Does Your Pet Have A Nasal Tumor?
You think you just had a nose infection, but then the infection will come back. Cancer is going on, the symptoms have been going on for quite some time by the time we diagnosed cancer. These days it’s all about nose cancer and we’re actually going to cover both cats and dogs in the same article. And today we’re going to talk about what are the different cancers we see and who is suffering from them, as well as the age group in which we normally see it and the different symptoms we see. So you may be reading this because your pet is having symptoms and you are wondering if he has cancer or if your pet has been recently diagnosed. In the second article, we’ll discuss the different tests we do, the different treatment options you have, and the prognosis. So let’s analyze it, let’s do it. So in general, nasal cancer is quite rare so it’s not one of those common cancers we see. So in dogs it is only about 2% of the cancers we see and in cats only about 1% of the cancers we see. In both dogs and cats, we usually see it in middle-aged pets. So in cats it will be between 8 and 10 or 12 years old.
In dogs, remember that large dogs age faster, but again, a similar age, usually around nine to ten years old. So if you have a young pet, maybe a three or four-year-old dog, or a three or four-year-old cat,
makes nasal cancer less likely, but they can still get it. In cats, it has been reported in two-year-old kittens and in dogs, even from the age of one year. Interestingly, dogs with long snouts and long muscles are often more likely to get cancer than dogs with flattened noses, and we think this is because their noses are exposed to more toxins when it leaks out. Actually, those closed-nosed dogs like pugs and the like are more likely to develop lung cancer than nose cancer.
Other risk factors associated with nasal cancer in dogs include exposure to smoke and the urban environment. Again, anything that could potentially be carcinogenic. So when we talk about nasal cancer or nasal tumor, they are not all the same. So there are a number of different types. In dogs, the most common cancer we see is epithelial cancer or carcinoma, with adenocarcinoma being the most common we see and the second most common being squamous cell carcinoma. And that accounts for about two-thirds of the malignant cancers we see in dogs’ noses. The second most common is something called mesenchymal, that is, connective tissue. And that’s usually chondrosarcoma, which is cartilage tissue that we see. From time to time we will see fibrosarcomas. You can see the osteosarcoma that would come from the facial bone, but it is usually not in the nasal cavity. So again, epithelial adenocarcinomas are by far the most common we see in dogs. In cats they are very different.
We tend to see lymphomas, the most common, but nasal lymphoma is usually solitary so it only starts in the nose, but because it’s a lymphoma, as we’re talking with the treatment we usually include chemotherapy because they usually will develop systemic lymphoma. , that is, in other parts of your body as well. We can also see some benign ones, so inflammatory polyps will be possible. And some oral tumors can even spread to the nasal cavity and cause nasal symptoms while we talk, so sometimes we kid ourselves because we have a pet that has nasal symptoms and is actually an oral tumor growing in the nasal cavity.
So one of the common themes or things that we see in dogs and cats with nasal cancer is that they generally have clinical symptoms or signs, as we’ve been saying for quite some time, usually, two to four months, so three months on average, and you know They often seem to have a runny nose, nasal infection, rhinitis, and often they have secondary infections that respond to antibiotics, so when you walk in, your vet prescribes something like clavamox, an antibiotic, and it gets better. So you think you just had a nose infection, but then the infection comes back, so maybe they had a resistant infection or a recurring infection, but often there’s an underlying cancer too. So a lot of these pets have, you know, cancer is on, symptoms have been going on for a long time, when we diagnosed cancer.
Things that we will see in addition to a runny nose so it can be a clear discharge, it can be that yellow mucusy, a purulent, so pus-like discharge, sometimes they’ll have a nosebleed and again, these can be coming out of one of the nostrils or the nares, as we say, or it can be bilateral coming out of both. They can have sneezing, they can have reverse sneezing. Sometimes their face will look perfectly normal, they have no facial deformity and then sometimes, you know, they will have asymmetry and facial deformity. Sometimes the tumor, the nasal tumor will be growing up behind the eye and the eye will be displaced or kind of going out to the side and a lot of these tumors can be growing into the sinus cavity so the facial deformity can be, you know, above the eyes so not really of the muscle of the nose, but here and I’ve seen some kind of come in like, you know, with a unicorn, with a mass here. So really it can vary and again, I’ve had some dogs that have really big nasal tumors when we do that CT scan, but their face still looks perfectly normal externally, so some just seem to grow in and some will grow out but those are some of the symptoms that we will see. A couple other things were mentioned, you know, I talked about some of the things you’ll sort of, you’ll see with the nasal cavity, you know, some of them are really nonspecific, right? If a dog or a cat can’t smell, they’re not eating well, ’cause they’re very sensitive to that, so appetite’s gonna be down, weight loss, which can be really hard to tell in our fluffy pets, I talk about that in another article and I’ll put a link to that.
A lot of times decreased airflow. Sometimes you may feel a big lymph node under their jaw. It doesn’t mean that the cancer is spread there. Sometimes it’s just a reactive infectious or inflammatory response to the lymph nodes. Another less common one, but some things sometimes the first symptom that we see may be a seizure and so the back of the nasal cavity, there’s a bone plate called the cribriform plate, and that bone plate separates the nose cavity from the brain so if the nose, the nasal tumor is in that part of the nasal cavity and eating through that cribriform plate, sometimes a seizure may be one of the symptoms because it’s invading into the brain. Some of these tumors will be on one side of the nasal cavity and sometimes they’ll be on both the right and the left side of the nasal cavity and we’ll figure that out by the CT scan that we’ll talk about when we get to diagnostics.
The last thing I wanna talk about is a lot of these pets are in pain and pain is a really hard thing to sometimes figure out because a lot of dogs and cats will mask their pain. But I think it’s important that we get them on pain medications, usually anti-inflammatories, so you’ll talk to your veterinarian, talk to your cancer specialist about whether or not they can prescribe something. Even if you’re waiting to see a radiation oncologist or a medical oncologist, I think pain management, appetite stimulants are gonna be really, really important so that supportive care is gonna be really important for your pet. But anything that you know, is it is, you know causing bone lysis or the pressure just think about any time that you’ve had, you know, a sinus headache or something going on in your head, it can be painful, so it just, you know,
I want you to be aware of that so we can address it for your pet to make them more comfortable. So that is the end, my goal is to try to make these articles a little bit shorter, a little bit briefer for you. Please come back for part two where we’re gonna talk about the different diagnostic tests that you will wanna do if your pet has this and you are considering treatment. We’re gonna talk about the different treatment options and then finally, we’re gonna talk about prognosis. Thanks so much for reading, Deanna. You have been asking me for quite a while to do an article on nasal cancer so this one is for you and guys, that is my reminder. If you are looking for an article on a topic, please drop it in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate it and I’ll see you in the next article.