sinus Cancer in Cats

The veterinary recommendation for treatment will vary depending on the type, location, size, and spread of the cancer. In some cases, treatment may not be an option, and the prognosis will be poor. It is quite common for nose and sinus cancer to require a multi-pronged treatment approach, as a combination of methods has been shown to be more effective than any single treatment option. Some common therapies for nose and sinus cancer in cats include:

Surgical Intervention

Surgery to remove the tumor may be required. This treatment method is fairly effective on its own but is often combined with other treatments to ensure all the cancerous cells are removed or destroyed. Surgical intervention carries a moderate risk of complications or side effects. Your pet will require hospitalization post-surgery for observation during recovery. 

Radiation Therapy 

Treatment with radiation is the most common and effective method for treating nose and sinus cancer. Radiation therapy is often combined with surgical treatments to improve the cat’s prognosis. Treatment may last several weeks or months. 

Chemotherapy 

This common cancer treatment in humans is being used more and more frequently for animals. Chemotherapy is also used to target and eradicate cancerous cells and prevent further growth. This therapy may also last several weeks or months. 

Photodynamic Therapy 

A cancer treatment that uses light therapy has shown some effectiveness in some types of nose and sinus cancer but has been less effective with others, including sarcomas. 

Antibiotics 

Your cat may be prescribed antibiotics if a secondary infection is present. This treatment carries a low risk but requires proper dosing to ensure effectiveness and reduce the risk of side effects. 

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Recovery of Nose and Sinus Cancer in Cats

The prognosis for nose and sinus cancer is generally poor to fair. Most cancers of the nasal cavity or sinus passages are malignant, and the possibility of the cancer spreading to the brain increases the mortality rate. During and after treatment your pet will require special care. Nutritious food, fresh water, and litter should be kept nearby as your pet may be weak. Avoid making changes to the living environment and take effort to reduce stress. Your pet will need plenty of love and attention until it is feeling better. Be sure to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions, including those related to dosing of medications and returning for any necessary follow-up visits. 

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Nose and Sinus Cancer Average Cost

From 336 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,500

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Nose and Sinus Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Graycie

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Siamese mix

dog-age-icon

17 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Nasal Discharge

17-yr old female cat...was in a hoarding situation...ended up in a shelter...bad skin allergy with fur loss but better now with fur grown back...had her for 3-yrs and she has continuously gotten worse...symptoms include pus-colored snot, nasal congestion, nose runs crusting over her nostrils, dark-colored eye goop, sneezing about 30+ times in a row, loud breathing, breathes through her mouth, always sleeps with her mouth/nose facing up. Dr’s don’t know what it is (says allergies)...got a shot every 4-6 wks but stopped working...Neo/Polymycin B sulfates and dexamethasone for her nose but doesn’t work. HELP! What can we do for her?

July 20, 2018

Graycie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

If Graycie is having chronic thick discharge like this I would recommend having a culture and sensitivity test done to determine if there is an infection and if there is, which antibiotic is the infection susceptible to. Without examining Graycie thoroughly I cannot start to think of any other possible condition which may be affecting her. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 20, 2018

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Kızım

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tabby

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bloody Nose

Hi, I m in Istanbul-Turkey, & have a lovely lady cat app 12 years old. She newly diagnosed "Nose cancer". Despite the absence of a cancer cell in the palatology test, a mass founded on tomography. Doctors suggest to remove nose together with the bone texture. I am really very confused & sorry, and do need your urgent suggestions.

July 17, 2018

Kızım's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without knowing more about Kizim and the size and specific location of the suspected tumour I cannot give much guidance; if there is a mass (cancerous or not) it may still need to be removed if it is causing an issue with breathing, deforming the skull or causing pain. Speak with your Veterinarian about the CT result and the histopathology and their rationale for surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 17, 2018

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Morgan

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Maine Coon mix

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Sneezing.

My cat had respiratory issues for 4 months. The first round of antibiotics cleared the problem but it was back 2 weeks later. Second and third round of antibiotics did nothing. Xray showed mass in nasal cavity. Right eye started to bulge and then he started sneezing blood. Then all of a sudden respiratory issue clears up (no treatment) and still sneezing but not as much and it's clear. Then he starts scratching ear on the left side and shaking his head. Now the third eyelid on the same side as the ear is swollen.

