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Sinusitis and Rinitus in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses, and Treatment

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    What is Sinusitis and Rhinitis in Dogs?

    Sinusitis is defined as the inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. The upper respiratory issue, Rhinitis, often goes hand in hand with Sinusitis. Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nose while Sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the nasal passages. When both are present, a major filtration function in the body is removed and exposes the lungs to larger amounts of microorganisms than usual. Sinusitis and Rhinitis may be presented in either an acute or chronic form. The acute form is typically caused by a foreign body lodged in the nasal cavity of the dog. Symptoms will come on suddenly and violent sneezing is often the first sign. The chronic form is present when the cause behind Sinusitis and Rhinitis can be determined. Typically, environmental allergies are the cause. The chronic form may also occur when the dog suffers from acute viral infections. 

    What Causes Sinusitis and Rhinitis in Dogs?

    There are a variety of causes behind Sinusitis and Rhinitis in dogs. However, viral infection is the most common cause when it onsets suddenly. Canine distemper and canine parainfluenza are often involved as well. Bacterial infections frequently occur following the initial viral infection. It’s very rare for a bacterial infection to take place without an initial viral infection. 

    Outside of viral and bacterial infections, Sinusitis and Rhinitis can be onset by allergies. Some dogs experience this seasonally due to pollen, or year-round due to environmental allergies such as dust and mold. 

    Foreign bodies lodged in the nasal passage of the dog may also lead to sudden Sinusitis and Rhinitis. 

    There are many underlying causes of long-term Rhinitis and Sinusitis including chronic inflammatory disease, trauma, parasites, tumors, or fungal infection. In some cases, these may even occur when a root abscess on an upper tooth extends further upward.  

    Who’s At Risk of Developing Sinusitis and Rhinitis?

    While any dog can develop Sinusitis and Rhinitis, dogs with longer noses and skulls are most commonly affected. These breeds include the Collie, Border Collie, and Greyhounds. On the other hand, brachycephalic breeds, those with short noses, like the french bulldog and pug, are prone to pollution-induced tumors that can lead to Rhinitis. 

    What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis and Rhinitis?

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    There are a variety of symptoms that are typically presented in dogs who are experiencing Sinusitis and Rhinitis. The most commonly observed symptoms include:

    • Excessive violent sneezing 
    • Facial pain or swelling
    • Nasal discharge (only from one nostril suggests the presence of a foreign object) 
    • Open mouth breathing
    • Labored breathing 
    • Reverse sneezing
    • Coughing 
    • Nose bleed
    • Loss of appetite 
    • Pawing at the face 
    • Bad breath 

    How is Sinusitis and Rhinitis Diagnosed?

    Since Sinusitis and Rhinitis can be caused by a variety of reasons, it can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. A proper diagnosis will require a variety of tests performed including a physical exam, x-rays, rhinoscopy, nasal biopsy, nasal cultures, blood samples, and elimination of other causes. 

    What is the Treatment for Sinusitis and Rhinitis?

    The treatment of Sinusitis and Rhinitis is highly dependent upon the cause behind the issue. In some cases, such as a foreign body, tumor, or trauma, surgery may be necessary. When dental complications like a root abscess are present, removal of the tooth may be required. When a bacterial infection is present, antibiotics or fungicides are typically used. 

    When a secondary bacterial infection accompanies the viral infection, the viral infection will be treated with supportive care and antibiotics will be used to treat the secondary bacterial infection. 

    In severe cases, the dog may require IV fluids if a high fever is present in addition to the infection. 

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    Brain Tumors in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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      What Are Brain Tumors?

      A brain tumor in dogs is simply a mass on the brain. The two types of brain tumors are primary and secondary:

      Primary Brain Tumors

      Primary brain tumors are tumors that arise from the brain’s tissues or the membranes that surround it (meninges). 

      Secondary Brain Tumors

      Secondary brain tumors, often known as “metastases,” are tumors that have migrated from another section of the body to the brain (i.e., metastasized). Secondary brain cancers can also develop from surrounding tissues, such as the cranial nerves.

      What Causes Brain Tumors in Dogs?

      It’s not really fully known or understood exactly what causes brain tumors but there are some environmental and genetic factors that may play a part.

      Environmental Factors

      Examples include:

      • Viral
      • Dietary
      • Chemical
      • Immune system
      • Traumatic

      Genetic Factors

      Certain breeds are more likely to develop cancer including:

      • French Bulldogs
      • Boxers
      • Doberman Pinschers
      • English Bulldogs
      • Boston Terriers

      What are the Risk Factors for Brain Tumors?

