Morris Animal Foundation: When is a Wet Nose more than a Wet Nose?

Written by: Kelly J. Diehl, Morris Animal Foundation

Photo by Morris Animal Foundation

Most of us have experienced the runny nose and congestion that often accompany colds or allergies. Dogs also get runny noses, and nasal discharge is one of the most common reasons owners take their dogs to their veterinarian.

While it isn’t unusual for dogs to have wet noses, nasal discharge that lasts more than a few days can point to another problem. Knowing what to look for, when to be concerned, and what types of diseases cause nasal discharge are key factors in making sure your dog gets appropriate care.

• Nasal diseases are more common in dogs with longer noses.
• Younger dogs tend to have more nasal foreign bodies and fungal infections.
• Sneezing is more common and frequent in dogs with nasal foreign bodies.
• Dogs with nasal tumors are more likely to start snoring or making other nasal sounds.
• Allergic nasal disease affects dogs of all ages.
• Cancer and tooth-root diseases are more common in older dogs.
• Bleeding from the nose can be seen with any nasal passage disease, but most commonly is associated with cancer, coagulation problems, fungal infections, or foreign bodies.

Veterinarians often classify nasal diseases by the type of discharge the disease produces. Because of overlaps in clinical signs among diseases, veterinarians also look to see if discharge is coming from one or both nostrils, if air flow is blocked in the nostril, discharge has been chronic or noted suddenly, and if the dog has other signs of illness or not. Answers to these questions help the veterinarian determine the most likely diagnosis.

If you notice your dog has nasal discharge, watch for these signs that indicate your dog should see your veterinarian.

• Violent sneezing and/or pawing at the face
• Bloody nasal discharge that can’t be explained by trauma
• Discharge that changes over time
• Snoring or other breathing noises that were not present previously
• Illness associated with nasal discharge

If your dog’s wet nose is causing you concern, or seems to be making your pet uncomfortable, be sure to check in with your veterinarian. To learn more about current studies to help your dog live a longer, healthier life, visit Morris Animal Foundation. Orvis is proud to support their work through its Cover Dog Contest, proceeds from which support Morris’ Canine Cancer Research.

Kelly J. Diehl, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM (SAIM), CVJ is a cience writer and researcher for Morris Animal Foundation.

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