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What are Nose Tumors?

Nose tumors in dogs are not very common; they account for 1% of all tumors in dogs.  Nose tumors are more common in older dogs over 10 years of age.  Medium and large dog breeds with long noses seem to be more predisposed to develop nose tumors. The exact reason why long nose dogs develop tumors, more often than short nose dogs is uncertain.  Some researchers believe that the reason maybe, that there is more area within the nasal cavity being exposed to inhaled carcinogens. If your dog is showing symptoms of nose tumors he should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

A tumor is a mass of tissue, which occurs when cells multiply and grow abnormally. The new abnormal growth of tissue grows faster than the normal tissue and forms a mass. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Unfortunately, 2/3 of nose tumors in dogs are malignant.

Symptoms of Nose Tumors in Dogs

Symptoms may include:

  • Bloody nasal discharge
  • Facial deformity
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Harsh, difficult breathing
  • Nose bleeds
  • Mucus from the nose
  • Sneezing with drops of blood
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of smell
  • Depression
  • Dog paws at his face
  • Discharge coming from the eyes
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Eye protrusion
  • If tumor is close to the brain, seizures may occur

Types

  • Carcinomas - The most common nasal tumor in dogs; this type of cancer occurs in the epithelial tissue

  • Sarcoma - Malignant tumor of non-epithelial tissue
  • Adenocarcinoma - Malignant tumor formed from glandular structures

  • Squamous cell carcinoma - Cancer that develops in the cells of the outer layer of skin
  • Benign tumors - Non-cancerous tumors

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Causes of Nose Tumors in Dogs

Tumors are caused by the growth of abnormal cells.  Why the cells may grow faster than normal tissue may be triggered by:

  • Pollution from industrial factories
  • Living in a busy urban area - increased air pollution

  • Second-hand smoke
  • Genetics
  • Repeated breathing of carcinogens. 
  • Preservatives, chemicals and dyes in the diet.
  • Exposure to insecticides
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Diagnosis of Nose Tumors in Dogs

The veterinarian will want to go over your companion’s medical history. During the consultation, he will want to know what symptoms you have observed and when they began.  The veterinarian will then perform a physical examination which may include taking the patient’s vitals (temperature, pulse, blood pressure and breathing rate).  The vet will want to look at the color of your dog’s gums and check inside his mouth. The veterinarian may gently palpate your dog’s facial area, muzzle, and nose.  If your dog has a nasal discharge the doctor may take a mucus sample to be examined under a microscope. The mucus sample may show abnormal cells. The veterinarian may suggest a complete blood test and a chemistry panel test. The complete blood count will determine the platelet, white and red blood cell count.  The chemistry panel test uses serum to check organ function in the body. 

It will be beneficial to have x-rays taken of the dog’s skull.  Additionally, if needed, the doctor may schedule a computed tomography (CT scan) appointment for the patient.  A CT scan will provide more detailed images of the soft tissue and can also help determine if the tumor has extended into the brain.   Your dog will need general anesthesia for the procedure. While under sedation, a biopsy may also be taken using the CT scan image to guide the biopsy needle. The needle is inserted into the tumor to retrieve tissue cells. The sample is then sent to a pathologist who will examine the biopsy for cancer cells.

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Treatment of Nose Tumors in Dogs

If your dog is diagnosed with cancer he may be referred to a veterinary oncologist. The oncologist will review the medical findings, examine the patient and then determine what the best medical options are..  Usually the mass is surgically removed, and then the patient may be started on radiation and chemotherapy medications. Typically, radiation therapy is performed daily over a 3 to 4 week period of time. There can be side effects to radiation and chemotherapy such as hair loss, inflamed skin, dry eyes, shedding of skin, nausea and lack of appetite. Your canine may be prescribed a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as piroxicam.   Antibiotics, pain medication and anti-nausea medication may also be prescribed.

