Chronic Nasal Swelling in a Dog: Diagnosing Biscuit’s Swollen Nose

What could be behind your dog’s swollen nose? In case of acute swelling, you might suspect insect stings or bites, a snake bite, perhaps an infection. But what if the swelling is chronic?

With cute swelling of your dog’s nose, you need to be careful because the situation could progress and lead to difficulty breathing. When in doubt, see a veterinarian. At the very least, keep a close eye on your dog.

Infections are the most common cause, usually following an injury to the nose. However, a reaction to insect stings or bites is a close second, depending on geographical location and the season.

Important note: acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity can also lead to facial swelling, along with other serious signs such as changes in gum color, labored breathing, vomiting, jaundice, and even coma.

Further reading: 4 Causes of Dog Snout Swelling

Chronic Nasal Swelling in a Dog: Diagnosing Biscuit's Swollen Nose

Biscuit’s story

Biscuit was a 3-year-old Border Collie— a happy, active, energetic boy. He was perfectly healthy except for a mysterious swelling of his nose. The first time Biscuit’s noBiscuit’sd, he was four months old. It didn’t seem to bother him, though.

However, as time went by, the swelling became naughty, rupturing and spewing out a nasty discharge. When this happened, Biscuit’s veterinariBiscuit’sibed antibiotics. While that helped, the problem sometime later the problem returned. In the meantime, the veterinarian was unable to discover an underlying cause. Biscuit ended up with a referral to a university hospital.

At the university hospital

As the specialist examined Biscuit, he confirmed the fluctuating swelling and hair loss, and scarring at its location. As he looked closely, he discovered a draining tract. When the veterinarian gently squeezed the swelling, it discharged pus. Further, however gentle the squeeze was, it was uncomfortable for Biscuit.

Other than that, nothing seemed wrong with him.

Biscuit’s diagnosis

Given the results of Biscuit’s examination, his medical history, the location of the swelling and the drain, the specialist suspected a dermoid sinus cyst.

Dermoid sinus is a rare congenital condition. When the cyst becomes infected, it increases the swelling and discharge.

As the next step, the veterinarian ran blood work and Biscuit underwent a CT scan. The results were consistent with the diagnosis.

Biscuit’s treatment

Medical treatment with antibiotics can help reduce swelling but doesn’t solve the problem. Instead, repeated treatments in this situation can lead to resistant bacterial infection.

Biscuit needed surgery to repair the problem. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the entire tract and the abnormal tissue. Biscuit recovered well and could go home the next day. Histopathology of the removed tissue confirmed the diagnosis.

In closing

Sometimes, when you hear hooves, it can be zebras. However, if your dog has an ongoing issue that doesn’t go away with basic treatment, you need to dig deeper into the root cause.

Source story:
Nasal Swelling in a Border Collie

Related articles:
Facial Swelling in Dogs: Why Is My Dog’s Face Swollen?

Further reading:
4 Causes of Dog Snout Swelling
Dermoid Sinus in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsDog health advocacyFacial swellingNasal dermoid sinus cystNasal swellingReal-life StoriesSwellingSymptoms

Tags: :

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

Share your thoughts