What's Your Diagnosis - Swollen Dog Nose

  • 01 of 06

    Swollen dog nose - side view

    Swollen nose in a dog by SouthCare Animal Medical Center
    Swollen nose in a dog. by SouthCare Animal Medical Center

    This dog was presented for a very swollen nose, appearing just this morning. She was fine the night before, according to her owners. Nothing else out of order.

    Due to the 'sudden' nature of the swollen appearance, an allergic reaction was the first suspect.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Swollen dog nose - close up view

    Swollen nose close-up by SouthCare Animal Medical Center
    Swollen nose close-up. by SouthCare Animal Medical Center

    The swelling did not go down with allergic reaction medications (Dexamethasone and diphenhydramine).

    The next step was to take radiographs of the nose and skull to see if perhaps a tumor or foreign body was in the nasal area causing the swelling. Sometimes tumors "quietly" grow, then erupt with infection.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Radiograph (x-ray) of the swollen nose - side view

    Nose radiograph lateral view by SouthCare Animal Medical Center
    Nose radiograph lateral view. by SouthCare Animal Medical Center

    The radiographs showed "something" there - a tumor? Fluid?

    The area in question is just in front of the incisor teeth - the medium white area (opacity) just in front of the upper jaw.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Radiograph (x-ray) of the swollen nose - top view

    Nose radiograph ventrodorsal view by SouthCare Animal Medical Center
    Nose radiograph ventrodorsal view. by SouthCare Animal Medical Center

    The tissue to the front and sides of the jaw is markedly swollen, with more uniform opacity on the right side.

    The next step was to perform a Fine Needle Aspirate to take a look at the cells making up this swollen mass.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Not what was expected

    Ralph - by greenkozi on Flickr
    Ralph. by greenkozi on Flickr

    What happened next, after the needle was inserted to collect a specimen, was the release of a lot of smelly, stinky pus. (Sorry no photo.)

    The large mass was an abscess. First on the rule out list was a grass awn, common in the area that this dog lives.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    The likely culprit

    Porcupine quills by Southcare Animal Medical Center
    Porcupine quills. by SouthCare Animal Medical Center

    However, upon further questioning, it was determined that this dog had a run-in with a porcupine two weeks earlier. The quills were removed at home, but one must have broken off worked its way in and was missed, causing it to form this abscess.

    The area was flushed out well, but no quill remnants were found. This one will need monitoring for future problems. Hopefully, the foreign body was small and flushed out in the process.

    This photo depicts the colors and size variations of porcupine quills....MORE The quills are hollow and black tips break off easily. In this dog, finding small black quills on a black nose and muzzle are difficult at best. Especially two weeks after the incident.

    After a thorough flushing of the abscess and some antibiotics, this dog was happy and good to go. Hopefully, she will steer clear of those porcupines.

    Please note: this article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.