What Is Causing My Dog's Face To Swell?

Many different factors may cause a dog's face to swell.  Here is a list of the most common causes I see in veterinary practice.

1)  Allergic Reactions:   Dogs react to allergens in their environment just like people do.  The swelling may develop immediately following exposure or several hours later.  Other signs of an allergic reaction include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums and labored breathing.  Insect bits, either bees or spiders, are the most common causes I see in practice.  In addition, dogs may react to vaccinations, medications, household cleaners, perfumes, hair spray, pesticides, flea collars, treats and even their food.  One of my dogs is allergic to some foods.  

Although any breed may react to vaccinations, I have found that Miniature Pinchers, Pomeranians and Miniature Dachshunds react the most.  Watch your dog for several hours after they have been vaccinated.  Call your veterinarian at the first sign of a reaction! 

In case of an allergic episode, call your veterinarian immediately!  They will likely recommend that you administer diphenhydramine (Benadryl) as long as the dog is conscious and can swallow.  During routine examination, ask your veterinarian to calculate the proper dose and keep that on hand at all times.  If your dog is reacting to a flea shampoo or other topical allergen, bathe them immediately to prevent further exposure.  (My recommended first aid kit for dogs and cats is listed at www.veterinarycreative.com.)

2)  Puppy Strangles:  Young puppies under 16 weeks of age develop a condition called Juvenile Cellulitis or puppy strangles that looks like mumps in people.  I see it most often in Golden Retrievers and Daschshunds.  The lymph glands under their cheeks swell up so much that some puppies have trouble eating and breathing.  The large glands occlude the airway hence the name 'stangles'.  If you suspect your puppy has this condition, bring them to a veterinarian for care immediately!  They will need long-term treatment with steroids to control the excessive immune reaction and antibiotics for any secondary infection.  Puppies with severe swelling might need their glands opened and drained.

3)  Abcesses:   An abcess is defined as an accumulation of puss beneath the skin.  Abcess may form behind the eye (retrobulbar) or around a tooth root causing facial swelling. 

4)  Sialoceles or Sialoadenitis:  A sialocele is an excessive accumulation of saliva within a salivary duct due to some sort of blockage.  Sialoadenitis is inflammation of a salivary gland.  The parotid glands that are located under the ears are the glands I normally see effected with this condition.  Both cause swelling along the lower jaw, especially in the area of the temporal mandibular joint.

5)  Neoplasia:  Cancerous masses on the head may cause facial swelling.  Watch your dog closely for lumps, especially if they are over eight years of age.  Seek medical attention whenever you find one.  Just like human medicine, early detection and treatment are the keys to surviving cancer. 

 

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  • 3/27/2010 2:26 PM Nancy wrote:
    Thanks my puppy 6 wk male had a swollen face and neck being in the medical field for years itsince it was uniform and bilateral I assumed it was allergy related gave him benedryl and monitored now he just has swelling in the glands under his mandible getting softer today.He is getting better all the time and I feel comfortable waiting till his vet visit in 10 days if he continues to improve Thanks Nancy
    Reply to this
    1. 3/27/2010 5:48 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:

      I am glad your puppy is getting better and you found this information useful.  I would encourage you to contact your veterinarian right away to make sure your puppy does not have "puppy strangles".  This condition is similar to mumps in humans - the submandibular lymph nodes swell up.  If they get large enough, the nodes constrict the airway hence the name strangles.  Eventually, the nodes or glands abscess and drain.  Good luck with the little guy and thanks again for writing. 