July 16, 2018

Morgan's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm not sure what your question is for Morgan, but I'm sorry that that is happening to him. If he has a mass in his nasal cavity, it will probably affect both sides, and there will be a point where you will need to decide if he is having any quality of life. I hope that you have him for a while longer.

July 16, 2018

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Charlie

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Orange tabby

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17 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Muscle Atrophy
Eye Discharge
Bloody Nose

Over the past few months and, my cat has had nosebleeds off and on. Some have been bad enough that they drip, and some are minor. He has a constant brown discharge from one nostril that is present and sneezes often. more recently, he has developed consistent eye discharge. He has lost significant weight and muscle mass. I have had him to the vet multiple times. This past time, they put him on clavamox. That seemed to clear him up briefly, but after a week we are back to bloody noses and discharge. His white blood cell count was extremely high, but he has no fever. He's been dehydrated, and has slowly been losing his appetite. The vet is hesitant to do a rhinoscopy (as am I) because he is so unstable. What is the best next course to determine if cancer may be the cause? Will an x-ray give us a good indication? Please help.

July 13, 2018

Charlie's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

An x-ray should be able to show if there is bony loss, and might let you know if there is cancer. Cancer, fungal disease and infection can all eat away at the bones of the nose, and can look very similar on x-ray. If the antibiotics helped, it may be worth continuing those, as they might be keeping the infectious component of whatever is happening under control for Charlie.

July 13, 2018

Thank you! The antibiotics seem to help, but only for a short time. We started with an injection, he cleared up, had another one but it immediately returned. Clavamox has helped to an extent, but we seem to be back on that downward spiral. Thank you for your advice. I'm hoping an x-ray can provide more answers.

July 13, 2018

Charlie's Owner

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Roger

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Feline

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5 Years

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Serious severity

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My cat has been struggling for months. We took him to the vet 2x. She gave him antibiotics the first time and a steroid shot the second time. There seem to be a tumor growing, at first, it was only protruding from one nostril, now, coming out through his eye as well. Massive drainage in “free” nostril and eye. For the last 2 days, he has also spent a lot of time in the cat litter. He is still eating and drinking. He is about 5 years old

July 4, 2018

Roger's Owner


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0 Recommendations

Without examining Roger I cannot really weigh in here, but you should return to your Veterinarian for another examination especially since the severity seems to have gotten much worse; they will make a thorough examination and may take samples for histopathology and/or culture and sensitivity. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 5, 2018

To Rogers family, I know where you are at and how scared you are. Been there and done that. But, Dr. Turner was not attempting to blow you off. We had the same problem with one of our little ones that we lost three years ago to nasal cancer. The doctor kept shooting her up for allergies rather than finding out what the real problem was. By the time we found out, she was terminal. I would suggest contacting a zoo (if one is close by) and see what vet works with them. If no zoo, see if there is a cat specialist in your area. I have found better luck with them rather than a vet that deals with all types of animals. See if there is a state office that regulates vets and ask for help. I know that it sounds like I am reaching for straws but, I would suggest being VERY PRO-Active and Very BLUNT with your vet about your fears. I know that here in Savannah Ga that a lot of vets experiment rather than really doing their job.

July 25, 2018

Fred K.


If I trusted my vet to know what she was doing, I wouldn’t have asked for advice on here

July 5, 2018

Roger's Owner

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Charlie

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tabby

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Raised Black Mass On Nose

Hi, Can you help me please, my cat has a black slightly raised mass on his nose, at first I thought it was dirt because he appeared one day and it was gone, just a wee bit pink from where it had been, then a few days later I noticed it was black again. This has happened three times now , he seems to clean it off then it comes back again . He seems ok otherwise, good appetite, firm stools and a nice shiny coat. He is a rescue cat so is very shy and difficult to examine. There is no nasal discharge or sneezing, just this strange back mass that keeps returning. What can it be?

