Thursday, September 21, 2006

Canine Nasal Tumors

I gave this post a no-nonsense title in case anyone out there is googling canine nasal tumors, as I have been, and might find their way here.

These are our doggies. The brown one is Leroy, my step-son. The husky is Shiloh, who I've had for about 11 years. Shiloh has cancer. Last I wrote we didn't know for sure. I took her to the internal medicine specialist tuesday morning, and the vet was a young woman about my age, as are my doctor, my dentist, my optometrist, and our regular veterinarian. Yay, young women docs! Anyway, I wasn't sure if I would proceed with any of the expensive diagnostics, like an MRI, but the vet recommended rhinoscopy, the miraculous little camera up the nose. So I left Shiloh there for the day, which is a hard thing to do! I came back for her later and the vet showed me pictures of the mass in her nasal passage. It isn't pretty. There were two main candidates for what kind of tumor it was: lymphoma or carcinoma, with lymphoma being the cancer o' choice in this case. I guess it responds better to treatment, and goes into remission for longer under radiation. But we got the biopsy results today and it's carcinoma. So now we need to decide whether to do radiation treatment.

As I wrote before, I never thought I would consider something like this, especially for an old dog already at the end of her statistical life span. But what can I say? You never know what you'll consider until the choice actually arises. From what I hear and read, dogs react very well to radiation therapy and don't suffer severe side effects. There's no reason why Shiloh shouldn't do well, and the tumor should go into clinical remission for 8 - 18 months. That's a long time for an old dog. Apparently, there has only been a pet radiation oncologist in Portland for 2 years. Before that, we would have been out of luck. So, we will most likely go ahead with that.

I've been fairly blue about the whole thing, but Shiloh is doing fine right now -- though perhaps drooling more than her fair share -- so I'm okay. She's had a long, happy life, so no matter what happens, this is not a tragedy. But if there's a chance she can have a LONGER happy life. . . well, I suppose we'll try that. And thank you for all the good wishes!

Updated March 7, 2007
I notice through my sitemeter that a lot of people are googling canine nasal tumors, and it makes me very sad to think that there are so many dogs out there suffering what Shiloh suffered. I thought I'd better add an addendum here, to say:

  • Shiloh did well with the radiation treatments. Though she was 13 years old, the 18 consecutive days of anaesthesia did not overtax her too much and she didn't have any really obvious discomfort. She continued eating throughout (though she was on prednasone to stimulate her appetite) and going for her daily walks. She did sleep a lot, and she wasn't the happiest dog ever, but she did okay.
  • the symptoms associated with the tumor did go away -- her difficulty breathing, her sneezing and bloody noses. The radiation seemed effective.
  • However, sadly, Shiloh was old for a husky, and this year, age hit her hard. It came on so fast. She started having trouble getting up off the floor -- her hind legs were weakening, and this progressed until we made the very very difficult decision to euthanize her in February. I wrote more about that here. We had the vet do a home visit, which I didn't know until very recently was even an option. It was very peaceful, and now when I look back on photos of Shiloh during her last weeks and days, I know it was time. Sadly, it was past time. I miss her so much, but that's part of having pets: knowing we'll have to say goodbye to them.
  • If I had it to do over again, I think I would still do the radiation. Especially if you are someone with a younger dog. I never knew dogs could get old so fast and there's no way I could have contemplated euthanizing Shiloh back in the fall when she was still pretty spry. Even knowing it now, well, I had those extra months with her. And if she was a younger dog, we might have had a year or several years.

I don't know if this will help anyone who is facing the decision that we faced, but I wish you and your dog well. It is a blessing to have the technology available to do something in this situation, but as our vet told us: just because the option exists, you aren't obliged to do it. It is crazy expensive, and as we learned, it might only buy you a few months. It's a very personal decision and a very difficult one. Best wishes to you as you confront it.

[Update October 2007 -- I'm so sad to see how many people really are out there googling canine nasal tumors. I have been very moved by the stories a few of you have shared in the comments section here; I hope your dogs are doing well, as well as may be. We're dealing with severe arthritis now with our other old dog, and that's a rough one too -- but he's still doing pretty good. The last few weeks I've been hearing a number of stories of folks adopting old dogs from the Humane Society and the stories are so sweet and heart-breaking, I would encourage anyone to consider bringing home an oldster -- they're such wonderful pets!]

[Update March 2008 -- Well, we're going through it again. Leroy, our other old dog, was diagnosed with an oral melanoma. Fricking cancer. We were lucky -- he had a tooth absess for the first time in his life, and while removing his teeth the vet discovered the very small mass on the roof of his mouth and was able to remove it. Most oral melanomas are not discovered early, but only when they start to bleed and distort the snout. Still, surgical removal is not enough, in and of itself, especially considering the location of the mass -- since it was on the roof of his mouth they couldn't get good margins. And, oral melanoma is highly metastatic. So, we talked to the same radiation oncologist who treated Shiloh and we learned that the protocol for irradiating melanoma is very different -- even in humans, I guess, melanoma only responds to very high doses of radiation. So, instead of 18 low doses, the treatment for Leroy has been 6 high doses. He's going in for the sixth today.