      Reply to this
      1. 12/20/2011 11:47 PM worried in simi wrote:
        i have been reading a lot about puppies having swollen faces. i gave my 6 week old puppy his 5 in 1 shot and he had an alergic reaction. i took him to the vet and they gave him an IV and sent me home with prednisone. it has been 3 days. the swelling has gone down, but he still has the hives around his mouth. is this common. do you think it will go away, or do you think he needs to be seen again. it just seems like he is getting better but really slowly
        Reply to this
        1. 12/21/2011 8:03 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          In my opinion, the 5 in 1 vaccine is too much for such a young puppy.  I am concerned about the hives still present after three days of therapy.  Please take him back in for another check up with your veterinarian.  Also, check with your veterinarian before giving your puppy any other medications or vaccines.  Good luck!
          Reply to this
  • 3/18/2011 5:59 PM Siberian Husky Toys wrote:
    Thanks so much for this article. My Siberian Husky gets a swollen face from time to time and this confirmed it is likely allergenic, i'm going to bring her to my vet next week.
    Reply to this
  • 3/22/2011 6:53 PM Linda wrote:
    My Golden developed sudden swelling around one eye about a week ago. I assumed it was associated with benign nasal polyps that he is being treated for the past year. He had a saline flush about a month ago. Took him to ER that is also part of the same specialty group that treats him. They kept him the night and administered prednisone drops in eye. By the next morning when his specialist came in, the swelling was down and was sent home. Specialist said it was not related to the polyps and she surmised it was probably an insect bite. He was fine the rest of the day and through the next morning but when I arrived home from work that evening, he was very swollen around both eyes and muzzle. Vet says it is actually the upper eyelid. He was very tender and would duck if I tried to touch him. His eyes were almost totally shut and very red. Took him into his regular Vet the next day and she called the specialist. Both agreed that it was likely a bug bite (we can find no evidence of any bugs or bees in house or yard.) Vet gave him a steroid injection (he was already on 20mg Pred. 2xday, 4 benedryl and doxycycline, so not sure why any reaction would even occur.) Also gave us steroid drops to administer. Today the swelling is mostly gone but not entirely. He is perkier and eating okay now. I just feel that this has got to be something other than a simple bug bite but the Vets seem unable to provide any other answer. Is there any other cause? He is 11 years old and basically healthy other than the polyps. These cause him mucous drainage with some bleeding which the specialist says he could live with okay. During the swelling he wasn't draining or sneezing? My thought was sinus clogging since his frontal sinus area was puffy and he wasn't draining.
    Reply to this
    1. 3/24/2011 7:33 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      This is certainly a tough case.  You did an excellent job of stating the pertinent medical facts.  I agree that the true cause is still eluding us or at least it is likely that something else is at work.  One area I would have you reflect on is the environment.  By chance was anything different right before this happened - a new wool blanket, did you clean with new products, is there construction in the area or are any new plants in bloom in the locale where you live?  I agree with your assessment that given all the drugs already on board, an environmental cause seems remote but you would be surprised . . . .

      As you know, polyps can obstruct outflow from the sinus cavities.  This can lead to a build-up of pressure and pain.  I don't typically see face swelling from polyps but I suppose it could happen.  Please give one more thought to the environmental questions above and let me know if that sparks any ideas.  I will keep thinking about this as I am a huge golden fan and feel very bad for your dog.