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Snowy

dog-breed-icon

short hair

dog-age-icon

21 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Watery Eyes
Bloody Nose

My cat Snowy she is a 21 year old female cat she was recently diagnosed with "Bleeding Nasal Tumor" and her tumor started out really small in the left nostril we actually thought one of our other cats clawed the older cat in the nose and that it was just a scratch that was bleeding but it kept getting bigger and bigger so we took her to the vet they have been really good with giving us pain meds for poor snowy we give her a type of morphine + tinic .50 3 times a day keeps her comfortable. It's one of the hardest things i have ever had to go through since she is my best friend and has always been there for me and my girlfriend. I want to keep her alive as long as she is loving on us purring and is happy but she also has bad days that we come together and plan when to put her to sleep but then the next day she starts acting better no time is ever the right time it's just hard to figure out when to put the girl down. I will update this post when we end up getting her put down. Thanks for reading

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Lucy

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Circling
Lethargy
Sneezing
Seizure
Falling Over

Lucy, our 13 Year old calico has had some issues, which we initially thought may be a brain tumor, but now she suddenly started having sneezing fits. Initial issues occurred around 3 weeks ago, when we noticed she was tripping over her back legs, almost losing balance. She was also falling over when scratching. We did full blood work, urine work, and found nothing out of ordinary. We gave her fluids, some b-12, and appetite pills. She stayed the same for a few days. She started to seem to get worse, with the confusion and falling late at night. We also noticed some tremors, small head shakes when she was between awake & asleep, or purring and happy. She has also started shaking in her sleep a little, which she did prior to these events, but it seemed it was more common. We brought her to a cat specialist, who did an evaluation and recommended a steroid and antibiotic treatment - to at least check off infection or swelling off the list. This seemed to help her appetite, but didn't help much in her condition. I can say, she has gotten somewhat stable in her symptoms. A few days ago, she started sneezing occasionally. She started to sneeze even more recently, until today she is having fits that can be 5-8 sneezes in a row, followed by vigorous cleaning of her nose. I'm not sure if it's a brain tumor that has expanded into her nose, or it was a nasal issue alone. Would an X-Ray of that region be the next best bet? Our concern is that the prognosis for tumor's is not good, even with treatment. Is there any other causes that are treatable, that would lead to a regular length of life for her?

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Ollie

dog-breed-icon

British Short Haired

dog-age-icon

15 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Carcinoma Cancer
Nasal Cancer

Following a CT Scan and Biopsy a month ago, it’s been confirmed Ollie has a Malignant Carcinoma Cancer. I guess I’m writing here to share his symptoms to help guide others. Sneezing, mucus and on a bad day, nose bleeds. The pressure of the tumour had also made one of his eyes close up. He struggled to eat due to breathing difficulties, but that said, he ate well, little and often but couldn’t maintain his weight. He’s also been on Steroids and an anti inflammatory for 6 months. Since it has been confirmed that it is nasal cancer I’ve done some research on how to make whatever remaining time he has left comfortable for him. Radiotherapy was an option, however, I didn’t want to put him through it. Two weeks ago I changed his diet. I’ve learnt that he needs high protein, low carbs and quality fat because the carbs feed the cancer but it struggles to use fat as an energy source. I won’t name the products in case it’s not allowed, but he is also now taking Mushroom Complex and Immune Balance as well as the Steriods and anti inflammatory. Within 2 weeks of me doing the above, he has gained weight (still little and often meals) and also his eye has started to open. His nose isn’t as runny as it was and the sneezing has eased. He is also starting to venture back into the garden for some fresh air. It’s all now basically down to ensuring quality of life for Ollie and I believe we’re succeeding.

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Biz

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domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Congested, Nose Bleeds, Sneezing, E

Two months ago I took my 6 year old cat to the vet for sneezing, bloody discharge from nose. He was diagnosed with dental problems and put in orbox. A week later I took him in for dental work but because of the amount of discharge from nose, they wanted to do other tests. They stayed and did blood work. Called the next day and said blood work looked good but they found a mass of polup. A week later they sent me to an animal hospital 2 hours away to have it removed. They did more seats and scoped his nose and throat. Found nothing. Ran cultures for three days. Said he had 3 types of bacterial infections and put him in 2 antibiotcs. 1 month later they want him off of the antibiotics and because he is no better want to send him for a 2000.00 st scan. He now has one eye that looks like it is protruding. They now think he has a tumor. I have lost faith in all of this and have put him in water soluble cb d oil.

Nose and Sinus Cancer Average Cost

From 336 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,500

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