There are several types of nose cancer in dogs and differentiating one from another requires veterinary intervention. The most common types of nose cancers in dogs affect the dog's nasal cavity (inside of the nose), however, there are also some forms of nose cancers that may visibly grow on top of the nose (nasal planum or nasal plate). While most nose tumors in dogs tend to be malignant, the majority of them tend to be locally invasive with a low frequency for metastasis (spreading to distant body parts or organs) at least in the initial stages. Following are some of the most common types of nose cancer in dogs along with some symptoms of nose cancer in dogs.
Nasal Adenocarcinoma in Dogs
The most common type of nose cancer in dogs is what's known as nasal carcinoma. There are actually several sub-types of nasal carcinomas in dogs and these comprise nasal adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and undifferentiated carcinoma. It is estimated though that 2/3's of all types of nasal tumors are carcinomas, explains Dr. Daniel A. Degner, a board certified veterinary surgeon.
Among the different types of carcinomas affecting the lining of the dog's cavity, adenocarcinomas are therefore the most common in dogs. Their name is composed by the word " adeno" meaning "pertaining to a gland" and “carcinoma” meaning cancer.
Put these words together and you have " cancer originating from glandular tissue. " Indeed, a dog's nose is lined up with several lateral nasal glands which secrete moisture.
Nasal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Nasal squamous cell carcinoma ranks second as the most common type of nasal tumor dogs get. Nasal squamous cell carcinoma is found on the nasal planum or nose pad, the non-haired portion of the dog's nose. This type of cancer is more common in cats, but it can appear as well in dogs even though much less commonly.
Among the types of tumors affecting the nasal planum, squamous cell carcinoma is the most common. As the name implies, this type of cancer involves the squamous epithelial cells.
This type of tumor initially appears as a a superficial scab wound that is reluctant to heal on top of the dog's nose. As the tumor advances, it then becomes cancerous requiring surgical removal and radiation. If the tumor is invasive and has more widely impacted surrounding tissue, a deeper surgical resection may be required, always followed by radiation.
"This type of cancer in the dog tends to start on the inside of the nostril and invade into the deeper tissues. You can think of it as a little octopus - you can see the bump that is the octopus head, but there can be tentacles that extend down into the tissue where you cannot see them. If the SCC is limited to just the very tip of the nose, then that can be removed and can cure the disease!" ~Dr. Fiona, veterinarian
Nasal Chondrosarcoma in Dogs
In dogs, it is estimated that one-fourth to one-third of nose cancers are diagnosed as sarcomas, with chondrosarcoma being the most common, explains Dr. Timothy Fan, a veterinarian specializing in veterinary oncology. Other types of sarcomas known for affecting the dog's nose, albeit being less popular, include osteosarcomas and fibrosarcomas.
The word chondrosarcoma is derived from the word "chondro" meaning related to cartilage and "sarcoma" meaning fleshy growth. A chondrosarcoma is therefore defined as being a cancer that derives from transformed cells responsible for producing cartilage.
Nasal and paranasal sinus chondrosarcomas in dogs are cancers that are known to expand locally and typically grow quite slowly. Interestingly, unlike most nasal tumors in dogs which appear in older dogs, nasal chondrosarcomas tend to develop at a younger age.
Other Types of Nose Cancer in Dogs
While the above are the most common types of nose cancer in dogs, there are several other possible types of nose cancer in dogs that may be worthy of mentioning. Tumors that are known to affect the dog's nose may include the following: transitional carcinoma, neuroendocrine tumors, esthesioneuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, undifferentiated sarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, liposarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, myxosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, malignant nerve sheath tumor, lymphoma, mast cell tumor, histiocytoma, malignant melanoma, paranasal meningioma and transmissible venereal tumor.
It's worth mentioning that not all nose tumors in dogs are malignant, there may be cases of benign types but these are uncommon. Indeed, statistics show that about 80 percent of nasal tumors in dogs have characteristics of malignancy. Benign nasal tumors in dogs are therefore are quite uncommon and include dog nasal polyps, adenomas and fibromas.
"In five studies analyzing 711 nasal tumors in dogs, adenocarcinoma was the most common histologic subtype (45%), followed by squamous cell carcinoma (20%), chondrosarcoma (14%), undifferentiated or anaplastic carcinoma (11%), and unspecified carcinoma (10%)"~DVM360
- Veterinary Information Network: Nasal Neoplasia in the Dog and Cat
- DVM360: Canine and Feline Nasal Tumors
- DVM360: When it comes to nasal tumors the nose knows