      Reply to this
  • 6/28/2011 2:30 AM Chandler wrote:
    DR.Nelson my austrailian shephard has a very swollen face, more on the left side of his face, but i noticed the most swelling is in his lips and bottom jaw. i left him this afternoon (3:30) and he was normal but when i got back from work (8:00) his face had swollen dramatically. my question is can the 4th cause of face swelling you listed show up that fast?
    Reply to this
    1. 7/1/2011 1:49 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Yes, problems with the salivary glands may occur quickly.  I recommend getting him into a veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.  I wrote a response to your question several days ago but it did not post.  I am sorry for the delay.  Hopefully, you dog is under treatment and back to normal by now.   
      Reply to this
  • 8/1/2011 10:53 PM Kayla wrote:
    My baby pit is just over 3 months old. She was perfectly fine when I left around 8 pm. 4 hours later, I come home and she runs up to me squealing. The upper right side of her head is swollen and she can barely open her eye. It's really puffy, and tender, and she seems to have a fever. I checked on her a few minutes ago and now her snout and other side of her face is swollen. She also had red breakouts on her belly, neck, and underside of her legs. I gave her advil because that's all i have. I don't know what to do! She seems like the most miserable pup alive. Please help!
    Reply to this
    1. 8/2/2011 9:53 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am very worried about your puppy.  Please bring her to a veterinarian right away for evaluation and medical treatment.  She needs more help than you can give at home.  Also, only give human medications when directed by a veterinarian.  One advil can kill a cat.  Call your veterinary clinic right away and be sure to tell them about the Advil. 
      Reply to this
  • 8/10/2011 6:35 AM Rhonda wrote:
    My 11 month old Lab has a lump on his cheek. It feels like a grape and moves when I push on it. It just noticed it. Is this a swollen gland. Is this something that will go away or should I take him in? He doesn't seem to feel bad or act different.
    Reply to this
    1. 8/10/2011 9:03 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      It is hard to say what the lump is from your description. I would recommend taking him to your veterinarian for what is called a fine needle aspirate.  After disinfecting the skin, your veterinarian will insert a needle into the lump and extract some cells for examination under a microscope.  I am hopeful that the lump is benign because your dog is young.  If it's not, then removing it ASAP will give your dog the best possible chance for a cure.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
      1. 10/14/2011 5:48 PM donna wrote:
        I have a Standard Poodle with a grape sized lump like this, vet tried to aspirate and nothing came out. Doesn't know what it is so what next? She's 18 mth old, not teeth related.
        Reply to this
        1. 10/15/2011 5:01 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          I hate it when that happens.  The next step is to send in a bigger sample.  If possible, I remove the entire lump with room to spare and send that to the lab.  If it is in a place where that is not possible, a "wedge" or "core" is taken from the lump and sent in for analysis.  Depending upon your dog, the size of the lump and the location, some lumps can be removed by sedating the dog and numbing the area while others require general anesthesia.  Good luck! 
          Reply to this
  • 8/12/2011 7:01 AM Jessica wrote:
    My dog came to bed at about 11:15 last night, and I noticed a bump on his nose.
    At 7:10 this morning, I woke up to him with a VERY very swollen face.
    His eyes were swelled so bad that he could barely open them, his cheeks looked like he had 2 golfballs in them, on EACH side, his ears were sooo swollen, it felt like a breast implant, it was all squishy and HUGE!
    He had his tail between his legs, laying by my back door, SHAKING!
    What could this be?
    I have two dogs - they both ate the same food, and treats last night.
    I was outside playing with them a lot last night and he was acting normal.
    Last night, when he was laying on the couch, he was acting pretty tired, and I didnt see anything on him.
    What could this be?!?!
    Reply to this
    1. 8/12/2011 8:17 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From your description, I am worried that your dog is having an allergic reaction.  Perhaps an insect bit him on the nose.  In any case, get him to a veterinarian right away for medical care and don't forget to ask about what types of medication you should keep at home should this occur again.  In my experience, the reaction worsens with each episode. 
      Reply to this
  • 8/13/2011 9:27 PM Tanya wrote:
    My 6 week old female puppy's head is swollen, she was playing with our other puppy and he bit her i think, she had 2 small look like teeth marks on her shoulder and her belly was black and blue, her right shoulder was swollen, we took her to the vet and they gave her anibiotics, but now the swelling on her shoulder is gone but her head is swollen, we can not keep running her to the vet at 150 dollars a visit. But we will i was just wondering if it could be that maybe it was swollen as well and that part just hasn't wen down yet? or is she having a reaction to the antibotics they put her on?
    Reply to this
  • 8/13/2011 9:29 PM Tanya wrote:
    I currently just wrote you about my puppy and I wanted to add she is still super playful and active, its just she has a swollen head.. she has not let it slow her down one min..
    Reply to this
    1. 8/14/2011 5:16 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am glad she is active and the swelling on her shoulder has improved but I am concerned about the facial swelling.  Depending upon what area is swollen, it could be a number of things including a reaction to medication, an abscess, a hematoma or even puppy strangles.  Call your veterinarian right away to discuss your puppy.  Since she is so young, I wouldn't take any chances.   
      Reply to this
  • 9/5/2011 3:15 PM liz wrote:
    my borzoi pup had identical symptoms to Kayla's pup. the vet gave her valium and adrenolin and she recovered well. if it happens again, i will need to rush her to the vet and may need to consider an epipen as the reactions may become more severe. she also has permanently swollen glands on each side of her nose, unlike my other two. as yet these have not caused a problem.
    Reply to this
  • 10/25/2011 11:06 AM Veronica wrote:
    thank you so much for this info, i have a mini pin, he is 8 months old,this is the first time i notice his face swelling,he actually looked like a little rotwailer!.I gave him some benedryl i hope he gets better if not im gonna take him to the vet, the reason why i didnt took him right away is because he seems pretty normal, he is running,playing, and acting like always, i touch his face and it didnt seem like it hurted him,I had a min pin before as well and i took him several times to the vet for the same problem,the vet told me "just give him some benedryl next time and bring him back if he gets worst" he was allergic to the vaccinations and we dont know to what else cause that happened once in a while. so i was thinking that maybe i was giving my dogs something that made them sick, but now i know it may be the breed, and is good to know cause im getting another min pin this week!
    Reply to this
    1. 10/27/2011 11:31 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Miniature pinchers are wonderful dogs!  I always enjoy working with them.  Unfortunately, this breed seems to have a sensitive immune system.  In my experience, they often react to vaccinations, insect bits and household cleaners.  You might want to consider titer checks instead of routine vaccination.  Also, talk to your veterinarian to get the correct dosage of Benadryl® (diphenhydramine).  Congratulations on the new addition!
      Reply to this
  • 11/2/2011 10:27 AM Maryanne Charbonneau wrote:
    This is a P.S. to my last post concerning muzzle swelling: My dogs upper gums are swollen as well as the muzzle swelling. There is no pus and/or bleeding of the gums, even when pressure is applied.
    Reply to this
    1. 11/3/2011 6:22 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I'm sorry to hear that.  You need to get your dog medical attention right away.  I wish you the best of luck but please hurry in to the veterinarian.
      Reply to this
  • 11/24/2011 11:05 PM valerie cade wrote:
    Just noticed a swelling in the upper part of my dogs upper jaw, beneath her eye. It is hard, bony, feeling and does not seem tender at all, it feels like all bone.What could this be. She is a 6 yr old lab.
    Reply to this
    1. 11/26/2011 9:41 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am worried that your dog has an abscessed tooth root, probably the carnassial tooth.  This huge tooth has three roots that penetrate deep into the skull.  When infection develops, the bone around the root swells.  It becomes a hard nodule.  Eventually, the pressure will cause the bone to rupture releasing a purulent discharge.  Other possible causes are cancer or a fungal infection.  All of these conditions are painful.    