[Update September 2008 -- Just wanted to update about a couple of things. First, I'm happy to say that five months after radiation, Leroy (the brown dog above) is nearing 15 years and is doing great. He's peppy, eats well, has a great life, so there's a happier radiation story than Shiloh, who didn't live long after her treatment. The other thing I want to say is that we put Leroy on prednasone during his treatments, and we saw a rapid degeneration in him almost at once, a loss of muscle mass, trembling hind legs, having difficulty (for the first time) getting up -- generally, a decline into weakness that was really alarming. We could see his spine; he really changed. With the vet's supervision (though at our insistence) we weaned him off the prednasone, and as soon as he was off, he started to get better, build his muscle back up, and improve in every way. I can't say scientifically that this was because of the prednasone, but here's the thing that really sucks: Shiloh was on prednasone, and these are the same symptoms she suffered that eventually worsened and led to us euthanizing her, her hind legs weakening so much she could barely walk, would collapse when she squatted to pee, that sort of thing. So, I hate to think the prednasone could have been responsible, and that we could have had more good months with her, but I can't help thinking it might be true. The oncology vet never warned us about such severe side effects, so just be aware: in our experience, it is a nasty drug. Use with caution. Wishing all your dogs the best.]


liz elayne lamoreux said...

dearest laini,
oh i wish i could give you and shiloh and jim a big hug (leroy makes me a little nervous i have to admit so he could just look on and bark or sigh...whichever he feels like doing). i am so sorry to hear it is cancer. we have been there with our first golden traveler, and i know what it is like to try to make these decisions about your dear pet who is more like a friend than an animal who sits at your feet. you will make the best choice you can, know that.

sending you love and hugs and peace in the midst of it all,

Anonymous said...

Best of luck with Shiloh's treatment. It is a very hard thing to know what to do. I went through it with my schnauzer Alex who was diagnosed with lung cancer. In the end I had to put her down. You can't watch something that has given you so much love and happiness endure the pain. Sending healing thoughts you way. Be well, Shiloh Dawg!

Alex S said...

Losing a pet truly is losing part of one's family and I know you'll be really sad sometimes, hang in there. Shiloh is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known, and converted me into realizing big dogs are great too. You are totally right that she has had a long, happy life with two wonderful owners who spoil her with love. Whatever you decide you have plenty of support. On a lighter note, you have no support for flaking out on me at the gym this morning! I was on the treadmill at 6:05. and there was no sign of you anywhere. Why oh why do you do this to me? Why am I constantly being forced to run my morning 10K alone? Why Loopy, why?

Jamie said...

Oh, Laini, my heart is with you all. I'm sure Shiloh knows how deeply she is loved.

I can relate to how hard it can be to decide on the best course of action. My 16-year-old cat has been on the brink many times over the past few years. When Bascha was at her worst, I had a real talk with her about how much we loved her and how much we wanted her to hang in a while longer and be with us. I guess she decided to stay. That was 2 years ago.

I'll be sending you all lots of loving energy and hoping for the best for everyone. Hugs to you.

Deb R said...

Aw, Laini, I was hoping it wasn't cancer. But here's hoping that the treatment is effective for Shiloh. Sending good thoughts your way~~~

paris parfait said...

Laini, so sorry to hear about Shiloh. I'm glad she is in the care of a good doctor and they're going to do their best to treat her.

As for your book, I pre-ordered it via Amazon too - and I'm not a knitter - just a fan of your writing! :)

Kim G. said...

Dear Shiloh -
You have some of the nicest owners in the world. I hope that you say your doggie prayers of thanks today for bringing you to their family. Oh, and while you're getting your treatment, give the sad, pathetic, "feel-sorry-for-I-have-cancer" face and I bet you'll score some extra doggie treats!

Best wishes and get better soon.
Nicky G. (beloved four-legger of the blogger who typed this message)

Amber said...

My brother is sending me an Amazon GC, and with it I am going to buy your book! (but no knitting books.)

I am so sorry about your pup. I hope it all goes well, love. And with your heart, I am not surprised at all that you are going to pay the money, and buy him more time. Happy thoughts to you!


Anonymous said...

Sending hugs and good thoughts to you and Shiloh.

Deirdre said...

Oh, Laini. I know how terribly difficult it is to have a sick pet. The doggie I loved most was named Shiloh. It still tugs at my heart when I think of her. My thoughts will be with you.

Anonymous said...

ohhh, I have no words of comfort for such a tough time--- but am sending you blankets of good energies for you and Shiloh and Jim and Leroy to wrap up in.

may this weekend be a sweet one!


Naturegirl said...

May the angels of courage walk with you and Shiloh. He looks quite content in the photo surrounded by love. I know only to well the lump in your heart you feel when given a not so pleasant diagnosis from vet regarding our 4 legged heart throbs.Tell Shiloh I survived radiation treatments he will too it's not so bad.Just of late I adopted my mothers 12 yr. old cat and after a vet check was told he is diabetic so twice daily I give him a shot of insulin. We do what we have to when dealing with beloved pets what ever the cost because in the end they deserve it!HUGS for Shiloh.. NG

Anonymous said...

i was so moved by your story and love for Shiloh. is there anyone out there with canine nasal tumor treatment success? we have the classic symptoms with our 10 1/2 years old border collie/mix. she has such separation anxiety it has been hard to chose the right road to treatment. thanks. God bless Shilo.

JR said...

Greetings. I did find this by Googling. I hope that Shiloh is doing well and the radiation was a success. Our beagle, Katie, was diagnosed with the same tumor in June of 2006. We did the palliative radiation & chemo in July. It took almost 2 months to show improvement, so hopefully, Shiloh is feeling better now. It's a difficult road no matter what, but you are to be commended for helping your sweet dog. I started a blog too, just to keep track of Katie's symptoms, but it just got too difficult to keep it up.

