Dog Nose Problem
Stenotic flares are a term given to the nose when there is a partial obstruction due to the anatomy of the dog. If this is not corrected, the dog may strain to inhale through the nose, causing a partial vacuum in the throat and even the trachea. This vacuum causes tissues to swell and further obstruct the respiratory tract and may even cause a partial collapse of the trachea. Stenotic flares should be bred out of the lines of the affected breeds but for an individual dog with the condition, surgery can correct it.
In these same breeds, the glacial ducts are often obstructed and cannot conduct excess tears into the nasal passages properly. This results in the chronic overflow of tears that keeps the skin and hair of the inner corners of the eyes moist. This is a good situation for infection and is at best unsightly.
These branchy breeds frequently develop an elongated soft palate, further aggravating breathing. This situation may best be corrected by surgery.
Nosebleed: Nosebleed, or epistaxis, is usually caused by injuries as is the case with humans, but vigorous sneezing may cause a dog to strike its nose on a hard surface causing bleeding.
Infections of the nasal cavity should be treated promptly since the invasion of the sinuses with long-standing infection presents a difficult problem to combat. When the infection is in one nasal cavity only there is a good chance some foreign material such as a blade of grass oral twig may be present. Special instruments and lights are used under anesthesia to remove the cause.
Besides infection and foreign objects, tumors do cause nasal discharge of purulent material with or without bleeding. There is little one can do at home with these problems and veterinary attention should be sought promptly.
Snorting: The reverse cough, or snorting, is a problem that causes many dog owners to rush for professional help. This is usually not a serious condition. When the onset is saddest a dog owner may describe it as an asthma attack, which it isn’t. When snorting occurs a dog will stand with its legs spaced apart and its head down drawing air through the nose and expelling it out the mouth. This results in the repeated snorting sound that all who have been around many dogs shave heard. Some dogs have these paroxysms when they pull on a leash. Some seem to have them seasonally and others snort off and on all their lives. Although antihistamines are not as helpful for dogs as for humans, they do hold this problem in check.
Particles in the air such as pollens and house dust may be contributory causes of snorting. One of our house pets has attacks if it is exposed to hair spray.
Nasal Discharges: Nasal discharges are common when the immune system is suppressed, permitting usually nonpathogenic bacteria to thrive. A good example of this problem is canine distemper with intercourse nasal discharge. Since the nasal passages have direct contact with the sinuses, these pockets may become involved, making more difficult problems. When sinus infection becomes entrenched, surgery to drain the sinuses is a last but often successful resort.
Sense of Smell: It is rare to find even an old dog with hardening of the arteries that loses its sense of smell. This ability to smell extremely diluted odors and aromas means that our dogs live in an environment we cannot comprehend. In a recent study with Labrador Retrievers, an odor was diluted until people could no longer recognize it; when fur-t her diluted twenty thousand times it was still recognized by the dogs. A Bloodhound trailed and located a criminal 105 hours after the crime. A bird dog can scent a bird too yards upwind and run with a bead high until close enough to point it.
Science has contributed so much to sound and sight exploration but virtually nothing to the exploration of odor detection and identification.
When deaf and blind, most old dogs can locate food and water with little effort. Only rarely do we find a dog that loses all three senses and when we do it is obvious that its life is not worth living.
Other miscellaneous problems of the nasal area are cleft palates, eroded palates from burns from chewing electric cords, and infection from diseased roots of teeth. Extractions and antibacterial drugs usually correct the infection but plastic surgery is necessary to mend palate defects.
See more: Dog Intestinal Parasites
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