      Please bring your dog to your veterinarian right away from diagnosis and treatment.  Since hunting dogs have a very high pain threshold, pain is not a useful indicator.  Hope that helps! 

      Reply to this
    2. 4/23/2012 6:29 AM Ems wrote:
      I just discovered very very similar on my dog, he's a Lab X Lurcher, 15 years old and shows NO pain or resistance to it being touched - again bony feeling (solid) and it doesn't move at all and its about 1.5 inch from his left eye (on his cheek). Did your dog get a diagnosis, since all I keep finding on other places around the net is cancer .. :/
      Reply to this
      1. 4/23/2012 7:35 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
        Facial swellings are not always cancer.  In my experience, tooth root abscesses are common in older dogs.  Look at the large premolars and molars toward the back of your dog's mouth for inflammation of the gums, tartar, fractured and/or chipped teeth.  If anything looks abnormal, please take Lurcher to your veterinarian right away.  Labs and lab mixes have a high pain tolerance and often suffer in silence.  Hope that helps! 
        Reply to this
  • 11/27/2011 5:03 PM Sara Ward wrote:
    I have a 2 year old Australian Shepherd mix. 2 nights ago when I got home from work I noticed a small swelling just under his right eye. My husband had let him out in the backyard and we just noticed this. I first thought maybe it was a bug bite but we live in Virginia and no bugs are out right now. Yesterday it got worse and today it is so swollen that his eye is almost all the way shut. He likes it if I rub it softly and he rubs his face against the couches, but other than that he is eating fine, is still playful and doesn't appear to be in pain. The swelling seems to be hard and irregularly shaped. I'm thinking from your answers that this may be some sort of tooth infection? I don't understand how he could have tooth problems so young. He's been very healthy for 2 years, no problems at all.
    Do you think this is allergic in nature or really some sort of tooth issue? His mouth isn't tender I palpated inside his gums.
    Reply to this
    1. 11/27/2011 7:43 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Hello, even though he is young, dogs often get tooth problems from chewing.  Pieces of a toy or stick can lodge in the gums.  They can also fracture the surface of the tooth.  The carnassial tooth is the most commonly effected where the outside enamel is fractured in what is called a slab fracture.  This is a painful condition so I would seek care right away plus with the eye involvement, is it essential that you get care quickly.    
      Reply to this
  • 12/11/2011 3:16 PM Crystal wrote:
    I have a 6 year old Chihuahua that woke up this morning with a swollen cheek and jaw. It looks like something is oozing out of it. It doesn't seem to bother him but I gave him some benadryl in case it was a spider bite. We shaved the area and cleaned it. I don't see a bite but layers of skin are missing on his cheek. There is also small lumps under his chin. The area is soft so it may be an abscess. Any advise you have would be appreciated. Thank you
    Reply to this
    1. 12/11/2011 8:11 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am worried that your dog has an abscessed tooth root.  Please take him to your veterinarian for medical care immediately.  Dental problems are very painful and require more care than you can give at home.  Good luck with him.
      Reply to this
  • 12/11/2011 3:32 PM Kim wrote:
    Hello,

