Understanding Sinusitis In Dogs

Inflammation of the nasal passages, known as sinusitis, causes a build-up of mucus in your dog's nose and can lead to bacterial infections as the mucus creates a favourable environment for bacteria to thrive. Here's an overview of the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for sinusitis in dogs:


Causes of sinusitis include viruses, the presence of fungus, parasites, or abnormal tissue growth in the nasal passages, which can trigger inflammation. A dental abscess can also cause sinusitis if the infection spreads from the tooth to the nasal passages. Additionally, if your dog gets a foreign object stuck in their nose their body's inflammatory response may be triggered as a way of trying to get rid of the object.


Common symptoms of sinusitis in dogs include discharge from their nose and sniffing, which indicates stuffiness. Your dog may also sneeze more than usual and their nose may appear slightly swollen. Some dogs lose their appetite as a result of feeling generally unwell with sinusitis.


Your vet will diagnose sinusitis by examining your dog's teeth for signs of a dental abscess and taking a sample of your dog's blood in order to determine the presence of inflammation or infection. They may also take a sample of your dog's nasal discharge to have it analysed for bacteria or fungus. Diagnostic imaging such as a CT or MRI scan can show the degree of inflammation in your dog's nasal passages and the presence of foreign objects or fungus.

Treatment Options

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the sinusitis, but can include:

  • Medication - Antibiotics can be prescribed to tackle bacterial infections, while anti-inflammatories can be used to dampen down the inflammation in the nasal passages, which can allow the mucus build-up to drain away. Antifungals can be prescribed if your dog has fungus in their nose, but fungus may have to be surgically removed.
  • Using A Humidifier - Keeping the air in your home moist can promote healing from sinusitis by loosening mucus. Relieving the pressure of mucus build-up can allow the inflammation in your dog's nose to decrease over time.
  • Surgery - If abnormal tissue growth, a foreign object or a persistent fungal infestation is to blame for your dog's sinusitis, your vet may have to surgically remove the irritant if medication fails to bring the inflammation under control. A dental abscess will be treated with root canal therapy, which involves scraping out the infected tooth pulp, or the tooth will be extracted.

Sinusitis typically requires treatment to improve, so schedule an appointment with your vet--someone like Kingston Animal Hospital--if your dog is displaying any of the listed symptoms.