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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Nasal Cancer, in memory of Max the Police Dog

Updated: December 18th, 2018

A friend told me about this story. I have not been in the habit of writing about media news in this blog, but this story caught my attention and could be used to expound on nasal tumors in dogs.

Max, a Springer spaniel, passed away in Britain due to nasal cancer. He spent his days helping the police find drugs, specifically cocaine. I was saddened to hear of this ironic, dark twist. I am sorry, Max. I hope you are at peace.

Common cancers that affect the nasal sinus in dogs are squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, melanoma, and rarely, transmissible venereal tumors.

Nasal cancer has been chalked up to several different carcinogens. Some of the most common airborne ones are in pesticides, herbicides, kerosene, fossil fuel emissions (from gas and diesel engines, industry and the like), and cigarette smoke. Here are some examples

2,4-D is a carcinogen found in over 1000 herbicides.

Nitrogen dioxide is a biggy too, leading to chronic lung disease, at least in humans. It is likely, but not proven yet, to cause nasal sinus disease too.

Oxygen-derived free radicals in smog are a likely (speculated) risk factor for DNA mutations leading to cancer.

Long-nosed dogs have a higher nasal cancer rate when inhaling second hand smoke particles. Short or medium nosed dogs have higher lung cancer rates due to the second hand smoke.

Asbestos exposure in dogs have higher rates of a cancer called mesothelioma, and people exposed to it get lung cancers.

So keep your dog away from these things as much as possible, and while you are at it, keep yourself away as well.

Best to all,

Dr Dressler


Leave a Comment

  1. Carine lankford on October 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    To Lesley Sey:
    I had the same symptoms with my dog but also lots of sneezing. An x-ray is useless. Only a ct scan can show them what they need to see. I got the ct scan and she does have cancer. I have a consult tomorrow for radiation treatment but not sure I will choose to do it because of the side affects.

  2. Lesley Sey on September 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I have a 10 year old Welsh Collie cross and he keeps bleeding from the left nostril on and off. I have taken him to the vets and they have done a head x-ray and cannnot see any growths, but advised me they cannot rule out that it is not cancer because they cannot see behind the bone in the nose. He breathes fast, shallow breaths. I don’t know what to do. Any advice?



  3. martha on September 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Butch was diagnosed in nov,2008. the vet hospital at auburn university stated he had only four weeks, he is still with me. could not afford the treatments. the cancer it visible from the top of his nose. he does not appear to be suffering, but how can i be sure? the energy he once had is gone, he uses all his energy to breath. he has lost so much weight, even though he continues to eat. it breaks my heart to watch him trying to sleep. when is enough, enough. i hope i am not being selfish keeping him here with me. i don’t know.

    • Dr. Dressler on September 10, 2009 at 8:52 am

      I am sorry to hear how hard this is. I would use the Dog Cancer Survival Guide’s section on life quality analysis. I have also blogged on this topic here in the Dog Cancer Blog. How many positives are left in Butche’s life, versus how many have lost? Try to look at the big picture. Always remember to use compassion for your loved dog as your compass.

  4. geo mer on May 27, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Sorry to hear so many pooches with cancer; our vet on exam#4 and consult#3 has about 4 options after lab-tests/Labmix/one ofwhich is hermangiosarcoma (if that be the case, “thinking” brain or nose or mouth (head) as head seems sensitive and also bleeding from nose (both nostrils); parasites were still “on-the-table” so giving dog his summer dose heart-guard, beginning one wk early (usually begin in June which covers May (1 mo prior). This is our 4th adopted dog from county-pound,had since 6mo. and 1st-dog which has been more of “mom’s dog” (v.s. dad’s dog); it will be difficult as put so much love, time, energy into this “particular” dog after a child’s passing.(need not say more/you get it). Overall, gotta say, that the “first” options of “diabetes &/or cancer” b-e-f-o-r-e any, were seemingly “guesswork” as would not wish to have any of kids taken to fam.dr.and told, “well, it’s diabetes and/or cancer,” but, the sig.other was the “dog-parent” for 1st appt. (good idea to go with your co-dog-parent). While lab. results on paper, so many ways in which they may be “read.” Since “our” pooch is 10 1/2 and we do “not” know his first 6mo., gauging his arthritis and his immobility, to go beyond this point of “all-so-far” including difficulty in getting dog onto table, finding veins for bloodwk., and putting dog through “anxiety” alone, this current “last-try” of antibiotics and prednisone will most likely be our “last-stand.” Since the co-parent believes in “shoot&bury” (vets getting $77, told sig other that “we” still bury with the $77(that is if sig other’s mind remembers correctly). How sad that so much is written and so many went ahead and had operation/further tx, to “no avail” items online sites. Thanx for the site, here; thanx for the willingness of others to share their experiences/cancer/canines.

  5. […] Nasal Cancer, and Max the Police Dog […]

  6. Susan on February 21, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Dr. Dressler, I recently lost a dog to hermangio sarcoma, a tumor inside (which I was told was unusual in and of itself) the heart and upon its’ removal was also growing on the outside. The sonogogram also indicated spots on the liver and pancreas and liver and spots on the lungs. Three weeks before he was a happy, healthy dog. Is this type of cancer unsual in dogs? It all just happened so, so quickly. No warning, nothing that I could do to save his life.

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