All the best, Katie's Mom.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog by searching on canine nasal tumors also. My 11 year old beagle, Nellie, has this type of cancer, although we never did the CAT scan or the biopsy so we don't know the details. We are treating her with a combination of piroxicam (an anti-inflamatory drug), Ciproflaxicin (an antibiotic), and benedryl (an antihistimine) and a combination of 3 eye drops, since she had eye involvement, and are having great success. When she was first diagnosed last July ('06) we were told she would last 6 months at the most, and here we are 10 months later and we've seen very little progression of the disease. Of course, we don't know what the tumor is doing in there, so this could change at any point. And, she still has some symptoms -- difficulty breathing through the affected nasal passage, bad snoring, some bloody discharge, difficulty eating -- but is as happy and playful as only a beagle can be. This treatment is a lot of work and her care requires a lot of us -- trial and error with dosing, food she can eat, sleeping arrangements -- but we watch her jumping around and wrestling with her sisters and are thankful every day. This treatment is not widely known and we lucked out with our vet, who is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Kathleen. Our schnauzer (9-1/2 at the time) was diagnosed with nasal cancer. He's also on piroxicam & many natural herbs, etc. along with a healthy diet. Its been 6 months and he's usually very active & happy but the breathing problems are getting really bad. We're still hopeful but deep down know.... We're blessed though with at least 10 years with this wonderful little boy. If you'd like to get in touch, Good luck to you and your wonderful little guy. Connie

Bun Bun said...

My dog Jake has all the symptoms: Bloody noses, sneezing fits, hacking, etc. etc. etc. Sometimes, he sneezes so hard I think he's going to knock himself unconscience. He's 11. A golden retreiver. I found him at the pound when he was 3. He's my best friend, we've hiked all the great mountains out west. We've driven accross country 5 times together. He's a calm, intuitive, loving, playful dog. What I'm trying to figure out is; how long does he have? When they scoped his nose, they did not see any tumors. But the bleeding and sneezing have persisted. I've since taken him to a holistic vet, who was honest with me and said he didnt need an MRI to know it was cancer. He was not even sure he could help Jake. I appreciated his honesty. Somehow I have to prepare for this.

Slackermommy said...

I'm so sorry about Shiloh. I did find you by googling and I thank you for that. My 10 year old Golden has a very large and aggressive nasal tumor. It looks like it's too late for radiation. I'll know more Monday when the results of the biopsy come back. I'm so terribly sad. He was my first baby and I'm not ready to let him go. Thanks for "listening".

BC_Fam and the Sisty Uglers said...

Thank you for your blog! I had never heard of this before so I am checking out all that I can find. Our dog is 8 1/2 and I would so like to have him with us much longer!!!! It isn't confirmed yet but he has all the classic symptoms and of course, I would just like to make him better! Sympathizing with everyone here and thank you for sharing. Dec

Anonymous said...

I posted a couple of months back on our beagle, Nellie, who has nasal tumors, and since others have posted similarly I thought I would give an update and hope that the information is useful. We're now at 14 months post diagnosis and 8 months past the vets' projected life expectancy. We've seen a little tumor progression and the symptoms get worse and then back off if we adjust her medication. Everything suggests very strongly that the type of tumor Nellie has responds to anti-inflammatory meds. She's on 7.5 mgs daily of piroxicam, 200 mg of doxycycline, and 200 mg of benedryl. She has some eye involvement so she's also on flurbiprofen, genticen and cyclosporine drops twice a day. We started at lower doses of everything and have changed to different antibiotics and antihistimines a number of times over the course. I can say that she has fewer symptoms now than she did a year a go but more symptoms than she did a month ago. When she gets to a certain point we'll change the meds again and see if she gets a bounce. When we changed her from cipro to doxy about 3 months ago she had about 2 months with no sneezing, discharge or blood, but it has since picked up again. Our vet thinks that at some point the piroxicam will stop working and then we'll try steriods for a while, but that will probably be it.
This path is not for everyone. It can be expensive (although maybe less so than radiation or chemo, not sure) and it requires a lot of attention to daily sypmtoms to try to guess where she is and adjust meds accordingly. Getting food and all those pills into her several times a day is a challenge. But, we've had a great year with her and particularly the last 6 months. She's been as happy, sweet and energetic as any 11 year old beagle could be. She's slowed down some, but hasn't lost any of her personality. I wish this would work indefinately, but my sense is that we're moving closer to the end. Obviously, I have no basis to recommend this treatment to anyone else, but it's been a good alternative for us. If anyone has questions please feel free to contact me at

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having this blog. I too have a senior dog (a silky terrier) just diagnosed with nasal carcinoma. We are treating him with medication, since that makes the most sense for us for now. It is hard to have a pet you love be sick. I appreciate knowing I'm not alone in this.Again, thank you for sharing. And I found you by googling too.

Anonymous said...

I've never read a blog before, much less posted on one, but just as you indicated I goggled canine nasal tumors and you popped up. We have a 7 year old golden retriver who most likely has a nasal tumor and we need to decide what to do. To find out for sure will cost us 2-3 thousand dollars (So. Cal prices). No idea how much treatment will cost. We'll probably do it because he is in good shape otherwise, but I wonder how long he will live. My husband loves him but I'm the one crying as I type. We have a smaller dog who's 17 and I kidded the big one she might out live him...I hate to think it might be true.

Anonymous said...

