Nasal ‘warts’

Really, this condition of the nose tip has little to do with warts.  The correct name for this ailment is Hyperkeratosis.  It is really a callus development on the nose.  The black part becomes dry, rough and thickened.  Growths then appear later.

Dr  Steve Surujbally
Dr Steve Surujbally

I suppose that’s why people speak of warts.  Like true warts, the origin of this condition is unknown.  As the malady progresses, the skin of the nose can actually crack, thus allowing infectious agents (germs) to gain entrance to and encamp on raw tissue.  Sometimes (and this I have actually seen on more than one occasion), the black pigmentation of the nose is lost.

I would suggest that you do not try to pare away the hard tissue with a knife or razor blade.  You might cause a severe bleeding which you would not be easily able to stanch.  Your vet knows what he/she is about and will expertly cut off the hard, callused tissue.

The problem is that the wart-like material tends to grow back.  The trick, I find, is to keep the nose tip constantly moist and well lubricated.  Since bacterial invasion is always imminent (especially in cracked skin), one could use an antibiotic ointment.  In this way, the nose tip is kept lubricated while bacterial growth is repressed.  Of course, petroleum jelly/vaseline (mixed with yellow sulphur powder) could work just as well.

In connection with this problem of nasal callus, perhaps I should mention that, as a sequel to the canine distemper disease, the nose tissue (and the soles of the paws – that’s why distemper is also known as ‘hardpad’ disease) become similarly tough, dry and thick.  If the dog recovers from the canine distemper, the hardened tissue of the sole and nose disappears.

Nasal mites

You may recall that we had discussed mites as tiny insects which thrive off of living tissues, usually of the skin.  There is a condition in dogs whereby the nasal cavity and/or the paranasal sinuses are infested with mites.  This is a difficult disease to diagnose.  Most infections are coincidental findings during a post mortem examination.

The symptoms, when there are any, would be an accumulation of mucus and a mild increase in the temperature of the mucous membrane lining of the nostrils.  Sometimes, there might be a severe Rhinitis (see next week’s ‘Pet Corner’), which starts out as an irritation (caused by various stimuli) of the mucous membrane of the nose followed by secondary bacterial infection.

The treatment of the nasal mites entails the gentle painting of the inner surface of the nostrils with a miticide. Expect sneezing. It is better for the vet to carry out this manoeuvre.

On the issue of nasal mites, I should mention that in rabbits, mites are fairly common external parasites.  These mites, in addition to infecting the ears, paws and even the body, attack the nose as well.  The scabies mite in rabbits can also infect humans.  The condition is treated successfully with any reputable miticide.
Foreign bodies in the nose

Over my 40 years as a veterinarian, I must have withdrawn every type of material/substance from dogs’ noses.  Splinters of wood, plastic or pieces of bone are regular culprits.  The odd fish bone, fishhook and sewing needles have also found their way into the nasal cavity.  I dare say grass seeds and insects are the major foreign invaders of the nostrils, but by the time the animal arrives at the clinic, the ant or grass seed would, in all likelihood, have been sneezed out.

If the foreign body remains stuck in the nasal cavity, it can create great damage to the surrounding tissue and the dog’s attempt to dislodge the foreign body could result in ruptured blood vessels and great haemorrhage.  Usually, only one nostril is involved.

Please do not attempt to take out the foreign substance, unless you can actually see it, and it can easily be removed with tweezers.  Other than that, the animal should be completely sedated or even totally anaesthetised, before any attempt at removal is undertaken.  Obviously, only your vet can undertake such an intervention.

Have a pleasant week.

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.  Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

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