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Fungal Infection (Rhinosporidiosis) in Dogs

Rhinosporidiosis in Dogs

Rhinosporidiosis is an uncommon chronic infection found predominantly in the mucous membranes of dogs. Typically, it manifests in the nasal passages and nostrils, although it can also affect the nasal passages and eyes. Rhinosporidiosis falls within the category of zoonotic fungal infections, implying that it can be transmitted to humans.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms and types of rhinosporidiosis include sneezing, bleeding, wheezing, or labored breathing in dogs. The infection typically presents as a cauliflower-like growth in the nostrils or a polyp near or on the nostril, often white or yellowish and speckled due to associated fungal growth. In humans, a similar infection might manifest as small growths on reproductive organs, ears, or near the eyes, although such occurrences are extremely rare, especially in dogs.


Rhinosporidiosis is primarily caused by infection with the fungus Rhinosporidium seeberi. Risk factors include regular exposure to stagnant or standing water, as well as residing in a dry and dusty climate.


Diagnosing an infection caused by Rhinosporidium seeberi typically involves examining the polyp or nasal growth or analyzing abnormal cells resulting from the fungus. Veterinarians may remove the polyp or take a biopsy of the affected tissue for examination. Radiographs or x-rays of the nasal cavity may be ordered but often yield normal results, as do urine and blood tests.

Histopathologic findings, such as epithelial or skin cell analysis and testing of organisms in surrounding tissues, may reveal the presence of the fungus. Medical professionals may excise the mass or perform a rhinotomy to remove infected tissue. Pathologic findings often include ulcers in skin cells, abnormal cell proliferation around the nose or nostril, and fibrous tissue surrounding nasal cells. Inflammatory reactions within skin cells on lab tests can help identify the fungus if released into surrounding skin and nasal tissue.


Treatment includes maintaining proper hygiene and attending to wound care diligently. During the recovery period, it’s crucial to confine your pet or keep them within a cage and ensure the affected area remains clean and free of debris to minimize the risk of reinfection.

Living and Management

After treatment, it’s vital to schedule follow-up appointments with your veterinarian to monitor your pet for any signs of re-growth or complications. In instances where complete removal of the growth isn’t feasible during the initial surgery, your doctor may need to repeat procedures or offer additional care. Since humans can contract rhinosporidiosis, maintaining good hygiene practices is essential at all times.

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