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Nasal Polyps In Dogs

What Are Nasal Polyps in Dogs?

Nasal polyps in dogs are growths that develop in the nose due to chronic inflammation in the sinuses, a condition known as rhinitis. These polyps, which are typically noncancerous, can appear as pink protruding tissue in the nostril or may be hidden deep within the nasal passages, causing persistent sneezing and nasal discharge.

Although nasal polyps are categorized as benign tumors, they represent abnormal tissue growths that can potentially pose risks over time. While they do not metastasize or aggressively invade surrounding tissues, there is a remote chance that they may evolve into cancerous growths after a prolonged period. As such, it is advisable to consider their removal when feasible. Despite their potential long-term implications, nasal polyps do not constitute a medical emergency in dogs.


  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Stertor, which is a congested breathing sound
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Occasionally, you may observe pink tissue protruding from a nostril.


The primary cause of nasal polyps in dogs is chronic inflammation in the nasal passages. This inflammation can result from various factors, including the presence of inhaled foreign objects like weed seeds or persistent infections. Moreover, exposure to environmental irritants such as cigarette smoke has been associated with an elevated risk of nasal tumors in dogs. Although nasal polyps are more prevalent in cats than in dogs, they are relatively uncommon in the latter. Research suggests that nasal polyps are more likely to develop in dolichocephalic and mesocephalic breeds such as Greyhounds, Collies, Setters, and Dachshunds, which have long and slender noses. These breeds have elongated nasal passages, rendering them more prone to inflammation in the sinuses and nose due to inhaled seeds, bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Labrador Retrievers may also exhibit a potential breed predisposition to nasal polyps.


Veterinarians typically identify nasal polyps by visually inspecting them. Sometimes, these polyps are observable just inside the nostril, appearing as pink, shiny tissue fragments. However, they are not always easily visible in this manner. In such instances, sedation might be necessary to facilitate a more comprehensive examination of the nose by the veterinarian. Frequently, the polyps are situated deeper within the nasal passages and can only be observed using specialized equipment. The rhinoscope, a slender tool equipped with a small camera at its tip, enables the veterinarian to visualize the polyps and provide a conclusive diagnosis.


The recommended approach to treating nasal polyps in dogs involves surgical removal whenever possible, often performed using endoscopy. Following removal, it’s advisable to biopsy the polyp to confirm its benign nature and rule out malignancy. It’s crucial to ensure complete removal of the polyp stalk during surgery to prevent regrowth, although this can be challenging in some cases.

When surgery isn’t feasible due to factors such as polyp location, safety concerns related to the dog’s age, concurrent health conditions, anesthesia risks, or financial constraints, medical treatment options may be considered, albeit less effective than surgery. These options may include the use of steroids like prednisone, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as piroxicam, combined with radiation therapy or antibiotics for addressing secondary bacterial infections.

Living and Management

Following surgery, it’s common for dogs to experience bloody drainage for a week or two. To prevent your dog from rubbing or pawing at their nose, they should wear a recovery cone. Ensure the cone is worn at all times when your dog is unsupervised. Throughout the recovery phase, closely monitor your dog and promptly contact your veterinarian if they exhibit signs of reduced appetite, lethargy, depression, or excessive bleeding.

Even if surgery isn’t feasible, dogs can still live with nasal polyps. While chronic sneezing may become a part of your dog’s life, it’s crucial to watch for secondary infections. The polyp can become a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in symptoms like green-yellow nasal drainage, depression, or loss of appetite. If you observe any of these changes, consult your veterinarian regarding medical treatment and supportive care options.

Nasal Polyps FAQs

How long can a dog live with a nasal polyp?

The prognosis for a dog diagnosed with a nasal polyp can vary significantly based on the size and location of the polyp. A large polyp obstructing the nasopharynx may cause breathing difficulties and result in a shorter survival time, whereas a small polyp situated closer to the nostril might have minimal to negligible impact on the dog’s lifespan. In instances where a large polyp blocks the airway and severely affects the dog’s quality of life, euthanasia might be considered.

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