Breathing diseases

Rhinitis in Dogs: Types, Symptoms and Treatment

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. March 29, 2022
Rhinitis in Dogs: Types, Symptoms and Treatment

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Dogs often suffer from rhinitis, an upper respiratory tract disease that involves inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes or other damage to the nasal mucous membranes. Viral infection is the most common cause of sudden rhinitis or sinusitis in dogs. The most common signs of rhinitis include nasal discharge, sneezing, snoring and labored breathing.

In this AnimalWised article we will explain what is rhinitis, what are the most common symptoms and what is the most effective treatment.

  1. What is rhinitis in dogs?
  2. Anatomy of the nasal region of the dog
  3. Causes of rhinitis in dogs
  4. Symptoms of rhinitis in dogs
  5. Diagnosis and treatment for rhinitis in dogs

What is rhinitis in dogs?

Rhinitis is a reaction that affects both humans and dogs, causing a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Most types of rhinitis are caused by inflammation and are associated with symptoms in the eyes, ears, or throat. Dogs with longer noses and skulls (such as the border collie or the greyhound) are most prone to rhinitis. Furthermore, brachiocephalic breeds (such as the bulldog, or the pug) are susceptible to pollution-induced tumors that can cause rhinitis.

There are several types of rhinitis, these include:

  • Acute rhinitis: It is typically caused by a foreign body lodged inside the nasal cavity of the dog.

  • Allergic or seasonal rhinitis: This type of rhinitis is caused by a build-up of histamine in the body as a result of airborne allergens. Pollen, house dust, plant fibers, and mold are the most common allergenic substances in dogs.

  • Chronic rhinitis: develops when the triggering allergens cannot be removed from the dog's environment or when the dog is regularly exposed to them. In some cases, dogs can also develop abnormal tissue in the nasal area that produces inflammation and causes chronic rhinitis. Chronic rhinitis can also occur if your dog has an acute viral infection, or if a bad tooth is aggravating the condition.

Having a runny nose for a dog can be due to something as simple as excitement to see you. However, it can also be a serious health concern. Keep reading this article to learn more about the possible causes of a runny nose in dogs.

Anatomy of the nasal region of the dog

Inside a dog's nose is the nasal cavity, which extends across the entire snout. It is divided into two nostrils that can be easily seen with the naked eye and that eventually open into the dog's throat. The nasal cavity of dogs is very sensitive and bleeds easily due to the heavy blood flow. In addition, the nasal cavity extends into the so-called frontal and maxillary sinuses. This is why any infection that affects the nasal cavity can easily spread to the sinuses.

The mucous membrane covering the nasal region is highly perfused and serves as a protective barrier to keep the area from being invaded by bacteria or other irritating substances. The secretion that initially comes out of the nose may be due to the presence of an irritating substance, which is usually also indicated by sneezing.

The reason behind nosebleeds in dogs can be very worrying, especially when we aren't around to see the cause. Read this article to learn more about possible causes for nosebleeds in dogs.

Rhinitis in Dogs: Types, Symptoms and Treatment - Anatomy of the nasal region of the dog

Causes of rhinitis in dogs

There are many causes of rhinitis in dogs. Rhinitis is usually caused by viral infection, especially parainfluenza virus, herpes virus, and adenovirus. Although bacterial infections are also common, they do not usually cause rhinitis on their own. Rhinitis can also be caused by an allergic reaction or if the dog has suffered trauma to the nose.

However, in older dogs, rhinitis is more likely to be related to the presence of tumors or infections in the mouth. In these cases, nasal secretions are typically confined to a single nostril. In addition, this secretion may contain blood. As we have already said, any runny nose that persists must be treated by a veterinarian.

Reverse sneezing in dogs is a condition that can occur in all dogs and immediately raises alarm among tutors. If you notice that your dog seems to choke when they sneeze, check out this article on reverse sneezing.

Symptoms of rhinitis in dogs

Rhinitis, as we mentioned before, is an inflammation of the nasal cavity characterized by symptoms such as:

  • Excessive Sneezing

  • Nasal discharge is thick and foul-smelling unless allergic rhinitis is causing it, in which case it is transparent.

  • Nausea or vomiting due to substances entering the throat through the nose

  • Rubbing or scraping the face

  • Lack of ability to smell

  • Lack of appetite and therefore loss of weight

  • Restlessness

  • Open mouth breathing or difficult breathing

  • Bad breath

  • Rubbing or pawing at the face

  • Nose bleed

You should contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms, especially if they persist for more than a day.

Since dogs perceive the world through their sense of smell, their nose is one of the most exposed parts of their body. If you notice that your dog is constantly rubbing his nose, it could be a cause for concern. Continue reading this article to learn about the possible reasons why sometimes dogs scratch their noses all the time.

Diagnosis and treatment for rhinitis in dogs

Diagnosis of rhinitis:

Given the symptoms of rhinitis, the veterinarian will perform the appropriate tests to determine the cause of the inflammation. Because rhinitis can be caused by a variety of factors, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Your veterinarian will need to take blood samples and perform laboratory tests, such as a nasal culture or tissue biopsy. An x-ray is needed to diagnose foreign bodies or tumors that cause rhinitis.

Treatment of rhinitis:

Rhinitis is treated in different ways depending on its cause.

If bacteria are present, antibacterial agents must be prescribed, at least for a few weeks. If fungi are present, antifungal is the most appropriate treatment, also for a few weeks. If the infection is severe and fever occurs, many dogs require IV fluids. If a viral infection leads to a secondary bacterial infection, the viral infection is treated supportively, while the secondary infection is treated with antibiotics.

In older dogs, there is often growth and the presence of abnormal tissue (neoplasia) or dental disease, which can also cause inflammation. In the case of neoplasia, surgery is required to permanently remove abnormal tissue in the nasal cavity. In the case of dental disease, on the other hand, it may be necessary to remove the affected tooth.

In the case of allergic rhinitis, the dog should be kept away from the substances that trigger the reaction in the first place. However, sometimes it is difficult to avoid contact with allergy-causing substances, which are also becoming more common. Therefore, treatment consists of controlling the symptoms, identifying the allergen by skin testing, and in some cases, immunotherapy, i.e., administration of specific vaccines.

We should be concerned if we observe breathing problems in dogs. Although certain breeds are more susceptible to respiratory problems than others, respiratory infections can affect any dog. Keep reading to know more about the most common respiratory infections in dogs.

Rhinitis in Dogs: Types, Symptoms and Treatment -

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Rhinitis in Dogs: Types, Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Breathing diseases category.

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Rhinitis in Dogs: Types, Symptoms and Treatment