Hyperkeratosis Dog Nose, What It Is & How To Treat It

If your dog has a dry and crusty nose at all times, there is a chance that they suffer from nasal hyperkeratosis.

While this is typically a cosmetic procedure that causes no harm, some dogs will develop secondary infections as a result of their chronic skin overgrowth.

So what is nasal hyperkeratosis, and who do some furry friends develop this condition?

In this article we will go into the details of crusty noses in dogs, and help you better understand how to manage this condition going forward.

Nasal Hyperkeratosis In Dogs

What Is Nasal Hyperkeratosis In Dogs?

Hyperkeratosis in dogs refers to an overgrowth of skin cells that develops on the surface of the skin.

Hyperkeratosis is most commonly seen on the nose in our canine friends, on their paw pads, and even on the tips of their ears.

While dogs free of the condition will have a thin layer of tough skin on these surfaces, hyperkeratosis will cause a build up of rough tissue that often appears dry and cracked.

Keratin is the main protein responsible for not only providing a skin barrier to the world around them, but also holding the skin cells together.

While one may think extra keratin will simply provide extra protection, this is not the case at all.

The rough surface can be a breeding ground for a collection of bacteria, especially when the surface of the nose becomes cracked.

Though it is referred to as a minor cosmetic condition, it’s not as benign as some may think.

What Causes Nasal Hyperkeratosis In Dogs?

There is no concrete cause of nasal hyperkeratosis in our furry friends, but there are a few factors that are known to contribute to the condition.

Ranging from genetic factors to the normal aging process, there are an array of potential causes of this strange skin condition in our pups.

Some of the potential causes of nasal hyperkeratosis in dogs include:

Your Dog’s Age

Some dogs will experience thickening of the skin as they age, leading to the development of nasal hyperkeratosis in some cases.

Your Dog’s Genetics

Due to the fact that some breeds are more likely to develop this condition, experts believe that it could be genetic.

For example, nasal hyperkeratosis is most often seen in Labrador Retrievers.

Infectious Disease

Some infectious diseases are known to cause hyperkeratosis in various spots on the canine body.

Canine distemper is one of the most common infectious agents responsible for hyperkeratosis, especially on the paw pads.

Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmune diseases of the skin can cause nasal hyperkeratosis in some furry friends.

These conditions can attack the healthy cells on a dog’s skin, causing many strange symptoms to develop as a result.

What Are The Signs Of Nasal Hyperkeratosis In Dogs?

If your dog has nasal hyperkeratosis, there are a few symptoms you may notice as the condition develops.

Some of the most common signs of this strange skin condition include:

  • Rough appearance of the nose
  • Dry, cracked skin on the nose
  • Oozing or bleeding from the surface of the nose
  • Pawing at the nose
  • Sensitivity of the nose

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your canine friend, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.

These pups are prone to developing infections on the nose due to the compromised skin, so it’s always best to pursue treatment early on.

Diagnosing Nasal Hyperkeratosis In Dogs

In most cases, your veterinarian can diagnose nasal hyperkeratosis with a simple physical exam.

Your vet can closely examine the surface of the nose for the evidence of excess keratin production, as well as looking at the rest of their body for any other sign of skin abnormality.

If your vet is suspicious of other spots or lesions on the skin, they may perform a biopsy or skin scraping of the affected area.

Every case will vary, so we suggest following the guidance of your veterinarian when getting to the bottom of their symptoms.

Treating Nasal Hyperkeratosis In Dogs

There is no cure for nasal hyperkeratosis in dogs, but your vet can develop a management plan to decrease your dog’s discomfort going forward.

The most common complication of nasal hyperkeratosis is painfully cracked skin and secondary infections, so the goal will be to limit this possibility in the future.

First, your vet will attempt to get to the bottom of your dog’s nasal hyperkeratosis.

We mentioned the fact that this condition can develop due to underlying illness, so it’s important for your vet to rule out the possibility of any underlying conditions.

Once other potential complications have been addressed, your vet can move on to treating the nose itself.

Your vet will likely tend to any current skin infections that are present on the skin with the use of oral or topical antibiotics.

They may also prescribe a soothing ointment that can moisturize the exterior of the nose, helping to prevent any additional cracking of the skin.

If this is a chronic issue for your pup, your vet may recommend a hydration plan that can manage their dry nose.

Some vets have a hydrating balm that you can purchase in their office, while others have a favorite product they can recommend for purchase.

Preventing Nasal Hyperkeratosis In Dogs

There are no concrete preventative measures when discussing nasal hyperkeratosis, but there are a few tips that could decrease any potential complications going forward.

Some of the potential ways to prevent nasal hyperkeratosis and secondary infections include:

  • Tending to any dry skin on the nose as it develops
  • Seeking immediate care if you notice any abnormal changes of the skin
  • Keeping your dog up to date on yearly vaccines and other preventative care
  • Keeping your dog’s nose hydrated to prevent severe cracking
  • Being aware of any nasal hyperkeratosis in your dog’s family history
  • Presenting your dog from pawing at their nose when irritation is present

Final Thoughts

Nasal hyperkeratosis is an uncomfortable condition that can lead to potential infection in the future.

To best prevent any complications as a result of your dog’s cracked nose, we always suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.

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