Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I had previously owned 2 dogs, both of which developed nasal/sinus tumors and had to be euthanized. I now have a toy breed, which has very recently developed this severe sneezing. He is only 2 years old. I am very concerned that he also has developed a nasal tumor. Is this type of severe sneezing a symptom of nasal tumors? Do you recommend having the nasal passages scoped as I did with my other 2 dogs?
Lili Duda, VMD, Section Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Menu, responds:
Nasal tumors are a very uncommon tumor of older dogs, accounting for only about 1-2% of canine cancers. The cause is unknown, but environmental carcinogens and chronic nasal irritation may play a role. They typically occur in older medium to large breed dogs. Symptoms are sneezing, snorting/snoring, progressive nasal discharge, and bleeding. Seizures are a less common symptom but can occur. While it is not impossible for a young dog to develop a nasal tumor, it is far down on the list of differentials. Much more common causes of sneezing in the younger dog include allergies, nasal/sinus infection, and foreign bodies (such as a seed pod or other object caught in the nasal passage). If symptomatic treatment does not resolve the signs within a few weeks (antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamines), or if the signs progress, further evaluation is warranted, such as a nasal scope, nasal flushing, and nasal radiographs (X-rays).