Dog’s Nose Color Could Mean Cancer

Too much sun is culprit if dog’s pigment change is caused by squamous cell carcinoma.


Q. We have a 20-week-old Miniature Schnauzer. His nose rarely seems wet. His nose is still black, but I’ve noticed it seems just a tiny bit lighter around the top and down both sides. Is this something to be concerned with?

A. Much has been interpreted based on the appearance of a dog’s nose. Is it wet, is it dry, is it cold, is it warm? Most of these observations, although interesting, have no relationship to your dog’s health. Here is what you need to watch for:
Is there nasal discharge? If so, is the discharge clear, or thick and cloudy?

Clear discharge usually is the equivalent of mild allergies in people, while a thick discharge usually is a sign of an upper respiratory infection. If the discharge is only from one side of the nose, there could be something like a grass awn or other plant material stuck in the nasal passage. If there is bloody discharge, there could be nasal irritation and dryness, or a problem with blood clotting. In rare cases, bleeding from one side of the nose could be a clue that there is a mass or tumor in the airway.
Changes in the appearance of the pigmentation of the nose can be important. Nasal tumors such as squamous cell carcinomas can appear in dogs (especially light-coated ones), who are exposed to high levels of sunlight and UV radiation.
The only way to check your dog’s body temperature is with the indignity of a rectal thermometer. If you want to be able to check your dog’s temperature, buy a digital thermometer (for use in your dog only)! Anything greater than 102.5 could indicate an infection, and may warrant a trip to the veterinarian if it stays high or goes higher. Any dog who is excited can run a temperature of 103 degrees without any underlying illness.


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angelina   grand rapids, MI

12/9/2008 2:37:15 PM

hi i have an american eskimo dog i adopted him in tampa, florida and had him for about four or five years.He's had little problems here and there with fleas and worms but i got that under controll with medication. So i moved to michigan with him and noticed after 2 months his nose color changed from black to a pinkish color. Now i remember in florida his nose being dry most of the time, but he will sumtimes sniffle alot and have nose drips what doesthis mean..PLZZZZZZZZ GET BACK TO ME SOON!!!!!!!!!

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Delaney   Des Moines, IA

11/30/2008 1:06:24 PM

my dogs nose was black when he was a baby but now he's 3 years old and his nose is a little black but has pink. A better description of it is that it looks like the black is rubbing off his nose!

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Virginia   Alta Loma, CA

6/10/2008 8:33:51 AM

My little bull dog's nose looked rough and scaly; it use to be smooth and leatherly and moist (very normal). She recently passed away (Euthanasia) because of respiratory problems. She also had saliva - drooling from both sides of her mouth and also could not lay down to sleep. She kept holding herself up and was also panting. Her eyes would widen (she looked anxious). She was 10 1/2 years old. On a very late Saturday night going into the next morning. I became very (extremely) worried and did not want to see her gone, so I took the initiative to put her to rest. I stayed with her and held her in my arms and told her she was a good girl and then she was gone. I have thought about it and wonder could she have been spared, if so, for how long and would she continue to suffer that way. I believe I did the right thing by her in relieving her and allowing her to sleep permanently. I think of her and feel much sorrow in letting her go, but I did not feel that she would come out of it. Please let me know what you think could have been wrong so that I can feel relieved of what might have been the problem with her, otherwise I will never know - I keep trying to diagnose her problem, but only a veterinarian would have a better

Thank you for your

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Virginia   Rancho Cucamonga, CA

6/6/2008 8:42:53 AM

I am thankful for the information, however, I need to know more about dog noses because my little dogs nose had a discharge of blood after it passed away. Can you give me an idea what that could have been. Give me a list, please, of symptoms so that I can come to grips with my loss. Thank you.

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