It is 12/18/07 and I just found this blog by Googling. I've been in tears all day after my 4 year old Pit Bull mix woke up with a bloody nose... again. The doctor thought it was allergies she started to develop back in the Spring. Mollie has trouble breathing, gets the occasional nose bleed, and does this really funny shake her head sneeze when she gets worked up. She's been on Prednisone ever since. And we just added an anti-histamine. She hasn't gotten better, it's just making her a little more comfortable. But I'm afraid she could have a nasal tumor. The symptoms all sound so familiar. Mollie doesn't have a bump on her nose, and nothing obvious that the vet can see. So we're going to a specialist as soon as they can fit us in. I just can't believe this could happen to such a young, healthy and loved/spoiled dog. Say a prayer for Mollie. She's my "baby" and I'm not ready to let her go :(

Laini Taylor said...

Tina, I just checked back and found your comment here -- I'm so sorry to hear about Mollie! I hope that she does NOT have cancer but only allergies. But if she does have it, her age makes her a much better candidate for radiation than Shiloh was. Wishing you all the best.

Anonymous said...

My best friend is a 12 year old Golden Retriever, Cody, and sadly has all the classic symptoms of nasal tumors. This blog has helped me tremendously (even though I'm struggling to hold back mammoth tears as I write this!) Thank you all who have taken your time to share your experiences and treatment methodologies! I've sought out multiple opinions from 3 vets but Cody has all the classic symptoms (trouble breathing at times, nose bleeds, wheezing, eye drainage, scratching his nose, hard sneezes, not eating as much food, etc.) I'm using info from this blog to ask my vets about the best treatments, as I am not ready to let my best friend go. I'm the center of his universe...I know this after our 12 years together...and I'll gladly devote myself to any additional effort, time or money that could make my affectionate, loyal & heart-warming friend most comfortable and happiest during his last few days, weeks or months (I hope!). Please continue to post as you learn more about possible treatments, etc.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog a year ago and just came back to it. Like others, it was one of the best 'non medical technical' sites I found. My yellow lab was diagnosed with a nasal tumor a little over a year ago. We choose to not follow the radiation treatment path for many reasons and for us that was the right decision. She has taken piroxocam for a year which seems to have slowed the tumor growth. We did not see any visible tumor growth until Thanksgiving. A lump about the size of a quarter appeared, although it hasn't gotten significantly larger since first appearing. The hacking/coughing got worse, although the bleeding has actually gotten better with time (of course, the vet thinks this may be because the tumor blocked off the sinus passage completely and all the drainage is down her throat). We haven't had to deal with a lot of eye issues.

Like others, she has exceeded all expectations and actually still has more good than bad days. We find cold and wet things help with the congestion - ice cubes and apples are her favorites. Her intolerance to heat is worse - she has spent most of the winter outside and this isn't an outside dog. She has had a tough life - hip dysplasia in both hips, one ACL repair and then this - far worse than she deserves. We continue to enjoy her, dread the time when this must end, and hope to have the good judgement to know when it is time. Best wishes to all dealing with this type of event.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

I have never blogged before but when I searched canine nasal tumors, this site popped up, it is very helpful.

Would anyone explain what their dog's nose bleeds were like? My vet suspects a nasal tumor in my Tibetan terrier. Her nose bleeds seem to be just a little blood mixed with fluid from her nose. I was just wondering what others' experiences were. I have never seem bright blood on her dog bed or anywhere. Thank you all very much. Willow's mom

Candace said...

I have a 12 year old collie mix that was biopsied on Monday for what they beleive is a nasal/sinus tumor. She will not eat anything except the large basted beef bisquits and how much peanut butter i can force her to eat.

She has lost over 20 lbs. She has no interest in chicken, beef, rice despite my coaxing.

She is still mobile and plays with the other dogs; but I know the anorexia is taking its toll on her.
I don't think she could survive chemo or radiation in her weakened state. All she needs is to eat, and I cannot find anything on how to stimulate her appetite; she was on steroids with no improvement.

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Shiloh. I lost my 16 year old last fall (his name was Shiloh as well) and still grieve for him.

If anyone knows of any type of medication that can stimulate appetite please email me at I am desperate; I lost my 14 year old cat to cancer last may and just cannot my Charliegirl.

Candace said...

I would also like to ask fellow bloggers how and when they know it is time to put your beloved pet down.

I cannot let her literally stave herself to death; I know starvation entails great pain.

Except for her weight loss, she is still the sweetest gentle giant I have always known and loved.

I was told she was a sheltie mix when I found her at the pound. The vet said in all liklihood she was mostly collie and St. Bernard altho when she was chunky, she only weighed 78 lbs.

Kristen Virago said...

I read your blog today, Laini
after leaving my dog all day at a vet's office. I had to stop reading at the point where you talked about euthanizing your Shiloh---the tears just began to pour.

I have a 13 year old Golden who was sort of plunked upon me by an Aunt going through a seperation (that whole experience alone is novel-worthy, on-going saga as the Aunt has attempted to get her back, sometimes resorting to violence.)

But this dog, over the past two years, has snookered her way into my heart so much so, that I rarely go anywhere without here. A true companion and just an angel. Everyone that meets her, adores her.

In July, I noticed some sneezing, drippy nose and chaulked it up to
"seasonal allergies". I mean, honestly, I didn't think a drippy nose was a big issue. But, it's worsened over the months. I brought her in around Thanksgiving, more because of her consistent, hacking cough---and let me tell you, mysterious coughs can make your head spin as they can be anything--I googled like a madwoman, considering canine flu, to kennel cough, to congestive heart failure.

I immediately called my local vet. He said over the phone that she had "Congestive Heart Failure", which I thought of course was totally inappropriate and unprofessional, but I sort of went numb at that point. He treated her for an Upper Respitory Infection (didn't work), than deduced that she had Dilated Cardiomyopethy right around Christmas, which is generally rapid and fatal.

