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Dog Nasal Polyps and Their Removal

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Dog Nasal Polyps

Polyps can grow in various body parts, but dogs with nasal polyps develop bothersome symptoms that can interfere with a dog's overall well-being. Whether you suspect your dog has nasal polyps or your vet just diagnosed your dog with them, you may be interested in learning more about them and what can be done. Dog nasal polyp removal costs can be expensive, but the procedure is often rewarding, potentially leading to a resolution of the problems; however, there are chances for them to recur.

dog nasal polyps

Nasal Polyps in Dogs

The term polyp derives from the ancient Greek word polypos meaning "octopus." The term comes from polys which means "many" and pous which means "foot" considering that octopuses have eight legs.

The term has then been used later on in the medical field to depict a growth that is typically attached to a mucous membrane by a narrow elongated stalk; however, not always do polyps have a stalk. Polyps with a stalk are known as pedunculated, while polyps without a stalk are known as sessile.

A nasal polyp is simply a polyp that has grown within the dog's nose. Most polyps are benign in nature, which means they are non-cancerous; however, they can cause a variety of annoying symptoms in affected dogs when they keep growing.

Common symptoms of nasal polyps in dogs include noisy breathing, sneezing and reverse sneezing, nasal discharge, stuffy nose, and nose bleeds affecting only one nostril. Because nasal polyps provide bacteria with places to hide, it's not unusual for affected dogs to develop secondary bacterial infections.

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Importance of Diagnosis

Knowing whether or not your dog has a nasal polyp or some other type of growth is important. Nasal polyps in dogs are not very common, explains veterinarian Dr. Gary. It's unfortunate, but in older dogs, there are higher chances for growths being nose cancer rather than polyps.

Other potential differentials to check for, in dogs who are having symptoms of a problem in the nose, include a tooth root infection, a fungal infection (aspergillosis), an allergy or the presence of a foreign body stuck up the nasal passage, such as a grass awn or a foxtail.

Giving plain Benadryl under the direction of a vet can help rule out a possible allergy if the dog gets better while on this drug. X-rays of the teeth can rule out a tooth root infection and blood tests can help rule out any fungal problems affecting the nose.

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X-rays unfortunately do not usually reveal the presence of polyps in a dog's nose as they are soft tissue structures. However, they can reveal bone changes that may be associated with certain types of cancer. A CT scan however may be able to identify the presence of polyps or other types of masses. If a mass is identified and must be surgically removed, it's important to have the growth biopsied so to rule out a tumor.

Dog Nasal Polyp Removal 

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Nasal polyps that cause troublesome symptoms may require surgical intervention to remove them. The procedure to remove nasal polyps is known as a polypectomy and it is done though a rhinoscopy. In rhinoscopy, small-diameter scopes are inserted into the nose and allows the vet to visualize the dog's nasal cavity. If any masses are encountered, it is possible to pass through the scope biopsy instruments.

Often, prior to performing a rhinoscopy, a CT scan is used to help pinpoint the abnormal region. The whole procedure of course requires the dog to be anesthetized. After removal of polyps, it is normal for the dog to have nosebleeds as the nose area is very vascular. Most vets prefer to keep the dog overnight, to keep the dog calm during this time as any excitement can cause more nose bleeds.

It's unfortunate though that when removed through surgery alone, some tissue left behind will often cause the polyp to regrow. Radiation therapy may be needed on top of surgery to help prevent them from growing again considering that radiation can destroy any cells left behind.

Are there any dog nasal polyps natural treatments? Unfortunately, there are not considering that in order to allow symptoms so subside the polyp needs to be removed. Palliative care can be provided through use of humidifiers and products that aid breathing and break down any mucus.

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Costs for Dog Nasal Polyp Removal 

The cost for dog nasal polyp removal along with radiation may cost anywhere between $2,000 and $6,000. Costs for the removal along with biopsy but without radiation treatment may range around $1500.

It's always best though to call around for more precise quotes. Consulting with a specialist is preferred for these procedures.

In some cases, treatment with Piroxicam, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug can help shrink these growths somewhat. Some vets will prescribe steroids to try to shrink some growths when surgery is not an option. Steroids should never be given with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

"The prognosis in some treated dogs appears to be good with polypectomy.~Jonathan Miller, DVM, MS, DACVS"

References:

  • Nasal polyps in dogs: Five cases (2000 to 2011). Holt DE, Goldschmidt MH. J SMALL ANIM PRACT 52:660-663, 2011.

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