    I typically don't worry too much about facial swelling because my dogs are always eating bugs etc. Well last Saturday my female 5 year old golden came in with her face swollen, no biggie I immediately gave her 50 mg of benadryl. The swelling went down and was 100% normal by Monday, but by Tuesday it was back, gave her again 50 mg of benadryl and it was better but it never completely left this time. Now it looks like she has a fat lip, not a centralized swelling but the whole lip a little swollen. I have looked all over i don't see any redness, her gums look good and I brush her teeth daily. I have never had something like this last so long, today is sunday and she still looks like she has a fat lip. How long does an allergic reaction take to go away? Can it take over a week? Should I be concerned it might be something else? What would a veterinarian do in a situation like this, anything different than give benadryl?
    Reply to this
    1. 12/12/2011 7:58 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Most allergic reactions respond rapidly to appropriate treatment.  Your dog's lip should not be swollen a week later unless the inciting allergen is still present, the lip has become infected or there is some other underlying problem.  My next course of action would depend upon what I found on physical examination.  In my experience, goldens are prone to autoimmune diseases so besides a thorough physical examination, I would recommend a CBC, superchem and a urinalysis.  Good luck with her and thanks for writing. 
      Reply to this
  • 12/14/2011 10:24 AM Kim wrote:
    Hello and thank you for your response. I took my golden to a local vet for an examination, they could offer no explanation since there was absolutely no indication of root abscess or any dental issues, they shaved that area on her face just to see if there was any pus trail or sign of a sting or bite, which there was not (now she has some pretty serious razor burn which bothers her more than the swelling has) and their suggestion was to put her on 10 days of Clavamox 375mg (1 pill 2xaday) and if that didn't help then they suggested doing a full dental where they could probe and possibly extract teeth! That seems extreme to me. I know you recommended the blood work and urinalysis and I will do that next if the antibiotics don't work, but is the only option if this does not go away be an exploratory dental? They advised me that there is too much going on in that area to get a good xray? Your professional opinion is very much appreciated. Thank you.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/15/2011 8:22 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I think your veterinarian meant to say that anesthesia is required for good quality skull films because of the intricate anatomy.  If the lab results are WNL, then anesthesia and further diagnostics are the next step.    Your veterinarian is correct that dental problems are often below the surface.  Just like human medicine, the crowns of the teeth may be perfect while the roots are infected.  If the films are WNL, a biopsy of the area may be performed to help with the diagnosis.  I know it's frustrating but hang in there.  It is important to the long term health of your dog to find out what is going on.   
      Reply to this
  • 12/20/2011 9:50 PM Monique wrote:
    I came home today to find my 10 year old cocker spaniel's face swollen only on the left side under her eye. It is very tender and hard to the touch but other than that she seems fine. She did not have this swelling when I left this morning but she is eating and drinking like normal. Should I be concerned?
    Reply to this
    1. 12/21/2011 7:56 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Yes, you are right to be concerned.  With firm masses in that location I worry about a tooth root abscess, a fungal disease depending upon where you live or even cancer.  Please take her in to your veterinarian right away. 
      Reply to this
  • 1/18/2012 2:32 PM Sheena wrote:
    I left this morning to a interview and came back home to my yr old Chihuahua / terrier about a hour 1/2 later and her entire face was swollen. a little under the eyes but not to much also. I gave her benadryl and it seemed to go down a little but not all the way. still eating. going to the bathroom drinking and active. what could this be. ? Is there a time limit until these techniques work or should I be concered?
    Reply to this
    1. 1/18/2012 8:27 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Whenever you see facial swelling it is a potentially life threatening condition.  You should call your veterinarian (or an emergency clinic if after hours) and see what the proper dose of Benadryl is for your dog.  It is possible the dose was not strong enough and that could be why some swelling remains.  It is also potentially a situation where the causative agent is still present, thus continuing to irritate your dog.  One of the first things I do in addition to antihistamine treatment is to also bathe the animal in case there was something in the environment that caused the problem.  Since I don't know where you are located and may not be licensed there, I need you to contact a local veterinarian right away for the question on dosing and any other suggestions they may have.  In really bad cases, some steps beyond the above may be necessary. 
      Reply to this
  • 1/26/2012 7:07 PM Olivia Hagan wrote:
    Please help me...When I got home fro mwork earlier today at 6, I came home and saw some throw up to clean up....I didn't panic because my two dogs throw up every now and then because they might have eaten to fast or eaten something they had no business eating. I have a full blooded Min Pin as well as a half breed Min Pin/Chihuahua. My half breed is perfectly fine, but my Min Pin has a little bump on his head where it looks like it's trying to swell as little as well as swelling around the wye and it looks red and swelling on the mouth area where his whiskers are and his bottom lip/mouth area look red but not swollen just yet. It's mostly on his left side, but I can tell his right side is sarting to swell....it's growing around the eye, and a small spot is starting to swell out on his mouth in the whisker area on the right...Please what could be wrong with him? He's never had any swelling issues before
    Reply to this
  • 2/11/2012 1:10 AM S Andrusiow wrote:
