What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a condition in which the mucous membranes of the nasal sinuses are inflamed. It may be acute or chronic.
How does my dog get Sinusitis?
The most common cause of acute cases is viral infection with a secondary bacterial infection leading to many of the symptoms. A primary bacterial infection is much less common. Chronic or seasonal cases may be caused by allergies, usually to pollen, house dust and mold. Other cases can be caused by irritants such as smoke inhalation or foreign bodies. Chronic cases can be caused by secondary bacterial infections, tumors, fungal infection, trauma, or nasal parasites.
How do I know if my dog has Sinusitis?
Your dog will usually have a discharge from one or both nostrils. The discharge will initially be thin and clear, but may progress to thick and yellowish as a result of secondary bacterial infection. The dog may also sneeze, paw at his face, have discharge from his eyes, breathe through his mouth, or have difficulty getting his breath. Keep track of whether the discharge is initially from one or both nostrils, which can be important in diagnosing the cause. For example, a foreign body, fungal infection, or tooth root abscess is more likely to cause discharge from one nostril. A tumor may be more likely to begin with one nostril and slowly progress to both. Your veterinarian will look inside your dog's nose, and may take a radiograph of the muzzle, skull, teeth or chest to determine the cause. A CT scan will give a clearer view. Endoscopy and biopsy may also be performed.
What can I do about Sinusitis?
Treatment depends on severity and cause. In mild cases, it consists mostly of keeping your dog comfortable. A humidifier and saline nose drops may help open the sinuses. Warm and smelly food may help increase its appeal. Medications will depend upon the cause of the problem, and may include antibiotics for bacterial infections, antifungals for fungus infections, antihistamines or anti-inflammatories for allergies, and anti-parasitics for nasal mites. Surgery may be needed for foreign bodies or masses.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting Sinusitis?
Vaccinating your dog for kennel cough can prevent some cases of viral and bacterial diseases. Maintaining dental care and thus decreasing the likelihood of an abscessed tooth is suggested.
Are there certain breeds that get Sinusitis more often?
Long-nosed breeds are more at risk for certain fungal (aspergillus) infections, and for nasal tumors.