      The breed of a dog can play a role in the possibility of being predisposed to brain tumors. Breeds including the Boxer, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Scottish Terrier, and Old English Sheepdog tend to be more prone to brain tumors than others.


      Breeds of dogs with long, narrow heads such as border collies are more likely to develop meningioma tumors. Meningiomas are cancerous tumors that arise from the membranes that surround the brain. Pituitary gland cancers and glial cell tumors, which arise from the structural cells of the neurological system, are more common in pugs and other short-nosed breeds. While brain tumors can affect dogs of any age, the majority of dogs that get them are over the age of five.

      What are Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Dogs?

      Brain tumors in dogs and cats can manifest themselves in a number of ways, depending on which area of the brain is afflicted, and these locations can determine the symptoms. Common symptoms of brain tumors include:

      • Seizures
      • Unusual behavior
      • Loss of vision
      • Increased or decreased water and food intake
      • Head and neck pain
      • Nausea 
      • Unsteady 
      • Weight loss/gain
      • Persistent cough

      How are Brain Tumors Diagnosed?

      x ray of a dog's brain tumor
      Photo Credit: Fitzpatrick Referrals

      The only way to definitively diagnose brain tumors in dogs is to take a tissue sample. Radiographs (x-rays) or ultrasonography of other anatomical locations can be utilized to find or rule out initial cancers that have progressed to the brain. The suggested diagnostics for verifying the diagnosis of primary or secondary brain cancers are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) of the brain. Blood, urine or spinal fluid samples may also be taken to assess organ function as well as to possibly determine the cause of the seizures.

      What is the Treatment for Brain Tumors?

      Treatment for brain tumors in dogs is very similar to that of treatment in humans. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the three main treatment choices for dogs who have been diagnosed with brain tumors. The main goals of these treatments are to eliminate or shrink the tumor, as well as to minimize side effects such as fluid build-up in the brain These treatments can be performed alone or in combination with each other.


      Surgery is used to try and completely remove the tumor and is the ideal treatment if the tumor CAN be fully removed. Surgery also allows the veterinarian to take a sample of the mass and determine its type, making it possible to provide a more precise forecast of the patient’s prognosis. Not all brain tumors in dogs and cats can be surgically removed; the feasibility relies on their location in the brain. Tumors on the surface of the brain are more likely to respond to surgery. The surgeon would have to cut through a big section of healthy brain tissue to reach a tumor deep within the brain, which might have disastrous consequences for the patient’s recovery.

      Photo Credit: PennVet

      Radiation Therapy

      Photo Credit: Colorado State University

      Radiation treatment can alleviate symptoms dramatically and quickly. In most cases, the advantages of this medication greatly exceed the hazards. Although adverse effects from radiation therapy are uncommon in animals, they can include nausea, mouth ulcers, ear infections, and, in rare cases, blindness. Unfortunately, radiation seldom entirely eliminates the tumor, and the typical duration between remission and recurrence is 8 to 14 months.


      Chemotherapy medication is a common treatment for cancer but because the brain is a relatively protected place and most medications cannot reach it, there are limited chemotherapeutic alternatives for brain tumors in dogs. This treatment, on the other hand, could be able to assist a patient with a brain tumor minimize some of the symptoms they’re experiencing.

      Photo Credit: CAVE Veterinary Specialists

      What is the Prognosis for Brain Tumors?

      The prognosis of brain tumors in dogs can be dependent on the treatment route or if the dog owner decides not to treat. Unfortunately, due to the outlandish cost, it’s not always possible to treat dogs for cancer and it’s the most common route. Some dogs are treated without the tumor type being determined. But as CT-guided biopsies become more common, there is more research being done on the prognosis and life expectancy of dogs with cancer including with different treatments and if they are not treated at all.

      Brain tumors are uniquely difficult due to their location and the brain tissue that they affect. They first emerge in the brain cavity’s limited space. The cranial cavity, which encloses and protects the brain, is formed by the bones of the skull. While it is vital to conserve a delicate structure like the brain in this way, it also means that there is no room for anything else within the cavity, and when a tumor grows, it compresses the brain around it. Second, because brain tissue can not regenerate, removing normal brain tissue around a tumor may have adverse outcomes.

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      Ear Hematomas in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

      dog laying on table with ear hematoma

      Is your dog shaking their head excessively? Is their ear red and swollen? Well, they may be suffering from an ear hematoma. But what is that exactly? Keep reading to learn more about this painful condition and how to treat it! 

      What are Ear Hematomas in Dogs?

      dog laying on table with ear hematoma
      Photo Credit: PetCoach

      An ear hematoma in dogs, or aural hematoma, is the result of a blood artery rupturing in the ear and bleeding into the area between the ear cartilage and the skin. A dog’s ear hematoma is can cause excruciating ear pain, and the severe swelling might be frightening. A hematoma will heal on its own if it is not treated, although this might take weeks.

