Rhinitis in dogs is much more than just a runny nose; it is a potentially extremely dangerous condition. It can also cause nose bleeds to occur, ocular discharge, as well as something very sinister in your dog; facial deformity. In fact, this condition can become so serious that if develops into a chronic condition; there is no known cure for it. It can and does affect all breeds at any age, although long nosed breeds and young dogs are slightly more at risk. What is it? Rhinitis in dogs is also referred to as sinusitis, and because of the second name, it is very often misconstrued by owners as simply being a sinus problem that causes a runny nose. The fact is there could be nothing further from the truth. It is an inflammation of your dogs mucous membrane linings in their nose as well as their sinus, and it comes in two forms; acute and chronic. The acute form will be a very sudden occurrence that will only last for a short period of time. If your dog is lucky, they will only develop this one and done form of this condition. However, if they are not lucky, they may develop a chronic form of rhinitis, which can be controlled, but it cannot be cured. Rhinitis in dogs is not extremely common, but it anything but uncommon. It also has another very interesting twist to it; it can be caused by infectious diseases or noninfectious diseases. There is one thing that is common in both types; there is usually a secondary bacterial infection that is one of the major causes. For this reason, it is very important to catch it as early as you can to assist your veterinarian in identifying the actual underlying cause. There are several different treatments, but they will vary tremendously depending on the actual cause. This condition can be very mild and quite slow in developing and showing any symptoms, or it can occur very rapidly and be extremely devastating to your dog with very severe symptoms. Symptoms: Rhinitis in dogs in both acute and chronic forms, will usually first show its ugly head with your dog starting to sneeze. Sneezing in dogs is not as serious as coughing, but it is a very close second. All dogs will sneeze on occasion, but this will be a series of sneezing events that will very quickly be followed by nasal discharge. This is where the misconception with this condition comes in, as the runny nose is not the final sum of symptoms, but rather just the beginning. If it is mild and acute, it may disappear quickly, and if it does, your dog is very fortunate. However, too often this condition goes into the next set of symptoms, which is bleeding from the nose. Once this occurs, your dog will naturally start to paw at their nose, which only makes the condition worse. The next sign is usually halitosis, or a very sudden bad breath, that may quickly be followed by ulcerations or depigmentation of their dark colors around the nose. It if develops into the next stages, it can be devastating to your dog, as ocular discharge may occur that is quickly followed by facial deformities. Causes: There are two potential underlying causes of Rhinitis in dogs, infectious diseases and non-infectious diseases. The first type of an infectious cause will be from viral infections, and the most common are adenovirus, canine distemper, and the para-influenza virus. Fungal infections include aspergillus, blastomycosis, and rhinosporidiosis. It may also be caused by parasitic infections; however, it is believed that in the majority of cases the actual underlying cause is from a bacterial infection. The most common bacterial infections include Bordatella or Pasturella. There are also several potential non-infectious diseases or traumas that can set it off. Dental diseases can very easily trigger Rhinitis, as well as a condition referred to as Oronasal fistula. This is best defined as the communication between your dog's nasal area and their mouth that results in a loss of integrity of the bones. It is usually the result of some type of a trauma that occurred in your dog. It does not end there, however. Non-infectious diseases or causes may also be the result of a plant material or stones that have become logged in your dog's nasal area, or the result of an allergic reaction or some type of irritant. This would include mold, pollen, or worse yet for your dog, cigarette smoke. Cancer can also trigger it, especially lymphoma and adenocarcinoma tumors or growths. Treatments: Rhinitis in dogs has several forms of treatment, but like any disease or condition that is threatening your dog, the underlying cause must first be identified. If there is some type of obstruction that is causing the inflammation, even if it is visible, leave it to your veterinarian to remove. It is very important to understand that this has caused inflammation to occur, and the area affected is in an extremely delicate part of your dog's body. However, if you do suspect that your dog has developed Rhinitis, there is one thing that you can and should do until you can have them treated; humidify their environment. Whatever the underlying cause is, keeping their nose and external nares as clean and dry as you can is extremely helpful. In fact, most all veterinarians will recommend this process not only in the initial stages, but long term as well. If the underlying cause is termed to be a fungal infection, there are very effective antifungal treatments that are topical or can be placed surgically into your dogs sinuses. If the underlying cause is from an allergic reaction or from an immune related condition, corticosteroids may be used. These are very effective, but there are some owners that want nothing to do with them as they do have several potential side effects Summary: Rhinitis in dogs may be acute where it is only a temporary issue and will only happen once in your dog. However, if it becomes chronic, there is no known cure for it and therapy will most likely be a lifelong endeavor once it reaches this stage. The most important thing to watch for is sneezing in your dog that is persistent. If your dog does start to sneeze, take it very seriously as they may be in the formative stages of this dangerous condition.