Dog Nose Diseases

Common diseases can affect a dog’s nose.
Common diseases can affect a dog’s nose. (Image: chocolate lab dog nose image by Paul Retherford from

A dog’s nose is susceptible to certain diseases. Diseases impacting the nose can cause symptoms such as pigment loss, ulcers and redness, among others. Depending on the disease, different parts of the nose can be affected, including the bridge, skin, nasal cavity and even the entire muzzle.


A dog can develop nasal cancer that affects the nasal cavity. Tumors grow and block nasal passages, causing irritation and inflammation. Some of the symptoms associated with nasal cancer include blood in the nasal discharge, loss of appetite, bulging eyes and extreme sneezing. This is an invasive yet progressive type of cancer. reports that radiation is the best method of treatment for shrinking tumors when surgical removal isn’t feasible due to the tumor’s placement and the complexity of the nasal cavity.

Immune System Disorders

Certain autoimmune diseases such as discoid lupus and pemphigus erythematosus–a disease causing ultraviolet light sensitivity–are frequently known to affect dog’s noses. Both diseases cause ulcers to form on the dog’s nose, face and mouth. Depigmentation of the nose’s skin is also common with these diseases. This particular form of lupus is considered benign and sometimes can be easily diagnosed, because the ulcer’s shape resembles a butterfly. Dog Owner’s Guide states that collies and shelties are prone to contracting this disease and females are at risk more than males.

In pemphigus erythematosus, ulcers, although also benign, can burst soon after forming. A skin biopsy is used to diagnose this disease and hospitalization may be required as part of treatment.

A more fatal form of lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) also can affect a dog’s nose. It, too, has butterfly-like ulcers, but other signs are notable in the dog, including joint stiffness, fever and pain. This form of lupus damages the dog’s kidneys, resulting in renal failure.

Fungal Diseases

According to, dog’s noses frequently become infected with fungal diseases such as canine nasal aspergillosis. It can occur when a dog breathes in the aspergillosis fungus commonly found in composite piles or moldy hay. The fungus causes nasal passages to swell, resulting in an infection that can destroy nasal cavity tissue. Aspergillosis is characterized by chronic nasal discharge and seems to disproportionately affect dogs under the age of 3. A sample of the nasal discharge is used to make an initial diagnosis. X-rays also may be performed to evaluate the dog’s bone structure for possible damage. An antibiotic nasal spray is used to get rid of the fungus.

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