      They have the appearance of a blister, albeit they are not as red as a typical blood blister. Swelling and a hard enlarged lump on the earflap that feels spongy or like a water balloon will be seen. Hematomas seldom explode, even if they appear to be on the verge of doing so. However, they can be quite uncomfortable for your dog, particularly when touched.

      What Causes Ear Hematomas in Dogs?

      An ear infection or other inflammation within the ear is the most prevalent cause of an ear hematoma in dogs. Ear infections in dogs induce inflammation, which leads to head shaking, which leads to ear hematoma. Ear mites, having anything lodged in their ear, and underlying conditions like allergies can all induce headshaking and result in an ear hematoma. Ear hematomas in dogs are more usually caused by skin allergies, immunological diseases, trauma, or blood coagulation deficiencies.

      What are the Symptoms of Ear Hematomas?

      The appearance of the ear is one of the most prevalent indicators of an ear hematoma. The ear may appear thicker and inflated as a result of the lump or fluid-filled pocket, which is frequently referred to as “cauliflower ear.” The swelling might be hard or soft, and it can fluctuate.

      Here are some symptoms to look for:

      • Fluid in the ear flap
      • Excessive itching
      • Excessive ear-scratching
      • Excessive headshaking
      • Titling their head sideways

      It’s important to remember that these symptoms don’t just indicate an ear hematoma but might be pointing to an underlying condition that needs to be treated. If your dog is showing these signs, veterinary intervention is required as soon as possible.

      Who’s at Risk of Developing Ear Hematomas?

      Ear hematomas are more likely to occur if your dog has a history of ear problems. They irritate him much more if they cause him to itch his ear and shake his head. Even if there is no obvious trauma, hematomas are more likely in dogs that have clotting or bleeding disorders. Dogs with long, floppy ears like Basset Hounds and Blood Hounds are more susceptible to getting ear hematomas.

      How Can Ear Hematomas Be Prevented?

      Regular grooming is the greatest method to avoid a hematoma. A dog that is brushed on a regular basis is less prone to develop matting that tears the skin. Infections, which are another cause of dogs shaking and clawing at their ears, may be avoided by keeping their ears clean. Regular ear cleaning can also help prevent ear hematomas in dogs. 

      How are Ear Hematomas Diagnosed?

      Physical examination is used to diagnose ear hematomas. The veterinarian can easily see the earflap that is heated and swollen on the outside and red, inflamed on the inside. Theyll also take into account the dog’s medical history and the other physical signs such as head shaking.

      Diagnosing the exact cause of the headshaking that led to the hematoma is an important step. The veterinarian will usually use an otoscope to inspect your dog’s ear and may consider obtaining a sample or ear swab for cytology. This entails examining the swab under a microscope to see whether bacteria or yeast are present.

      What is the Treatment for Ear Hematomas?

      dog with buttons in ear after ear hematoma surgery
      Photo Credit: Homesteading Today

      Surgical repair of the hematoma is the chosen treatment approach. The exact surgical procedure varies depending on the conditions and preferences of the veterinarian, but it always follows the same fundamental principles. To drain the blood and remove any blood clots, the skin over the hematoma is surgically incised. The empty area (known as dead space) is then eliminated by threading multiple sutures into the ear, promoting regulated scar tissue growth, reattaching the cartilage to the skin, and aiding in the prevention of future recurrence. To aid drainage, a surgical drain may be used. Finally, the pinna is supported in order to prevent additional injury and encourage recovery. You may see some dogs with buttons sewn to their ears follwing an ear hematoma surgery. This is done to give the skin more surface area and keep it in place as it heals.

      Other conventional treatments include:

      • Using a syringe to aspirate. This will drain the fluids, but it will only give temporary comfort.
      • Using a vacutainer to create a vacuum. To enhance healing and decrease disfiguration, the blood is removed and the skin and cartilage are kept close together. However, when the drain fills up, you’ll need to replace it.
      • Placement of a teat cannula (or equivalent drain). This will make draining the hematoma much easier until it heals correctly. Disfigurement is still a possibility.

      What Happens if Ear Hematomas Are Left Untreated?

      If you let a hematoma heal on its own, the blood will eventually reabsorb. This can happen in as short as 10 days for minor hematomas. Larger hematomas may take weeks or months to disappear. There’s also the possibility that scar tissue will cause lifelong deformity, leading to cauliflower ear. You’ve reached this stage when your skin resembles a cauliflower floret. Whether or whether this disfiguration is problematic is determined by the location of the hematoma.