The aims of this study, were to characterize the inflammatory infiltrate associated with nasal carcinoma in dogs and cats and to determine whether this differed between the two species or with different types of carcinoma. Sections from fixed tissue biopsy, samples of intranasal carcinoma from 31 dogs and six cats were labelled immunohistochemically to detect expression of T-lymphocyte marker CD3, class II molecules of the major complex (MHC II), the myelomonocytic antigen MAC387 and immunoglobulin (I-g) G, IgA and IgM within the cytoplasm of plasma cells. All canine carcinomas were heavily infiltrated by MAC387(+) neutrophils, with smaller numbers of MAC387(+) macrophages. T cells were particularly prominent in the infiltrate associated with transitional carcinoma, and in such tumours were frequently mixed with MHC II+ cells having macrophage or dendritic cell morphology. IgG(+) and IgA(+) plasma cells were detected at the peripheral margins of all types of canine carcinoma. In contrast, feline intranasal carcinoma was invariably associated with a marked infiltration of CD3(+) T cells. The feline tumour infiltrates contained sparse neutrophils and macrophages and few IgG(+) and IgA(+) plasma cells. These findings suggest that qualitatively different immune responses are induced in response to specific types of canine intranasal carcinoma, and that the canine and feline immune response to these neoplasms is also distinct. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.