So I got a second opinion by two excellent Tuft's vets. Turned out her heart is in good shape. YAY!

But the the sigh of relief I let out over the second opinion-vets proving the first guy wrong has been short-lived. It is now being suggested she might have Cushing's syndrome (very treatable, I guess) but the main thing I'm concerned about is this this rhinitis, sneezing, hacking and panting which led me to your site.

This morning, before the lo-dex test, the vet peaked in her nose with an ear scope and saw it was swollen and bloody. This was traumatic for both of us because he put on this muzzle-type thing so he could look in there. He complimented me for my observation skills (I was up the night before with a cookie and a flashlight just trying to figure out what's going on in that right nostril of hers), as if I could just fix it myself. What I wouldn't give to just be able to fix it.

The tech said she was an angel all day. I was in bed all day. I don't handle this stuff too well.

I just never knew I could love something so much, even more
than family. She's been the only constant, stable thing that's even gotten close to holding my heart, so it's like, when she hurts, I hurt. Only a person who loves animals can understand.

For now, I'm just trying to stay in the moment--praying it's not a tumor, and if so, benign. I'm also quickly running out of funds which I think is worst part of all--feeling like you could do more if only you had unlimited funds. I'd like to run right out for a biopsy and I will, but I have to wait until I get paid again.

I refuse to give up, though.

I thank you also for your warning on presgesterone, as well. That was one of the vet's suggestions (i'm not too crazy about the way he practices medicine and will be switching to another), but he said he will make suggestions once the blood work comes back.

Thanks for your site. Much love to you and your family, human, canine and feline. I believe love is love, whether two-legged or four and I'm glad to see I'm not in this alone.

Anonymous said...

Found you through Google.
Thank you for maintaining the site, it helped to red it.
My 12 year old bassett has been diagnosed with nasal tumors. No other health problems. Will try piroxicam starting in a few days.

Anonymous said...

I thank Laini and every one of you who took the time to post something. Our 12 year old beagle Molly has been to the vet this week with trouble breathing. I thought she had bad congestion but yesterday we were told she needed a CT scan and it was likely a growth. I found your site this morning and immediately printed it and ran to the vet. I'm waiting to hear from him - we have a wonderful vet. Hope is so powerful.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I've had several people contact me since I left messages here about my beagle Nellie with nasal tumors and the medication regimen we used -- I thought an update might be in order. Nellie passed away in her bed surrounded by her family on November 3, 2008, which was 28 months post-diagnosis. In the end she died from a tooth root infection that her body just couldn't handle. The piroxicam stopped working pretty suddenly after about 18 months and the vet switched her to prednisone, which we only expected to work for a month or two, but kept her tumor in check until she died 10 months later. But others who wrote about what a nasty drug it is are absolutely right. She lost muscle mass, her ability to jump and run, and it is probably what killed her immune system and led to the infection that killed her. That said, we had 10 really wonderful months with her that we wouldn't have had without the pred. For people who are trying the medication route -- talk to your vet about adding doxycycline (our vet found when he did some research that it cuts off the blood supply to tumors and helps shrink them) and definately talk to him/her about benedryl. As our vet said to us, benedryl can't kill her and it also has anti-inflammatory properties and the worst that will happen is it will make the dog sleepy (which it didn't do with Nell). At various times we had her up around 250 mgs. If you try the doxy, don't be alarmed if the dog bleeds heavily for a day or two after you start it. We found that it was actually part of the tumor shrinking and pulling away from the tissue and was followed by much relief of the symptoms. But, again, talk to your vet.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me that others are being able to use what we went through. I miss my girl every day, but it's almost like a little piece of her stays alive if she's helping someone else.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I've had several people contact me since I left messages here about my beagle Nellie with nasal tumors and the medication regimen we used -- I thought an update might be in order. Nellie passed away in her bed surrounded by her family on November 3, 2008, which was 28 months post-diagnosis. In the end she died from a tooth root infection that her body just couldn't handle. The piroxicam stopped working pretty suddenly after about 18 months and the vet switched her to prednisone, which we only expected to work for a month or two, but kept her tumor in check until she died 10 months later. But others who wrote about what a nasty drug it is are absolutely right. She lost muscle mass, her ability to jump and run, and it is probably what killed her immune system and led to the infection that killed her. That said, we had 10 really wonderful months with her that we wouldn't have had without the pred. For people who are trying the medication route -- talk to your vet about adding doxycycline (our vet found when he did some research that it cuts off the blood supply to tumors and helps shrink them) and definately talk to him/her about benedryl. As our vet said to us, benedryl can't kill her and it also has anti-inflammatory properties and the worst that will happen is it will make the dog sleepy (which it didn't do with Nell). At various times we had her up around 250 mgs. If you try the doxy, don't be alarmed if the dog bleeds heavily for a day or two after you start it. We found that it was actually part of the tumor shrinking and pulling away from the tissue and was followed by much relief of the symptoms. But, again, talk to your vet.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me that others are being able to use what we went through. I miss my girl every day, but it's almost like a little piece of her stays alive if she's helping someone else.