    I have a 12 year old beagle whose face was swollen this morning on the left side. I cannot get into the vet untill tomorrow. Is there something I can give her in the meantime to relive the swelling.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/11/2012 1:52 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      If your dog allows it, I would apply cold therapy to the area.  Make sure to keep a towel between your dog's skin and the ice pack to prevent frostbite.  Ice for 10 minutes at a time.  Do not give any human medications without speaking to your veterinarian.  Fast her tomorrow morning just in case she needs anesthesia. 
      Reply to this
  • 2/15/2012 12:13 AM Mary wrote:
    In early January, my 6 year old lab developed a protruding right nictitating membrane and was continuously tilting his head to the side. We took him to the emergency vet who said his symptoms were possibly a result of Horner’s Syndrome. At the time, he had a slightly elevated white blood cell count, but no fever. The vet also noticed that there was a dark shadow on his middle right ear membrane. A month prior, he had had a yeast infection in both ears (worst in the right ear), which we treated with prescribed ointment and daily use of ear cleanser, and it seemed to clear up; however, the vet thought the infection may have spread to his middle ear. He started him on about a week’s worth of ciprofloxacin (500mg, 2x daily), pred. (20mg, quantity of 9 total), tramadol, and proviable-dc. Initially, the medication seemed to be working— his eyes looked much better and he was no longer tilting his head to the side. However, after several days, I noticed he had developed a quarter-size, rock hard bump on the top, right side of his head (same side that his inner eyelid had prolapsed). He was also shaking his head a bit more than usual. I took him to the vet again, where we ended up seeing another doctor who prescribed him Mometamax ear ointment and said to monitor the size of the bump over the next couple weeks (she had stuck a needle syringe in the bump to see if she could draw out any liquid, but there was none). A couple weeks later, the swollen bump had gotten significantly larger, and I was told it was likely a tumor. X-rays showed no bone tumor, so a biopsy was done. They opened his head expecting to find a soft mass, but instead found only swollen muscle (the vet said she had never seen anything like it). A biopsy of the muscle did not show necrosis, but did reveal an elevation in red blood cells and slight degeneration of the muscle. During the first couple days on a 5-day supply of clindamycin (300mg, 2x daily) and deramaxx (75mg/day), the unilateral swelling on his head decreased significantly. However, after finishing the medication, the swelling returned to its previous size and his inner eyelids were protruding again. He was also having difficulty opening his mouth to yawn and had somewhat of a runny nose (clear discharge). He has been placed back on a 10-day supply of clindamycin and deramaxx. While the medicine has helped the swelling on his head somewhat go down, he has now started running into things (I’m not sure if this is a side effect of the medicine). I’d greatly appreciate any insight/advice you might have. We have spent several hundred dollars already, and cannot seem to get an accurate diagnosis. Thank you for your help.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/15/2012 11:48 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Mary, I need a little more information to help you.  What was the microscopic diagnosis of the lump that was removed?  Were the margins clean?  From your description, I agree with your veterinarians that your dog probably has a problem in the area of his middle ear but there are many things that can go wrong there.  Knowing the histopathology results will help.   
      Reply to this
  • 2/15/2012 3:21 PM Mia wrote:
    My 8 yr. old Aussie's face and top of head (left side) is severely swollen/deformed. Took him to the vet, no tooth problems, no visible injuries, blood work came back normal other than elevated white blood cells and anti-bodies (NEU, TP, GLOB) He has severe jaw pain. Vet did cytology and found some blood and Neuocrites? anti-bodies. They have given him Rimadyl75mg x2 daily, Tramadol 150mg x2 daily and Clavamox 500mg x2 daily. Vet also gave him 2cc antihistamine injection yesterday. His face/head is still very swollen and he is very sleepy. They don't know what is wrong, not ruling out bug bite/sting, but vet is leaning towards abscess on his head. Should I give him Benedryl? Or is there anything else it could be, or anything else I can be doing for him? I'm scared to death and worried sick for him. I cant afford x-rays and my vet bill yesterday was $700... so I cant afford anything else... When should I see improvement with him? ANY help is GREATLY appreciated. Thank you.
    I just want to do all I can for him.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/16/2012 10:03 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am sorry for your dog. An elevated white blood count and globulins is usually caused by an infection of some sort.  In Arizona, we see a fungal disease called valley fever that causes an elevated white blood count.  I would recommend pursuing skull x-rays to determine the extent of the swelling, a culture of material aspirated from the mass and additional testing to rule out diseases common in your area.  These tests are expensive, but I don't see any other way around it.  Explain your financial situation to your veterinarian.  Many clinics have CARE credit available.  Also, don't give any other medications or supplements without your veterinarian's input.     
      Reply to this
  • 2/28/2012 9:25 AM Meg wrote:
    About a week ago, I noticed that my 10 yr. old male dachshund Ruger made a crunching noise from his jaws whenever he was drinking at the water bowl. In retrospect, I also think that he had been shaking his head and scratching his ears slightly more than usual, but not enough that I thought anything about it at the time. I assumed that the jaw crunching sound was maybe caused by a tartar built up on his back teeth so I took him to my vet yesterday to have a routine dental cleaning. When I picked him up at the vet's, I noticed that both sides of his face, and the top of his head was very puffy. His throat area was also somewhat puffy but not as much as the other locations. I called the vet's attention to this and when he palpated the swellings on the head and sides of the face you could hear a crunching sound. The swellings feel and sound like a bean bag chair stuffed with tiny glass pellets. Ruger is eating well, did not have an elevated temperature and seems otherwise active and normal but despite the vet giving him an anti inflammatory tablet before we left his office last evening, the swellings are still present and unchanged this morning. I've owned dachshunds and many different types of animals for many, many years but I've never run into anything like this before and it seemed clear to me that my vet was as puzzled as I was. Any thoughts or insights you have as to what might be causing these swellings would be much appreciated!
