Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Dogs
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:
Computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are advanced techniques that often necessitate referral to specialty practices. These are more sensitive in diagnosing an underlying etiology.
Rhinoscopy is a procedure that allows us to visualize directly and sample tissue from the nasal cavity. It does necessitate general anesthesia, as well as the expertise of a specialist, and transfer to a facility that has the proper equipment. It may be very helpful in definitively diagnosing certain cases.
Rhinotomy (surgical exploration of the nose) and biopsy may be required for definitive diagnosis if other less invasive techniques fail to provide adequate tissue.
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.
Specific therapy depends on the underlying cause.
Humidification of the environment and keeping the external nares clean and dry are helpful regardless of the underlying cause.
Cure is unlikely with chronic viral rhinitis and sinusitis. Control of the more severe clinical signs with appropriate medication is often necessary, and treatment is often lifelong.
Antifungal therapy, either topical, instilled through surgically placed tubing into the sinuses, or systemically, administered orally, may be indicated in cases of fungal rhinitis and sinusitis.
Anti-inflammatory therapy (corticosteroids) may be indicated in cases of allergic or immune mediated rhinitis and sinusitis.
Rhinotomy may be necessary to remove chronically infected tissue, foreign bodies, polyps and tumors.
Radiation therapy may be indicated in patients with nasal cancer.
Chemotherapy may be helpful in cases of nasal lymphosarcoma.
Antibiotic therapy selected on the basis of bacterial culture and sensitivity. It is important to administer all medication as directed by your veterinarian. Occasionally, extended or repeat antibiotic courses are in order. In some cases, long term administration is necessary.
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.