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What are Nasal Arteritis?

Inflammation of the artery walls in the nasal area can affect dogs in different ways. This condition, known as nasal arteritis, is a disease characterized by ulcers in the center of the outer nose. Inflamed blood vessels and arteries cause an immune-mediated response which leads to inflammation within the skin and upon the outer skin of the nasal planum. This type of arthritis is proliferative and may cause severe hemorrhage in the nasal area. It can also lead to secondary bacterial infections. 

Typically, this condition occurs in large breed dogs, Standard Schnauzers, Newfoundlands, and St. Bernards. Although these breeds may be predisposed, this condition can occur in any breed.

Dogs that are affected by this have a reddened, inflamed, pus-like, and crusty ulcer on their nose between the nasal openings. This may look raw and painful, and it causes discomfort. What is really being affected is deep underneath this skin, into the arteries of the nasal passages.

Nasal arteritis in dogs is a moderate to severe inflammation of the nasal area. The artery walls are affected, causing bleeding, which can often be severe. It is also characterized by a raw and reddened inflammation on the nasal planum.

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Symptoms of Nasal Arteritis in Dogs

If your dog is showing signs of nasal arteritis, he will exhibit moderate to severe symptoms that will need veterinary attention. Symptoms include:

  • Ulceration on the nasal planum
  • Ulceration may be crusty and infected
  • Rubbing of the nose
  • Bleeding, sometimes severe
  • Anemia

Types

Immune-mediated diseases are prevalent among specific dog breeds. It is important that your veterinarian perform many different tests to rule out other differential diagnoses which have similar symptoms of nasal arteritis. Differential diagnoses include:

  • Bacterial infections, such as nasal pyoderma, leprosy, mucocutaneous infections
  • Fungal infections, such as dermatophytosis, blastomycosis, or sporotrichosis
  • Vitiligo
  • Alopecia
  • Melanoderma
  • Endocrine  or metabolic disorders
  • Trauma, such as sunburn or contact dermatitis

Causes of Nasal Arteritis in Dogs

Nasal arteritis typically results from an immune disorder. Secondary infections may be caused by this condition. Causes may include:

  • Arteries deep within the dermal and beneath the ulcer have high amounts of spindle cells
  • Thickening and narrowing of blood vessels
  • These blood vessels hemorrhage
  • Caused by inflammatory pathways
  • Abnormal immune response to inflammation

Diagnosis of Nasal Arteritis in Dogs

If your dog is showing signs of an ulcer on his nasal philtrum, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Once you arrive at the veterinarian’s appointment, he will begin by listening to you explain his symptoms. Whether there has been bleeding and the severity of the symptoms will be important to  note. The vet will then perform laboratory testing, namely blood work, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile. These baseline tests will check for any underlying disorders your dog may have. He will also review any medications he is taking and his past health history.

The veterinarian will then take a closer look at your dog’s nose. Being knowledgeable of nasal arteritis, he may suspect that this is his condition. However, he will need to take laboratory tests to confirm his suspicion. Microscopic testing of the discharge and crust around your dog’s nasal area will be necessary. The vet will also need to biopsy the nasal area’s specimens in order to come to a conclusion as to your dog’s condition.  If your veterinarian feels there needs to be other testing performed, such as culturing for bacterial and fungal testing or an antinuclear antibody test (for autoimmune disorders), he will suggest these other tests to you. He may suggest several dermatologic examinations in order to rule out any differential diagnoses.

Treatment of Nasal Arteritis in Dogs

If your dog has been diagnosed with nasal arteritis, your veterinarian may recommend the following treatment options. They include:

Medications

There is a variety of effective topical and oral medications to help reduce any information within the nasal artery walls. Steroids such as prednisone may be recommended for quick results. Your veterinarian may then recommend another treatment that is more long-term. Doxycycline and niacinamide are oral medications used to lessen any inflammation due to the immune-mediated response; however, this may take a few months to become effective.

Antibiotics

If your dog has a bacterial infection which is secondary to the nasal arteritis, your veterinarian may recommend topical or oral antibiotics. There are several different antibiotics your medical professional may choose from; he will choose the ideal antibiotic for your dog’s condition.

Anti-inflammatory Ointment

Once your dog is beginning to show marked improvement, and any infection or hemorrhage has been healed, your medical professional may recommend the application of Protopic ointment on a consistent basis.

Recovery of Nasal Arteritis in Dogs

Your dog will need to be on medications for as long as the veterinarian recommends, and it will be very important to keep him on these medications until he is able to be weaned from them. This disease will require you to be very proactive in monitoring and observing your dog. This will help prevent reoccurrences. If this rare disease is properly controlled by you and your veterinarian, your dog should remain healthy and happy.

If you see new symptoms or that the medication is not helping your dog, your veterinarian may recommend surgery to remove the ulcerated tissue. This, however, is rare in only occurs as a last resort. Typically, medical management is all that dogs require; although this may be a lifelong commitment for the health and well-being of your companion.