    Reply to this
    1. 2/29/2012 7:50 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From your excellent description, I think your dog has air under his skin.  My concern is how did it get there?  I usually see this condition after an animal has been hit by a car or had some sort of thoracic surgery.  Once the leak is closed, the crunchiness will go away.  The problem is finding and closing the leak.  I would look closely at your dog's mouth and ears for abnormal connections with the respiratory system.  I had one case that developed a small pocket of SQ air on the face after work on the eustachian tube.  Good luck and thanks for writing about this unusual case.   
      Reply to this
      1. 3/4/2012 6:40 PM Meg wrote:
        Thanks so much for your reply. I did take Ruger back to the vet later on the same day that I wrote to you about him. He had continued to eat and behave normally but since the anti-inflammatory drug hadn't worked I wanted the vet to take a second look at him. After a thorough exam of Ruger's mouth, teeth, glands, etc., a second inspection by the other vet at the office, much head scratching on the part of both of them and, finally, a call to a veterinary "hotline" my vet knew about, we all came up with the same conclusion that you did. We do not know for sure where the air came from but the general consensus is that perhaps the trach tube caused a tiny tear in the trachea when Ruger was being intubated for the dental work. Since there continued to be no elevated temperature nor any other ill effects, I took him home, observed him and kept him quiet. Thankfully, the swellings and crunchiness gradually dissipated and disappeared entirely after about four days. Ruger now has his handsome profile back and he no longer sounds like a crinkle sack when I stroke his head.
        As an aside, he still makes a slight grinding sound when he drinks but that now appears to be totally unrelated to any tartar or grit on his teeth since they are now clean. The cause of that particular noise still remains a mystery.
        Reply to this
        1. 3/4/2012 7:54 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          I am relieved that Ruger is doing well and the air is resolving.  Thanks for updating me on this unusual case. 
          Reply to this
  • 3/1/2012 5:31 PM Megan wrote:
    I have a female Welsh Springer spaniel. She is four years old and went to the vet today to get groomed and her vaccinations. The right side of her face is swollen,red, and puffy. She has vomited once. Can someone please tell me what could be wrong with her?
    Reply to this
    1. 3/3/2012 8:25 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Contact your veterinarian right away.  I am worried that your dog might be reacting to her vaccinations or a product used by the groomer. 
      Reply to this
  • 4/27/2012 5:20 PM Amber Jones wrote:
    Hi when i woke up this morning my 5 month old min pin had swelling on one side of his lower jaw. Hes eating and drinking water. He slept most of the morning and didnt want to eat at first. But after he did eat and drink he started to perk up and play a little. I have no clue what it could be and cant really afford to take him to the vet. he doesnt act like it hurts when i touch it and he doesnt have any other symptoms. Do you have any idea what it could be?
    Reply to this
    1. 4/29/2012 8:05 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am worried that your puppy has a serious problem with his teeth.  In my experience, it is easy for a puppy to fracture and then infect a deciduous (baby) tooth.  In addition, there are many kinds of developmental dental problems including dentigerous cysts, improper bites and malpositioned teeth.  All of these conditions are painful.  Please bring your puppy to a veterinarian for diagnosis which may require dental x-rays and treatment.  Many clinics participate in CARE Credit to help owners out.    
      Reply to this
  • 5/1/2012 9:24 AM Brandon Wagoner wrote:
    I have a shiba inu 25lbs. Right before bed 2days ago I noticed the right side of his muzzle was about triple the size. I called emergancy care, took him in. The vet didn't know what caused it she said it is most likely a bee sting, however she didn't find a stinger. She gave my dog steroid shot, and perscribed him Benadryl. The morning after he was looking great, the swelling was almost gone. Then in the evening it started coming back, and seems to fluctuate alot. Is this normal?
    Reply to this
    1. 5/2/2012 6:48 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      This is not normal.  When the swelling returns, I worry about inadequate treatment, continuing exposure to the toxin, a secondary infection has occurred a the sight of swelling or perhaps making the wrong diagnosis.  Was your dog still on Benadryl when the swelling returned?  In my experience, discontinuing treatment too soon is the most common cause for recurrence.  You might want to recheck with your regular veterinarian to make sure the fluctuant area is not forming an abscess.  Hope that helps.   
      Reply to this
  • 5/3/2012 11:56 AM roxy wrote:
    My 6 1/2 year old min pin has swollen cheeks, one side more so than the other, and one hive inside her ear. It just happened sometime this morning. Also, she has been licking her paws and body a lot today.
    Is there anything I can do without taking her to the vet. Does this sound like an allergic reaction or bug bite?
    Reply to this
    1. 5/4/2012 6:14 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From what you described, I am concerned that Rosie is suffering from an allergic reaction.  She needs to see a veterinarian for care right away.  Once the reaction is controlled, work with them to determine what caused it (insect bite, cleaning materials, vaccine, etc), how to spot the early signs of a reaction and how to treat at home.  In my experience, min pin's are prone to severe allergic reactions.  Please take her to a veterinarian immediately. 
