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Sinusitis is the medical term for inflammation of the sinuses. These air-filled cavities in the skull often become inflamed due to upper respiratory infections, inhaled irritants or allergies. Cat and dog sinusitis can also result from fungal infections, tumors, polyps, foreign bodies, tooth-root abscesses and parasites. This pet health problem is common in both dogs and cats.

How Sinusitis Affects Your Pet

When the mucous membranes lining the sinuses become inflamed, they swell, and the sinuses fill with fluid. As the sinuses become clogged, the cilia, hair-like projections responsible for clearing mucous, function less efficiently, and mucous is retained. This creates an environment favorable for bacterial growth. The most common cause of sinusitis in a pet is viral infection. In dogs, adenovirus, distemper and parainfluenza commonly cause viral sinusitis. The two most common viral causes of cat sinusitis are feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus. In fact, these viruses are so common that a sneezing cat in a shelter is presumed to be infected with one or both of them. Viral infections are especially common in young pets. New cases of sinusitis in senior pets are more likely to be the result of dental disease or tumors. In such cases, nasal discharge and blockage are usually restricted to one nostril. In pets with expanding tumors or invasive fungal disease of the sinuses or nasal passages, blockage and discharge usually begin in one nostril and progress to both nostrils. 

Common Symptoms of Sinusitis

Common symptoms of this pet health condition include the following: Sneezing, Deformity of the face, Pawing at the face, Watery eyes, Open-mouth breathing, Noisy breathing, Reverse sneezing, Nasal discharge and Decreased appetite.

Treatments for Sinusitis

Treatment for this cat and dog health condition depends on its cause. Uncomplicated viral infections require only supportive care to keep the affected pet comfortable until its immune system can fight off the infection. Primary and secondary bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. Antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to treat allergies. Nasal mites are treated with anti-parasitic medications, and antifungal drugs are used to treat fungal infections. Surgery is required to treat dental abscesses, tumors, foreign bodies and polyps. In addition to treating the cause of sinusitis, veterinarians and owners need to provide symptomatic relief. Saline drops and humidifiers are useful for keeping the nasal passages moist and encouraging sinus drainage. Pets with sinusitis should also be offered strong-smelling food since this condition can lead to loss of appetite due to an impaired sense of smell. 

Breeds Affected

Cats and dogs of all breeds are at-risk for sinusitis. Members of the following canine breeds have an increased risk of sinusitis due to nasal tumors: German shepherd, German shorthaired pointer, Bassett hound, Keeshond, Airedale terrier, Collie, Old English sheepdog and Shetland sheepdog. Members of the exotic shorthair breed are also more likely to develop sinusitis than members of other feline breeds.

Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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