Kristen Virago said...

well, i'm back.

holi had surgery on tuesday.
biopsy, cytology, removed polyp, skull x-rays, etc. my vet said she looked great and her redness/swelling had gone down from the month prior. he was leaning more towards the "allergic rhinitis" scenario.

then he called today. "please call me back when you can". i sensed this was not going to be good.

i tried to prepare myself.

called him. apparently the biospy from the polyp or tumor he removed tested positive for squamous cell carcinoma .i don't even know what this is, but he assured me it is this same as canine nasal tumors.

he gave me a pretty devastating prognoses, more like "weeks to months" b/c there's no breakdown in her x-rays, although she is having trouble breathing and the skin atop her nose is kind of starting to peel and discolor.

i'm already on the second opinion. put an email in to my prior vet. i can't afford radiation and at 14, don't know how much effect it would have.

i've been talking about it. crying about it. talking some more. crying some more.

i believe in miracles. call me overoptimistic. i've had friends with cancer go into spontaneous remission. as long as she's not suffering, eating, moving, rolling in the snow, i'm not giving up.

but i can't do this alone. some might say this dog is my "emotional crutch"..but it is what it is. she's helped me through some incredibly tough times. and know i have to be strong for me AND her, so i can take care of her.

any words of experience wisdom, suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Kristen Virago said...

my golden has been on pred now for about two months and about 3 weeks ago, we tapered her to 20mg every three days.

i can say it has helped the rhinitis, but she does have the side effects described in many people's comments: panting, legs trembling, lots of urinating and pooping and now she has had really bad diarrhea for three or four days, sometimes with a little bit of blood.

her last dose of prednisone was about 3 days ago.

there's one pill left.

and i can't decide if i should continue with this treatment after all of these side effects.

my vet even confirmed that the pred was probably causing the diarrhea and i'm sure he will try and insist that i keep her on it as what he describes as "palliative" care, in spite of this.

i quite honestly don't even know if the squamous cell carcinoma is destructing at the rate he predicted. i'm starting to think it's the prednisone.

i'm just really confused and could use some guidance or suggestions.

kristen and holi said...

My Border Collie dog Chance had Canine Nasal Carcinoma. He just passed away night before last. I had been agonizing over the thought that I may have to have him euthanised soon. That night he died naturally, it was really horrible, its difficult to talk about. He "snorted" as occasionally he did, but this time really, really hard, then was hemmoragging from the nose, his urine and feces let go, and then he couldn't breath, passed out and died. I am still trying to understand what happened. Did he choke on a large clot or piece of the tumor that broke loose, or the large amount of blood? Was it a brain stroke, heart gave out, blood loss? Was there something I could have done to save him, or make it easier for him? I felt helpless.
The good news is that he lived 3+ happy years after being given a 9 month diagnosis by a specialist my local vet sent us to, who did a biopsy and nasaloscopy. My local vet suggested putting Chance on Peroxicam, a human medication, an anti-inflammatory. He was on that once a day, I just put it in a tablespoon of canned food. I also started feeding him a no-grain diet, including some raw ground turkey in the last year or so. The past few month or so he was dripping more, clear or blood tinged mucus from his nose when sleeping or probably all the time. I put sheets and blankets down on the whole floor at night to prevent cleaning up the stains daily. It gradually became more bloody. The Vet told me that nose bleeding was the most common reason for euthanisia of these cases. He said we'd been lucky in a way, that it didn't grow back into the brain, it came out as a couple lumps on his face. He started bleeding more a few days ago and seemed weak, the lump had shrunk (it did that once before) so I thought it was good that the lump was draining. He was still happy to go out and lay by the pasture gate watching over his herd of two horses.
This is all sort of rambling, I am sorry. Anyway, I contribute the Peroxicam, no-grain diet, his active life, and my tolerance for cleaning up the messes, to his long life. He was 14 years and 8 months old. - Ginger

Anonymous said...

amazed at the wealth of information & very grateful my staffie donut has a huge nasal mass which has grown behind his eye too & is distorting & displacing it-sadly we have found out much too late & it is inoperable-its comforting to be able to get information & tips to help him & I thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I found this site too by googling canine nasal cancer. My 12.5 year old schnauzer was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma a year ago by biopsy. We took her to an oncologist who said radiation was a treatment, but one with sever side effects, especially with an older dog with a heart problem already. And it would only give her a couple of extra months. Her prognosis was 2-5 months. Here we are a year later and she's still here and doing relatively well. As others have said, I deal with the sometimes nose bleeds, the wet nose, the finding a dog food easy for her to eat and the meds. I give her Peroxicam 2.5 mg daily and on/off again antibiotics and some other stuff (like fish oil, papaya extract and NK-9). It's rough and takes alot of care and time to administer the med and watch for changes, but it's paid off and easier than the radiation would have been for her. Just wanted to share my story and tell others to keep up the hope.

Kristen Virago said...

Just wanted to update and let everyone now my hollz is doing very well. She has outlived her diagnosis by almost a year and a half with the help of a lot of TLC, a long lasting anti-histamine, wellness holistic food and she's talking a small dose of an anti-inflammatory for her legs and hips. I wish vets would be more cautious about prognosis and expected times of death, etc. although I know they try to prepare you for the worst. But as my vet says "Medicine is more of an art than a science." He can't explain why her nose isn't totally a mess right now. It's sort of an educated guess.

Thanks for everyone's input on this site. Stay strong. Sending light and love to all of you and your pooches. This is really hard stuff to deal with.

But we'll keep on keeping on :)

Anonymous said...

An update: I had to put my baby down last night. Even though I only posted last week or two things went bad that quick. 4 days ago I realized the tumor was growing down into her mouth. 3 days ago there was blood tinged saliva. 2 days ago there was blood. Yesterday so much blood...I knew it was time. The piroxicam kept her feeling well until the end, for that I'm glad. I miss her, but my heart knew it was time and I'm grateful I had her for so long and that I could let her go peacefully without much suffering. Maybe one day we'll have better treatments.

Dena said...