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Recovery of Nose Tumors in Dogs

The recovery prognosis of nose tumors is guarded. Canines who undergo treatment may have extended life for a few more years.  Dogs that receive no treatment may only have months to live.

Owners of dogs who undergo surgery will be provided with post-operative instructions. Dogs receiving radiation and/or chemotherapy will need a lot of love, care and patience. If your dog is not eating, a temporary feeding tube may be inserted   Follow up visits will be necessary to monitor his progress.

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Nose Tumors Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Australian Shepherd

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bumps On Nose, Swollen Nostril

Has grown three bumps on his nose, not painful, also has swollen nostril

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question . That may be a bacterial infection, a fungal infection, or a growth of some kind. If the antibiotics that he is on are not helping and it is not improving, it would be best to let your veterinarian know that things are not getting better, and possible have a recheck with them. They will be able to see the lesions in more detail and let you know what treatments may be needed. I hope that he is back to normal soon!

Aug. 1, 2020

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Mixed

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bump Below Nose

This bump doesn’t look like a wart but what could it look it. I just noticed it today. No other symptoms noticed besides pawing at the face a lot

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. It could be a cyst, but the only way to know exactly what a growth is is to take a fine needle aspirate and look at the cells under a microscope. 80% of cutaneous gross are benign and about 20% are malignant. It would be best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so that they can evaluate the growth more closely and perform a fine needle aspirate.

July 26, 2020

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Mix

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Growth On Nose

Discovered a growth on the nose, not sure when it occurred

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If the growth is new, and you just noticed it, it would probably be a good idea to have it checked out by your veterinarian. If it is not growing, you may have some time and can book an appointment at your leisure. If it is a fast-growing lump, and it's changing quickly, then it would be best to have your dog seen sooner rather than later. Your veterinarian will be able to examine your dog, see what the lump might be, and give you an idea as to what treatment might be needed. I hope that everything goes well for your dog.

July 25, 2020

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Pierre

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Miniature Pinscher

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pain

My 11-year-old miniature pincher has a bony bump underneath his eye that I noticed over a year ago. I sought treatment from the vet and when she examined him she thought he probably had an abscess tooth so he had his teeth cleaned however she didn’t find any correlation between the bump and his teeth. My dogs always love to have his face scratched in the last couple days he’s been avoiding having me touch it, the bump looks a little bit bigger, and he’s not really into his chew treats like pig ears anymore, and then this morning a rock patch very small at the tip of his nose popped up. I have an appointment with the vet on the 17th and my dog has some of the other symptoms of cancer, so my question is is nose cancer Always really quickly to present itself or Kennett slow grow overtime like his pump has been doing or they probably two unrelated issues? What else could cause a hard bony mass?

Sept. 15, 2018

Pierre's Owner

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macey

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Australian Shepherd

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Five Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Stuffy Nose
Running Nose
Sneezing,

my dog has been sneezing and had a stuffy nose for a little bit. Then the other night she got a bloody nose and when I woke up the next day there was a bump on top of her nose between her eyes. Any Idea of what this could be?

July 1, 2018

macey's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Macey may have a bacterial or fungal infection, a foreign body in her nose, or a growth of some kind. Since it seems to be progressing, it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian to see what might be going on with her.

July 1, 2018

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Sven

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Dachshund

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6 Months

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

My 6 month old Dachshund is growing a hard, bone-like lump on the bridge of his nose. It doesn’t seem to hurt him when I touch it but I’m extremely worried. He doesn't seem to have any symptoms so I’m wondering what the lump could be.

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Gryphon

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Bernese Mountain Dog

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Depression
Lack Of Appetite
Dryness Of Nose

Noticed a small growth inside Gryphon's right nostril. At first glance it looked like a tick. It is probably the size of a pea or blueberry and has a greyish colour to it. Only noticed it recently, so I am not sure how rapidly it is growing. Worried about it impeding his ability to breathe. Have noticed a change in his happy go lucky personality lately.

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