Polyps are lumps of excessive scar tissue that grow on mucous membranes. Inside the nasal cavity they can cause irritation or blockage of the nose.
The first symptoms of a nasal polyp are usually reoccurring sneezes that persist over a longer period of time. Nasal discharge is common, and can contain traces of blood. Usually the discharge is unilateral, occurring being ejected from both nostrils. If the polyp impairs breathing, dyspnea (labored breathing), and depression can occur. Also, due to the clogging of the airways by the polyp, the animal's breathing can sound raspy.
Younger dogs, especially those under five years of age, may suffer from the formation of polyps. Chronic upper airway inflammation often contributes to their development. Polyps are also seen in middle ear infections, and can progress through the pharynx and into the nasal cavity. Polyps usually do not cause symptoms before reaching a certain size and irritate the surrounding mucosa. In severe cases, the nose can be completely blocked.
Polyps can be detected by an x-ray or endoscopy. The quality of the overgrown tissue has to be analyzed through a biopsy in order to rule out malignant growth in the affected area. Surgical excision is usually the treatment of choice. If the polyp is located in an inconvenient location, or the patient is deemed unfit for anesthesia, improvement might be achieved through anti-inflammatory drugs that can shrink the polyp in size.
If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from the formation of a nasal polyp, please consult your veterinarian.