Our 6 year old Rottweiler, Cooper has had bleeding out of the left side for several months. At first the vet thought it was a foxtail or fungal infection but all tests came up negative & his nose kept bleeding. We finally decided to do a CT Scan and sadly cooper does have a nasal tumor. We are waiting for biopsy results to see if radiation is an option. My family is heartbroken at the thought of loosing Cooper. I'm really glad i found this blog. It's somewhat comforting to know i'm not alone.


Anonymous said...

Feb 2011, a friend sent me this link and I have learned more from your blog than any of the medical sites.
My 12 yr old Catahoula, Kate, has a nasal tumor. I will ask about the peroxicam and different types of antibiotics. Thank you for the information. She's on benadryl, which helps but yesterday she had a sneezing fit and blood was everywhere. I've upped the dosage and gave her some amoxicillin per my vet . We are going to a holistic vet Saturday to try and manage her symptoms. She eats well and is happy to go for walks, I just want to make whatever time she has left as happy and pain free as possible.

Kristen Virago said...

I also go to a holistic vet and it's been almost 3 years to date when the biopsy came back positive. My traditional vet was able to remove the polyp and my Golden has been cancer free ever since, if it's any consolation. It's a tough diagnosis to swallow, but please don't give up hope!

Patty Lane said...

Kristen you say a polyp was removed, is that the same as a nasal tumor? I'm not going the surgical/radiation route but am wondering what your vet is using on your dog. So happy to hear your dog is cancer free.

Kristen Virago said...

It was a small growth that he removed. He called it a polyp and he biopsied it and it was positive. Then he removed. I'm assuming polyp is the same as a tumor. Was definitely growing and was causing an obstruction. Is that what you mean?

Katiesmom said...

My dog Katie, an 11 year old golden retriever mix was diagnosed with nasal cancer that has pushing into the brain. We found this out after she had a seizure last week. We start on palliative radiation next week. Does any one out ther have an experience with their dogs tumors spreading to the brain and outcomes?

Patty Lane said...

3/19/11 Katiesmom: I don't have experience with it going as far as seizures, my vet told me that could happen. I'm sorry to say that I don't believe the radiation will do any good. I wish you the best.
My girl Kate's breathing is getting very difficult. It's odd, she eats well and has gained weight since our diagnosis a month ago. I thought lack of appetite would be the sign to look for, now I know it's inability to breathe. We see the holistic vet tomorrow to learn more about the progression but I fear we don't have much more time.

Anonymous said...

Yukon was just six weeks shy of his 15th birthday when we laid him to rest. I knew from the get-go that he had nasal cancer by the way there was always blood in his snotty nose. Knowing there's no cure for it we opted to use no treatment, just gave him anything he wanted and treated him like a king. He had has good days and his bad days but the night he hemorraged so badly was when we realized he wasn't going to get better. Last Monday, April 11, 2011 we made the decision to stop his suffering altogether. He had a GREAT last day. We took him to the park overlooking Pike's Peak where he enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine and softness of the grass underneath him. We were all together (we have a 5 year old Golden Retriever; Jane) and spent beautiful quality time with him. He loved Jane who came into our home when she was 8 weeks old (Yukon was 19 years old already). He was so tolerant of her and never once in all these years did Yukon ever become angry with her. Genuine love.. we know we made the right decision for Yukon as he is resting now, here, with us. We brought him home and buried him facing the house and the sunshine. We're at a 10,000 foot elevation where we live (in Colorado) and he was in his glory when it snowed. The colder the better to! He's lying on his favorite cushion and is wrapped warmly inside his favorite blanket. I dropped a plastic baggie inside his grave which contained 2 beef flavored doggy biscuits, a denta-bone and a note of love and thanks. I'm happy he's with us in body and spirit. We had adopted Yukon when he was 7 years old; I don't know who made out better from the adoption; him or us. We loved him so. Roxanne & Larry

Kristen Virago said...

How beautiful. So moved. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I am thrilled to find this blog. I have a 13 (almost 14) year old lab, just diagnosed with nasal squamous cell carcinoma. Just started radiation treatments yesterday ( 19 all together) and hoping this was the right way to go at her age. She is healthy otherwise.

Katie Muzyka said...

It looks like my dog may have nasal cancer too. He's bleeding from his nose pretty much constantly and that is the only thing the vet will diagnose. That being said he hasn't been officially diagnosed yet because the vet says that even if he finds something he would advise against treatment. He's 15 and i've had him since i was 8. I know that it is not right to put him through treatment at his age. He doesn't deserve to be put through something that terrible but i really don't want to loose him.

Anonymous said...

Glad I found this. My "son" Atlas has a mass in his nose that the Dr took a biopsy of today. Says it will take about a week to get the results. I am so afraid it is going to be cancer. I pray that it isn't. The symptom that prompted me to see the vet was a bloody nose (left side). It slowed and stopped after about 24hrs. He does have some clear "runny nose" discharge from either side and will occasionally have a bout of reverse sneezing. He litterally is like my child as I bottle fed him as a pup do to his momma passing. He is now 7.

Anonymous said...

Your blog really helped. Thank you!

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Cari said...

My 6 year old Rottweiler was diagnosed with a nasal tumor yesterday after 2 bloody nose episodes in the last 6 months. I've spent the last 2 days sorting through our options. I can't bare the thought of loosing our battle begins. We will start with peroxicam and benedryl. Thank you for this blog!! I feel more informed and I know our time with him maybe short but I will cherish everyday we have.

Kimberly said...

