Sinusitis can occur when your dog's nasal passages become inflamed and mucus isn't able to drain freely. When mucus gets clogged in your dog's sinus cavities, the environment becomes favourable to bacteria and they can multiply and cause infection. Sinusitis has a number of causes, including the presence of parasites or fungus and respiratory viruses. The development of abnormal tissue growth, such as a tumour, can trigger inflammation as your dog's white blood cells attack the abnormal tissue. Likewise, if your dog gets something stuck in their nose, their body can have an inflammatory reaction in order to try and rid itself of the object. Here's what you need to know about this painful condition:
If your dog has sinusitis, they may display the following symptoms:
- Clear or green mucus discharge from their nose
- Swollen nose
- Increased sneezing
- Dental abscesses, which can occur if infection travels from the sinus cavities
- Loss of appetite, which can indicate sinusitis is causing them to feel generally unwell
Your vet will use a combination of your dog's health history, symptoms and diagnostic tests to confirm they have sinusitis. A blood sample can be taken to check your dog's inflammatory markers, with raised levels indicating the presence of an infection. A swab of your dog's nasal discharge can be tested for the presence of fungus or bacteria, and your vet may recommend your dog has an MRI scan if they suspect a foreign object has become lodged in your dog's nasal passages.
Your vet will recommend a course of treatment once they have identified the cause of your dog's sinusitis. Anti-inflammatory medication can be used to encourage blocked nasal passages to drain, and sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection will require antibiotics. If your dog has a fungal infection, the vet will prescribe a long course of antifungals, but fungus can be difficult to treat and may need to be removed surgically.
Inflammation won't subside if it's being caused by a foreign object or abnormal tissue growth. These scenarios require surgical removal of the irritant by an animal surgeon or your dog is likely to experience chronic inflammation that causes repeated sinus infections. Dental abscesses require treatment or your dog may lose the affected teeth. Your vet will carry out root canal therapy by drilling a small hole in each affected tooth. A tiny file is then inserted into the hole and used to scrape out infected pulp from the middle of the tooth before it's resealed.
Take your dog to the vet for examination as soon as you suspect they have sinusitis. Sinusitis usually needs treatment to clear up, so prevent your dog experiencing unnecessary discomfort by addressing it as soon as your dog shows any of the listed symptoms of sinusitis.