Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Dogs

Overview of Canine Rhinitis and Sinusitis

Rhinitis or sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucosa (lining) of the nasal cavity or sinuses. There are many causes of rhinitis that affect dogs of all breeds and ages. Young dogs are more prone to the infectious causes and older dogs tend to develop tumor or dental disease related rhinitis. Long nosed dogs seem to be more prone to the fungal and cancerous causes of rhinitis.

General Causes of Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Dogs

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Dogs

Baseline tests, to include a complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis should be performed on any ill animal. Additional tests may include:

Treatment of Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Dogs

Home Care and Prevention

Administer all medication as directed by your veterinarian. Return for follow up examinations and evaluations as directed.

In-depth information on Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Dogs

Rhinitis and sinusitis are the inflammation of the mucous membrane (lining) of the nose and sinus. They may be acute (sudden onset/short duration) or chronic (slower onset/longer duration), noninfectious or infectious, and are not an uncommon occurrence in veterinary medicine. Regardless of the underlying cause, secondary bacterial invasion/infection is relatively common.

It is important to establish the underlying cause, as treatment modalities are multiple and varied. The clinical signs and progression of disease associated with rhinitis and sinusitis may be mild and slow, however, depending on the individual case, signs may be severe and rather devastating. The appropriate diagnostics and therapeutics would be recommended and tailored to that individual.

There are several diseases/disorders that can appear similar to and/or cause rhinitis and sinusitis. These include:

Infectious Diseases


Severe clotting (bleeding) disorders often present with epistaxis (nasal bleeding), and need to be differentiated from rhinitis and sinusitis. These include:

In-depth Information on Diagnosis

Certain diagnostic tests must be performed to make a definitive diagnosis of rhinitis and sinusitis and exclude other disease processes that may cause similar symptoms. A complete history, description of clinical signs, and thorough physical examination are all an important part of obtaining a diagnosis, and potential underlying cause. In addition, the following tests are recommended:

Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to exclude or diagnose concurrent conditions. These tests are not always necessary in every case, but they may be of benefit in certain individuals, and are selected on a case-by-case basis. These include:

In-depth Information on Treatment

Most dogs are stable, and can be treated as outpatients as long as they are monitored closely for response to therapy. With appropriate therapy, and/or the identification and treatment of the underlying disorder, many patients do quite well, and some can expect to see a full recovery. In some, response to therapy can take longer and occasionally, response may be poor. It is very important that all recommendations by your veterinarian are followed very closely, and any questions or concerns that arise during the treatment protocol are addressed immediately.

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Rhinitis and Sinusitis

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve.

Administer all prescribed medication as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your dog. It is important that the pet owner takes note of any clinical setbacks or onset of new clinical signs and alert the veterinarian at once.

General blood work (complete blood count, biochemical profile) may need to be re-evaluated as recommended by your veterinarian.