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Dog Nose Discharge: Common Causes and Treatments

Common Causes and Treatments of Nose Discharge in Dogs continued...

Treatment depends on the cause. For a bacterial infection your vet may prescribe several weeks of antibiotics. Fungal infections usually require special treatments using topical anti-fungal drugs. Surgery may be necessary if your dog has chronic infections.

Polyps and tumors . Blood, pus, or mucus can be a sign that your dog has nasal polyps (overgrown mucus-producing glands) or nasal tumors. Other signs include noisy breathing or a bulge on one side of the nose. Your pet’s appetite may decrease, as well.

Treatment for polyps usually involves surgery. Because polyps tend to reappear, additional treatment might be necessary. Treatment options for nasal tumors are variable. Benign tumors may be removed with surgery. Cancerous ones are usually managed with radiation since surgical removal is rarely successful. Sadly, the prognosis for cancerous nasal tumors is generally poor.

Nostril problems . Some dogs are just more prone to nasal discharge than others, including flat-faced breeds and dogs with soft, floppy nose cartilage. Noisy breathing can be another sign of nostril issues like these.

Surgery is sometimes necessary for dogs with small nostrils, as well as for those with cartilage problems. Surgery is often delayed until the dog is an adult.

Distemper . Distemper can cause a sticky, yellow nose discharge in dogs, and while symptoms may vary, distemper can also cause fever, pneumonia, and twitching and convulsions.

Treatment for distemper depends on the symptoms, and can include anticonvulsants, antibiotics, sedatives, and painkillers. The best treatment for distemper is prevention -- which means getting puppies vaccinated three times between the ages of 8 to 16 weeks -- and vaccinating breeding females several weeks before mating.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever . Nosebleeds can be one sign of this bacterial disease, which is transmitted by infected ticks. Other signs include high fever, lethargy, coughing, inflammation of the eyes, and pain.

Treatment may include several weeks of antibiotics. Use anti-tick products and reduce exposure to ticks to prevent this serious disease.

Cleft palate or fistula . If your dog has nose discharge after it eats, it could be the sign of a cleft palate (when the two sides of your dog's palate don't fuse) or an oral-nasal fistula (a hole between the nose and mouth, sometimes caused by tooth decay, injury, infection, or surgery).

Surgery is the most common treatment for cleft palates and oral-nasal fistulas.

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