Nasopharyngeal Stenosis in Dogs
Nasopharyngeal stenosis is a narrowing of one of the four portions of the nasal cavity on either side of nasal septum. Any of the four portions can be affected, which include the common, inferior, middle, and superior portions. The nasal septum is the part of nose that separates the two airways in the nostrils.
The narrowing may occur due to the formation of a thin but tough membrane in the passage of the nasal cavity. Chronic inflammation and subsequent fibrosis (formation of excess fibrous tissue) after an infection is one of the probable causes. Also, inflammation after chronic regurgitation, or vomiting of acidic material may be suspected as a causative factor. This problem is not common in dogs.
Symptoms and Types
- Whistling or snoring noise
- Difficulty when breathing
- Breathing with open mouth
- Nasal discharge in some patients
- Aggravation of symptoms during eating
- Failure to respond to conventional therapy, including antibiotics
- Upper respiratory infections and diseases
- Foreign body or any irritant contacting affected area
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background medical history and onset of symptoms. After taking a complete history, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination, with standard laboratory tests including a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. The results of these routine laboratory tests usually return within normal ranges. Outward symptoms will suggest a need for radiographic studies, including X-rays and computed tomography (CT-scan) to diagnose the narrowing of the nasal passage. Your veterinarian may also pass a catheter through nasal passage or use a bronchoscope for further confirmation.
Surgery is the treatment of choice in affected patients. The membrane will be excised and the wound sutured. A less invasive technique your veterinarian may use is balloon dilatation, by which a small balloon is inserted into the compromised nasal space and then slowly filled with air in order to widen the narrow passage. Balloon dilatation is usually performed using fluoroscopy, which provides real time moving images and simplifies the procedure. If surgery is conducted, antibiotics will be prescribed for few days to prevent infections.
Living and Management
Recurrence is not uncommon in patients that have had nasopharyngeal stenosis, even after successful surgery or balloon dilation treatment. In such cases a second procedure may be necessary for treatment. Watch your dog for any recurrence of symptoms and consult your veterinarian immediately if they should become apparent. Your dog may feel very sore after surgery and may need pain killers for a few days until the wound has healed completely. You may also need to administer antibiotics at home for few days after surgery. Give all prescribed medications at their proper dosage and time to enhance recovery time for your dog.
While your dog is recovering, avoid using products which may irritate its nasal passages, including scented floor products and air fresheners.