What is Nose Cancer (Chondrasarcoma)?
Nose cancer, or chondrosarcoma, in dogs is one type of cancer that is found in the nose of canines. Although rare, chondrosarcoma of the nose is found to occur in large breeds more so than others. These carcinomas are quite aggressive, and if metastasis should occur, it usually spreads into the lymph nodes or lungs.
This type of cancer is a result of transformed cells; that is, derived from transformed cells that create cartilage. Chondrosarcomas are tumors of soft tissue, such as cartilage, and also the bones. Chondrosarcomas make up one-third of cancers of the skeletal system. The nasal cavity is at a very high risk of developing this type of cancer. The turbinates are affected by the tumor and it generally can grow and fill the sinuses, soft tissues, and the bones. It does have a low rate of metastasis at approximately twenty-percent of cases.
Nose cancer, or chondrosarcoma, in dogs is the result of a cancerous tumor within the nose or nasal cavity of the dog. It is a rare and aggressive, yet treatable cancer in some cases.
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Symptoms of Nose Cancer (Chondrasarcoma) in Dogs
The symptoms of nasal tumors in dogs are very specific. A veterinarian visit is needed as soon as symptoms are noticed. Symptoms include:
- Nasal discharge with blood
- Mucous-filled nasal discharge
- Deformity of the face as tumor expands
- Eye discharge
There are other conditions that present the same clinical signs as chondrosarcoma, and at first, the owner may feel as if the dog may be affected by these conditions. Similar symptoms can occur in:
- Fungal infections of the sinuses
- Bacterial infections of the nose and sinus area
- Severe allergies and rhinitis (beginning symptoms)
Causes of Nose Cancer (Chondrasarcoma) in Dogs
The exact cause is unknown; however, research shows that dogs may be predisposed if they are a larger and long-nosed breed. Causes may include:
- Exposure to tobacco smoke
- Polluted environments
- Large-city living
Diagnosis of Nose Cancer (Chondrasarcoma) in Dogs
If you notice any of the symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with the veterinarian. He will ask questions about the dog’s history, the onset of symptoms, and any behavioral symptoms or changes. He will perform a urinalysis, complete blood count, and he may order a biochemistry profile. The veterinarian will also perform radiography of the nasal fossa, or cavity. The medical professional will want to perform a biopsy; however, he will need to do a complete blood test to be sure the dog’s blood will clot in order for the biopsy to be successful.
A computer tomography, or CT scan will be given right before the biopsy is taken. This will allow the veterinarian to get a more accurate and detailed look at the tumor. Also, a bone scan may be conducted. Once the veterinarian gets a definitive result of chondrosarcoma in dogs, the treatment options will be considered and discussed with you.
Treatment of Nose Cancer (Chondrasarcoma) in Dogs
Treatment needs to be started as soon as possible to raise the percentage of survival. Without any treatment, dogs diagnosed with nasal chondrosarcoma live a little longer than other dogs with different cancers, but it is imperative to begin treatment. Types of treatment include:
Surgery may be performed to remove part or the entire tumor, depending on the location of the tumor and if it is operable.
Radiation therapy is an effective method of treatment for nose cancer of this type; however it does depend on the stage of the cancer and the age of the dog. Your loved one will need to have daily radiation treatments for approximately one month. With this type of treatment for nose cancer (chondrosarcoma), the average lifespan of your canine is anywhere from eight months to a year and a half. However, with a computerized plan of treatment using computerized tomography, the life span can be longer. Still being researched is a method of radiation and then a surgical procedure to remove any tissue of tumor left over after the therapy, which can increase the lifespan by over double, but there may be mild to severe side effects later on.
When chemotherapy is used in addition to radiation it can help extend life spans in some cases. There are various chemotherapy drugs that can be used alone or in conjunction with one another.
Recovery of Nose Cancer (Chondrasarcoma) in Dogs
This is a rare form of cancer, and unfortunately many dogs do succumb to the disease in time. Life span with this cancer depends on the dog’s overall health, age, and the stage of the cancer. The rate of survival can be anywhere from a few months to a few years; again, it depends on the specific case.
Once your dog is home and receiving any treatment, it is important to follow the advice and instructions of the veterinarian. Any medications need to be given accurately and regularly, along with a lot of tender loving care. It is important to be prepared for any side effects of the treatment. This will be discussed with you by your medical professional. Being aware of what could potentially happen in terms of side effects will prepare you to remain positive and focused on your loved one.