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Nasal Passage Narrowing in Dogs

Nasopharyngeal Stenosis in Dogs

Nasopharyngeal stenosis refers to the narrowing of one of the four segments of the nasal cavity located on either side of the nasal septum. These segments include the common, inferior, middle, and superior portions. The nasal septum is the dividing structure between the two airways in the nostrils.

The narrowing typically results from the formation of a thin but tough membrane within the nasal cavity passage. Possible causes include chronic inflammation and subsequent fibrosis (excessive formation of fibrous tissue) following an infection. Additionally, inflammation due to chronic regurgitation or vomiting of acidic material may contribute to the condition. It’s worth noting that this issue is not frequently observed in dogs.

Symptoms and Types

  • Whistling or snoring sounds during breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Breathing through an open mouth
  • Nasal discharge in certain patients
  • Exacerbation of symptoms during eating
  • Lack of response to traditional therapy, including antibiotics


  • Upper respiratory infections and ailments
  • Foreign objects or any irritants coming into contact with the affected area


To diagnose your dog’s condition, you’ll need to provide a comprehensive history of its health, including any previous medical issues and when symptoms first appeared. Following a thorough history-taking, your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination and standard laboratory tests such as a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. Typically, the results of these routine tests fall within normal ranges.

If outward symptoms indicate a need for further investigation, radiographic studies such as X-rays and computed tomography (CT-scan) may be necessary to identify any narrowing of the nasal passage. Additionally, your veterinarian might pass a catheter through the nasal passage or employ a bronchoscope for additional confirmation of the diagnosis.


The preferred treatment for affected patients is surgery. During the procedure, the membrane causing the narrowing will be excised, and the wound will be sutured. Another less invasive technique that your veterinarian might employ is balloon dilatation, wherein a small balloon is inserted into the narrowed nasal space and gradually inflated with air to widen the passage. Balloon dilatation typically utilizes fluoroscopy, which offers real-time moving images and facilitates the procedure. In cases where surgery is performed, antibiotics will be prescribed for several days to prevent infections.

Living and Management

Recurrence is not uncommon in patients who have undergone treatment for nasopharyngeal stenosis, even following successful surgery or balloon dilation. In such instances, a second procedure may be necessary for treatment. Keep a close eye on your dog for any reappearance of symptoms, and promptly consult your veterinarian if they resurface. Your dog may experience significant discomfort after surgery and may require pain relief medication for several days until the wound has fully healed. Additionally, you may need to administer antibiotics at home for a few days post-surgery. Ensure that all prescribed medications are given at their correct dosage and timing to facilitate your dog’s recovery.

During your dog’s recovery period, refrain from using products that could irritate its nasal passages, including scented floor products and air fresheners.

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