Allergies associated with Rhinitis and Sinusitis
Last week we dealt with Sinusitis and Rhinitis (in Greek, Rhis means nose) as being the result of nose infections, or as an accompaniment to special viral diseases of Canine Distemper, Parainfluenza, etc. Well that’s true but not the sole truth. I have been reminded that allergies can bring about Sinusitis or a Rhinitis. In these allergy-based ailments, pollen particles floating in the air is one of the disease-precipitating culprits. Ordinary dust in the general environment and/or in the home can be associated with allergic reactions. In the dry season, we veterinarians encounter several cases of nasal ailments resulting from dust/pollen allergies.
Allergic Sinusitis and Rhinitis can also be associated with other environmental irritants such as cigarette smoke (second-hand inhalation of the nicotine and tar emanating from the cigarette), burning of sugar cane during harvesting, moulds (fungal spores floating in the dry air), gases/exhaust fumes (especially in the urban areas).
In addition, scientists have found that (the excess of) abnormal odours like perfumes contained in the care-giver’s toiletries, and even in air fresheners can themselves cause allergic reactions or at least complicate and aggravate already existing bacterial/viral problems in the nostrils and sinuses. And, of course, the exposure of the dog to toxic chemicals such as those found in herbicides and pesticides (especially in farming areas) are equally guilty in helping to irritate the mucous membrane linings of the nostrils.
I recall once a case where the Rhinitis/Sinusitis was being precipitated by the spray paint (of a next door panel beater) wafting directly into the kennel of dog who just could not escape the toxic fumes.
Actually, sneezing must be recognized as a symptom and not as a disease in itself. Sneezing is an attempt to clear the upper airways of the pussy (purulent) or slimy discharge. It is seen most frequently during the sudden onset (acute) of the Rhinitis condition. As the Rhinitis progresses into the more established (chronic) form, the sneezing becomes less (intermittent).
Of course, any foreign body, such as a grass seed, would result in a frantic and frenzied sneezing. Usually, in such cases, the discharge is from one nostril only. Also, you may notice that the dog is pawing at one side of its face or rubbing one nostril on the ground. Sometimes, accompanying the sneezing is a bloody discharge or fluid tinged with blood.
Tumours/Polyps or bacterial/viral/fungal based diseases in the nasal area might be exhibited as a sneezing in one nostril only; later the sneezing is accompanied by slime or pus or blood coming from both nostrils.
Since we posited that the initial/primary causes of Rhinitis and Sinusitis are mostly viral (see TPC 4th Oct, 2015), supportive therapy may be more conventional in nature. I am convinced — based on decades of dealing with these nasal ailments — that once the supportive interventions take place early and with the help of knowledgeable technical expertise, the Rhinitis and Sinusitis symptoms will go away, especially if the dog is well-fed and generally well-cared for.
Make sure your dog continues to eat and drink when it is suffering from any sort of nasal problem; remember that most of a dog’s ability to “taste” food resides in its nose, and if the dog can’t smell the food, it may not want to eat it. Furthermore, even a mild fever will quickly dehydrate a sick animal, and if you can’t get it to drink at home, consider a trip to the vet for him/her to administer fluids.
My research in preparing for this topic of nose ailments shows that there may be some alternative treatments, the implementation of which I have not much or no experience.
- Acupuncture (this intervention would most often be aimed at enhancing the immune function of the dog’s body, and treating the lungs.
- Homoeopathic remedies.
- Herbal medicines.
- Aroma therapy.
- Flower essences.
Well, we have come to the end of this conversation on nasal ailments. Quickly, in summary, let me remind that the dog’s nose may be his most powerful organ, and it is certainly one of the most dynamic of all animal systems, with activities that range from basic smell detection, to sensing fear, to memory, to emotions, to mate and pack selection, or to a genetic history carried from one generation to the next. Fortunately, these nasal ailments do not often destroy the dog’s functional capability, and fortunately again, most of the diseases of the nose are relatively easily treated.
Enjoy the week ahead.
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 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.