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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Oral-Nasal Fistula




Condition Overview

In this condition, food and water regurgitate out of the nose when the dog eats and drinks.


Signs of oral-nasal fistula are a unilateral (single sided) nasal discharge accompanied by sneezing, especially after eating.


The most common congenital (defect before birth) cause is cleft palate. An infected tooth is the most common acquired cause.

The canine teeth and forth premolars (teeth) in the upper jaw lie beneath the nasal passages. An abscessed tooth (usually a canine tooth) can rupture the nasal cavity. The tooth falls out and the space it once occupied opens a passage through the hard palate that allows food to pass from the mouth into the nose.


Diagnosis is obtained by examining symptoms.


The problem is treated surgically by taking a flap of mucus membrane from the inside of the mouth and suturing (stitching) it across the defect. Long-term antibiotics may be needed to clear up any infections.


Proper dental care and prompt attention to any dental problems while they are still minor will help prevent oral-nasal fistula caused by tooth decay.


Please contact your veterinarian for advice if you suspect your pet may have this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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