Stenotic nares are nasal abnormalities commonly found in
brachycephalic cats and dogs.
These abnormalities are caused by a congenital nasal cartilage
malformation that creates narrowed nostrils (“nares” means
“nostrils”). These smaller nasal openings can limit airflow to
the respiratory system.
Most often stenotic nares are due to selective breeding for a
short-nosed appearance. The nose and face of brachycephalic
breeds have a pushed-in appearance: “brachy” means shortened
and “cephalic” means head. Flat-faced dog breeds like
English Toy Spaniels, and Chow
Chows and cat breeds like
Burmese are all at risk of stenotic nares and the health
complications that come with them.
How Will I Know if My Pet Has Stenotic Nares?
Pinched or narrow nostrils are the most common way to identify
stenotic nares, and are present at birth. But the respiratory
difficulties that are symptomatic of an issue with the stenotic
nares may not begin until the dog or cat is several years old.
Symptoms of respiratory difficulty or airway resistance caused
by stenotic nares and brachycephalic syndrome include the
- Noisy breathing, particularly when inhaling
Lethargy or tiring during
- Blue gums or skin (cyanosis)
Treatments for Stenotic Nares
Because the condition is hereditary, stenotic nares are not
preventable. The only way to prevent pets from being born with
stenotic nares is to not breed them, so the condition can’t be
passed to their offspring.
Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition by
examining your dog or cat’s nostrils and considering their
breed. Diagnostic tests may then be needed to examine your
pet’s respiratory health. Stenotic nares are often accompanied
by other brachycephalic abnormalities that can affect health.
Once diagnosed, treatments may be medical or surgical.
For mild symptoms, your vet may recommend managing the
condition with lifestyle changes. Healthy eating and exercise
are keys to maintaining a healthy weight, which avoids
straining your pet’s lungs. Avoiding environmental stressors
like high heat and humidity can also help. For dogs, switching
to a harness-style leash may be recommended to avoid strain on
airways. Anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, and oxygen
therapy may also be prescribed for short-term, mild relief of
Restrictive airway disorders can be progressive and worsen
without treatment. Your vet may determine that surgical
correction is the best option for treating your pet’s stenotic
nares. They can be surgically corrected by removing nostril
tissue to widen the openings and improve airflow. Before
symptoms become severe, surgical prognosis is generally
Even after a surgery, you may have to maintain lifestyle habits
with your brachycephalic pet, including keeping a healthy weight, avoiding overly
hot weather, and monitoring exercise.
Serious repercussions often lead to them bloody noses. Knowing
them at length can help you have better solutions in place.
What Causes Bloody Noses In Dogs And Cats?
If you’ve ever had a nosebleed, you know how alarming it can
be. The same is true if you’ve ever had a pet with a nosebleed.
When blood comes out of your pet’s nose -- whether in the form
of a sneeze or a steady drip from one or both nostrils -- it is
not normal, and it is important to identify the cause. While
some pet nosebleeds may be the result of something minor,
others can point to a more serious disease.
What to Do if Your Pet Gets a Nosebleed
First things first: if your dog or cat gets a nosebleed, you’ll
want to try to stop the bleeding.
- Remain calm. If your pet sees that you are upset or
frantic, it may raise their blood pressure, which can result in
- Make an ice pack and apply it to the bridge of your pet’s
nose, ensuring that they are still able to breathe comfortably.
The cold constricts blood vessels, which can slow the
- Do not give your pet any medication to stop the bleeding
unless instructed by your veterinarian.
- If the bleeding does not stop or your pet seems to be
having trouble breathing (or is showing any
other unusual symptoms),
go to your vet’s office or the emergency pet clinic
When a pet gets a nosebleed, they are likely to swallow a lot
of draining blood. This may lead to dark stools or vomit with
blood clots in it. This is normal after a nosebleed and doesn’t
necessarily point to a more serious problem. However, you
should contact your
veterinarian if your pet’s stools don’t return to
normal or if they continue to vomit.
Determining the Cause of a Dog or Cat’s Bloody Nose
A nosebleed -- or epistaxis -- can be caused by many things,
including injuries, poisoning, a foreign object stuck in the
nose, drug reactions, blood clotting disorders, and a number of
To figure out the cause of your pet’s bloody nose, your
veterinarian will first perform a physical examination and ask
you a series of questions about your pet.
Questions that may come up if your pet has a nosebleed may
- Is your pet taking any medications, and what medications
have they taken in the past 30 days? Certain medications --
such as NSAIDs -- can
affect blood clotting.
- Has your pet been exposed to any poisons, such as rat poison? Many
poisons work by disabling the body’s ability to clot blood.
- Has your pet consumed a
mouse, rat, or other animal that could have consumed
- Has your pet recently been injured, or been in a situation
where they may have sustained an injury that you can’t see
(such as a fight with another animal)?
- Has your pet been exposed to foxtails or any other plant matter
that could have become lodged in the nose?
- Have you seen dark black stools or dark
- Has your pet been showing any other symptoms? Sneezing,
rubbing their nose, bruising, swollen body parts, bleeding from
other parts of the body.
Depending on your pet’s symptoms and condition, your
veterinarian may also recommend certain lab tests. The lab
tests that your veterinarian recommends will vary from case to
case, but most pets with nosebleeds require complete blood
work, urinalysis, and clotting tests.
Additional tests may include: radiographs to check for internal
pressure testing; a nasal swab to check for infectious
agents; bone marrow analysis; fungal culture; tick disease test; dental inspection;
rhinoscopy (viewing the nose with an endoscope); sinus and
skull x-rays; and MRI.
What Are The Causes Of A Pet Nosebleed?
The most common causes of epistaxis in pets are injury,
infection, and nasal tumors. Other causes include:
Blood clotting disorders:
Diseases that result in low platelet count (platelets are blood
cells involved in blood clotting):
Treating a Bloody Nose in Dogs and Cats
Treatment for a pet’s bloody nose will depend on the cause.
In the case of infection, many pets are treated with a course
of antibiotics. In the case
of an injury or other condition that is causing chronic
bleeding, cauterization (burning the affected area to seal off
blood vessels) may be necessary in addition to any required
surgeries or medication.
If your pet ever gets a bloody nose, don’t panic. Try the above
techniques to stop the bleeding and contact your veterinarian
if the problem persists or you see other symptoms.
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