Our 9 1/2 year old Husky Liberty was just diagnosed with nasel cancer yesterday. I found this by googling to try and see how long we might have with her. Except for her breathing and the bloody noses (we had a bad one the other day with blood everywhere and tissue coming out) she is still our Libby. We are going to talk to the oncologist today but after talking with the vet we know we can not afford the radiation treatment. It will be over $5000 and we just don't have it. We just want more time with her!

Cari said...

My Sasouwa is blind now and I was wondering if anyone else experienced the same with their dog? We are losing this battle and I know our time is short. God bless my Sasouwa when he arrives. He has brought so much joy to my life. I will miss him terribly.

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rita said...

Hello, Just happened to come across your web site - A tremendous Heart You & Yours Have.
Just learning about nasal tumor on my 7yr old male beagle. Not a easy time for the animal. Your advice on the medication is Highly informative, Thank you for the input and time to write your story, all was very interesting and much more.

Anonymous said...

My girl Lola has the nasal cancer too. I really appreciate all the comments and the sharing of experiences. Laini, thank you for making this exchange of information available. Lola is lucky, only the serous discharge, slight difficulty breathing, and pitting of the nose just above the the tip of her nose (so far). As I look back, there were tell-tale symptoms some time back. Since she is basically my first dog, I had no idea there was something horrible developing. I ended up here while searching for information on palliative care for this condition. What everyone has shared has been enormously helpful. Lola and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you Laini, Shiloh and Leroy for your life-extending gifts to all of us searching for a way to keep our babies comfy and with us just a little bit longer. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Our Airedale had radiation for a nasal carcinoma and the area directly affected by the radiation, his eye and nose, is raw burn. In the other areas, his nose and other eye, the hair is falling out and his skin is still "normal." Does anyone know if ALL of the area where skin has fallen out will turn into burn? or just the area directly affected? If anyone has experience with this, or with any helpful tips for easing the pain of radiation burn for dogs, it would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you!

Candy said...

I too have a dog with carcinoma in her nasal passage. She has been with me for 11 years now. She has all the classic signs and the vet confirmed it this morning. He did not recommend radiation or surgery due to her condition. I don't know when to put her down. I do not want her to suffer and do not quite know what to do. Her name is Sandy. We just lost our other dog Simba to Cancer(another type in his organs) He was 13. He died 3 months ago. Sandy stills runs and barks at the mailman and wags her tail when I call her but she seems like she has so much difficulty breathing. If anyone has any advice just e-mail me at

Michelle said...

A couple of months ago, my Rudy woke up with a stuffy nose. We treated him with Benadryl, but it never really cleared up. Last week, his vet examined him and told me it could be anything from allergies to cancer. He gave him a steroid shot and antibiotics. Five days later, he had a nose bleed. The blood was bright red and didn't have mucus or anything else in it. It bled for 5-10 mins, then he was "back to normal." I contacted his vet and he told me he has now moved a tumor or cancer to the front of the list. I did my best not to cry during this phone call. I made an appointment for tomorrow morning for him to get x-rays so the vet can maybe see what's going on "up there." I'm trying to remain optimistic, but I'm also preparing myself for the worse. I've already decided I'm not going to let him suffer, just because I don't wanna lose him. He has always trusted me to protect him and I refuse to let him down. I know when it's my time to go, I'll see him again.

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Anonymous said...

Lovely stories here, I'm going through the same with my 14and half yr old staffie! I live in scotland and paid a donation for my staffie from a rescue centre 12yrs ago! She adapted immediately to my home and two cats! Just been diagnosed with nasal cancer at old age, vets gave me meds to treat at home for her last few months. She is getting short of breath now at nights but like a new dog in day!?? I'm waiting till she doessnae greet me any are and then I will finally get vet tae come tae my home and bring "buffy hame"! She deserves the best! I love ma wee bu choir! Xxxxxxxxxxxx

Unknown said...

Just want to post to offer hope to anyone whose pet has been diagnosed with nasal cancer. My black lab mix, Ben, was treated successfully five years ago with radiation and I'm happy to report he is almost 13 now and he is doing great. My best wishes to you all.

Unknown said...

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Three years ago I was diagnosed with GBM after a CAT scan. I went through neurosurgery, radiation, and 14 months of chemo treatments but the symptoms all remained and even doubled, the constant thundering headache, seizures was twice than it was before, i could no longer think straight and i had constant mood swing and trouble speaking i was almost feeling at the gate of hell because these symptoms were unbearable. I am retired but very active spending my time to make the world a better place. I retired from a career in law and non-profit administration, and judging from how active i was this new life was not working and i was patiently waiting for when i will give up the ghost. My husband never accepted the fact that he will lose me to the cold hands of death which was what made him to seek other treatment options and that was how he came across "elixir" a herbal medicine treatment which i took for 12 weeks and it gave me a second chance in life, gave me a new life and totally cured me of my cancer. My neurologist had told me before then while i was at the hospital that i had less than 4 months with the rate at which the tumor was growing and expanding. I am happy today because i am completely free of cancer because i have ran several tests and diagnosis because i am still in shock on the efficacy of elixir. Never give up hope or rely only on chemo or other surgical treatments because herbs work too, i never believed until now that i have experienced it. You can contact doctor Rahul personally for advise, counselling and how to get elixir on I am grateful for every day that I am still alive and well.

Anonymous said...

My 10 year old dachshund was recently diagnosed with a nasal tumor. She’s having a hard time and I’m falling apart. I’ve never had a pet euthanized and am scared we are headed that direction. Prednisone is helping her breathe better but she struggles. She has always depended on me to take care of her and it’s so hard when there is nothing I can do to help her. I’m just so sad. She’s the sweetest soul.