Nasal Discharge in Animals – Aloe Vera in Veterinary
Nasal discharge is quite usual for animals to produce small quantities of mucous from their nostrils.
This can be watery, because some comes from the eyes via the naso-lacrymal duct.
If the discharge becomes copious, white, or shows signs of yellow/green or red discoloration or contains food – then there is cause for concern.
These discharges can be as a result of either an upper or lower respiratory tract problem.
Food discharge from the nostrils
This may be evident as food or liquid coming out of the nose.
If milk comes from the nostrils while sucking, then this can be due to a cleft palate for which there is no effective treatment.
Anything that restricts the passage of food with associated difficulty in swallowing can lead to food coming down the nose, as in the case of strangles in horses.
Difficulty in swallowing can follow abscesses around the pharynx or cysts in this area.
Paralysis of the pharynx, as seen in grass sickness, botulism, tetanus, and fungal infections of the guttural pouches can also be causes.
The commonest cause in horses is choke – where there is an obstruction of the food pipe (oesophagus) usually by eating dried food too quickly or food such as dry sugar beet, or whole apples/potatoes.
Mucous discharge from the nostrils
One of the commonest causes of mucous coming down the nostril is a respiratory tract infection.
This can be caused by bacteria, virus or fungi and is often associated with a cough.
The infection may be in the upper respiratory tract and be as a result of sinusitis, rhinitis or guttural pouch infection (in horses).
Lower respiratory infections such as tracheitis, pneumonia and lung worm infestation can lead to a mucoid nasal discharge as can chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the horse.
Purulent discharge from the nostrils
Green or yellow discharges from the nose are as a result of infection by bacteria or fungi that leads to the production of pus with mucous.
These infections can be located in the sinuses, nasal passages, guttural pouches (in the horse), windpipe or lungs.
Bloody discharges from the nostrils
In dogs and cats foreign bodies, such as grass seeds or peanuts, can get lodged in the nasal passages.
These lead to inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes resulting in a mucoid nasal discharge that can become tinged with blood.
In horses, foreign bodies such as grass seeds, shavings, thorns, and twigs, can get stuck up the nostril or at the back of the throat and can also result in a bloody discharge.
In all species, rupture of the small nasal blood vessels will lead to nose bleed (epistaxis).
In some animals, and particularly the horse, one of the most common causes of bleeding from the nose is in fact due to
haemorrhage from the lungs, particularly following fast exercise.
Any form of trauma to the head of an animal can lead to nose bleeds.
Nose bleeds can also indicate the presence of upper respiratory tract trauma.
Treatment of Nasal Discharges
In each case the cause must first be located by the veterinary surgeon and then treated.
Where infection is Present, antibiotics may be necessary.
Where mild infection and inflammation are present, and in the case of chronic discharge where the cause has been dealt with, Aloe Vera preparations can be beneficial.
When repeated bleeding occurs from the nasal passages, veterinary attention must be sought urgently.
While waiting for the veterinary surgeon to arrive, if the bleeding is small, inhalotion of nebulised Aloe Vera First may help – but avoid distressing the animal.
Local inhalation of nebulized Aloe Vera spray solution will help these cases.
This can be administered directly by a spray nozzle attached to the container, or the Aloe Vera spray solution can be added to the well of a nebulizer.
Cats are allowed to inhale 1 -2mls of nebulized Aloe Vera First solution; dogs 2-4mls and horses 8mls.
The addition of Aloe Vera gel to the diet can also help these conditions.
Rubbing Aloe Vera gelly or Aloe Vera heat lotion around the nostrils can also aid in encouraging the flow of nasal discharges and the settling of chronic infections and inflammation.
If an infection is present, then I give bee propolis tablets, 1/2 twice daily for cats, 1 twice daily for dogs and between 8-20 daily for ponies and horses, depending on size and severity.