What is Pink Growths in the Nose?
These pink nasal growths are commonly found in young cats, no more than two years old. A nasal or nasopharyngeal polyp, might first be indicated by snoring or difficulty breathing during physical activity. As the masses grow, the feline begins developing similar symptom to feline respiratory disease and are often falsely diagnosed. Nasal or nasopharyngeal polyps are often found after antibiotic treatments for respiratory disease have proven ineffective.
Pink growths in the nose in cats are noncancerous masses that impact a feline’s respiratory system. Veterinarians use two terms to describe pink growths in the nose of cats: nasal polyps and nasopharyngeal polyps. Pinks growths that arise from the moist mucous membranes inside the nose and nowhere else are referred to as nasal polyps. However, if the growth spreads from the nasal cavity to the soft palate, middle ear, or back of the throat, the growth is called a nasopharyngeal polyp.
Symptoms of Pink Growths in the Nose in Cats
Common Symptoms of nasopharyngeal polyps include:
- Difficulty breathing
- The meow may change, becoming deeper or more quiet
- Noisy breathing
- Nasal discharge
- Head tilt
- Head shaking
- Balance problems
- Ear scratching
- Nystagmus (eyes moving involuntarily)
- Odor from the ear
- Ear infection
- Swallowing difficulties
- Refusal to eat or drink
- Weight loss
In severe cases, nasopharyngeal polyps can cause symptoms associated with Horner’s Syndrome. The eye’s pupil will appear small, the third eyelid will protrude, the eye itself may look sunken the socket, and the eyelid may droop down, covering a portion of the eyeball.
Symptoms of nasal polyps include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion
- Disinterest in food due to lack of smell
- Breathing through the mouth
Causes of Pink Growths in the Nose in Cats
Veterinary experts are in disagreement as to the specific cause of pink growths in the nose in cats.
Some veterinarians believe that nasal and nasopharyngeal polyps are a hereditary, genetic mutation that was passed down from parent to offspring, present at the time of birth. The theory is based on the connection between regular tumor growth and polyp growth. It is a known fact that tumors, especially cancerous tumors, are often found in the same bloodline and genetic makeup.
Other veterinarians believe nasal and nasopharyngeal polyps to be a secondary response to a respiratory virus, causing inflammatory changes to the feline’s cells. Common viruses believed to be associated with these growths include calicivirus and herpesvirus, as cats that recovered from these respiratory distresses developed a polyp soon after.
Diagnosis of Pink Growths in the Nose in Cats
Your veterinarian may begin the diagnostic process with an examination of the feline’s mouth, nose, and ears through the use of an otoscope. However, the soft palate often hides pink growths and an accurate diagnosis will need a more advanced diagnostic tool like an x-ray of the skull or CT scan. Your cat will likely be anesthetized for the entire exam to keep her calm, reduce stress, and allow for a thorough examination.
The veterinarian will also take time to discuss your cat’s medical history, focusing on respiratory infections and previously acquired viral infections. Routine blood work, such as a complete blood count and biochemistry profile, will likely be taken to ensure your cat’s organs are functional before administering anesthesia.
Treatment of Pink Growths in the Nose in Cats
The treatment option for pink growths in the nose in cats is surgery. Due to the location of these polyps, the entire mass cannot be removed, so a processes called “de-bulking” takes place. De-bulking surgery means that the veterinarian will surgically remove as much of the mass as possible, leaving the base of the mass. Veterinarians use this type of surgery to prevent potential damage to nerves, auditory organs, and openings in the respiratory structures.
The de-bulking surgery is not a cure for these polyps, and another surgery is often needed. Your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs to slow the potential growth, giving your cat more time in-between surgeries.
Recovery of Pink Growths in the Nose in Cats
Although recurrence of pink growths in the nose of cats is common, most cats do very well after surgery and their quality of life is good. If your cat experiences several recurrences through its life or if the growth is severe, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary surgeon who specialized in respiratory growths. There is no known cure for pink growths in the nose of cats, but veterinary treatment can improve the quality of life for your cat.