      Reply to this
  • 5/8/2012 10:16 AM Erica wrote:
    my pit pup was fine and i left for a few hours when i got back her whole face was swollen i gave her benadryl and now (2 days later) her face is no longer swollen but looks almost as if her skin is pussing up on her cheeks, no fur loss, no pain no anything, have you ever heard of anything causing this? shes only 5 months old.
    Reply to this
    1. 5/8/2012 12:29 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Wow, this sounds like a serious problem.  Based on your description, I am concerned that your dog has a serious infection that requires antibiotic therapy.  Please take your dog to a veterinarian right away for medical care. 
      Reply to this
  • 5/9/2012 4:12 PM ashley wrote:
    I have a 6 week old chiuaha who has swelling on the face, jaws...around his mouth is hair loss and has drainage and rubbery feeling, and he has a discharge from his eyes, pleasehelp.
    Reply to this
    1. 5/10/2012 7:49 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From your description, I am very worried about your puppy.  Please get him into a veterinarian right away for treatment.  I am worried he might have puppy strangles or some other kind of infection. 
      Reply to this
  • 5/9/2012 5:38 PM Lauren wrote:
    My dog stopped eating her normal dry food about 5 days ago so she was taken to the vet when my mom noticed her red eye. The vet pointed out her swollen right side of the face which was hard to see because half her face is black. She is in severe pain and needed to be sedated for the vet to look in her mouth. The vet said the swelling is inside her mouth to the back of the jaw through the soft side of the back of the throat. On the outside, the swelling reaches up to her eye and close to her ear. There is no bad breath or odor and the vet said it was not an infection. No visible pus or bleeding. The swelling is firm, but there is no discernible lump or mass...just the puffiness of her face. The area is not warm to the touch and the eye is not leaky. She did not have breathing issues. She is on anti inflammatory and pain meds and we won't receive results of her test until Friday. Before she stopped eating, she showed no signs of pain or odd behavior...this seems to have come on suddenly. I am praying this isn't cancer but I just don't know. What do you think?
    Reply to this
  • 5/9/2012 5:46 PM Lauren wrote:
    My 10 year old 70 lb mutt stopped eating her normal dry food about 5 days ago so she was taken to the vet when my mom noticed her red eye. The vet pointed out her swollen right side of the face which was hard to see because half her face is black. She is in severe pain and needed to be sedated for the vet to look in her mouth. The vet said the swelling is inside her mouth to the back of the jaw through the soft side of the back of the throat. On the outside, the swelling reaches up to her eye and close to her ear. There is no bad breath or odor and the vet said it was not an infection. No visible pus or bleeding. The swelling is firm, but there is no discernible lump or mass...just the puffiness of her face. The area is not warm to the touch and the eye is not leaky. She did not have breathing issues. She is on anti inflammatory and pain meds and we won't receive results of her test until Friday. Before she stopped eating, she showed no signs of pain or odd behavior...this seems to have come on suddenly. I am praying this isn't cancer but I just don't know. What do you think?
    Reply to this
    1. 5/10/2012 7:55 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am glad you took your dog in for this problem.  From your description, it sounds like an unusual case so sending in a sample of the swelling for cytology is the way to go.  I hope and pray this is an accumulation of saliva from trauma to a salivary gland or duct.  Unfortunately, cancer is always on the rule out list.  Please let me know how this turns out.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for your dog. 
      Reply to this
      1. 5/10/2012 4:56 PM Lauren wrote:
        Thanks for your input. I still won't find out the results until tomorrow...but her eye is extremely bloodshot on the swollen side. Does that usually happen with a cancer?
        Reply to this
        1. 5/12/2012 5:25 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          That can happen with anything that causes pressure or disrupts blood flow to the area. 
          Reply to this
  • 5/22/2012 8:19 AM Colleen wrote:
    I have a 6 year old Bernese Mountain dog whose face became swollen two days ago (we thought she had been bitten by a bug) and then the swelling on the outside of her face went down. I however just looked in her mouth and noticed that there is some swelling above her teeth on one side of her mouth. She is eating and acting normally. The swelling is not that close to her teeth but rather above the teeth (I had to pull up her mouth flap to get a better look). There is one part that looks redder in color than the rest of the gums . Can you offer any advice. Thx
    Reply to this
    1. 5/23/2012 8:30 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I love Bernese Mountain dogs.  I always think of them as living teddy bears.  From your description, the swelling could be an abscessed tooth, accumulation of saliva or even cancer.  Please bring her to your veterinarian for further diagnostics and treatment. 
      Reply to this
  • 5/24/2012 8:43 PM Barbara wrote:
    I have a 4 month old boxer puppy (27lbs). My husband brought her in from outside at 2:30 PM and left her in her kennel in the house. When I got home at 5:30 PM, her left eye was swollen shut. I gave her 50 mg of Bendryl but the swelling hasn't gone down just yet and she seems pretty "tired".
    Reply to this
    1. 5/25/2012 10:35 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Allergic reactions usually cause generalized swelling of the face, not just one eye.  Please bring her in to a veterinarian for care right away.  I do not want her to lose vision in her eye. 
      Reply to this
  • 5/27/2012 7:29 PM Alisha wrote:
    My pug of 4 years face suddenly swelled up and within the hour it took to get her to the vet, it had swelled across her face. The vet thought it was an allergic reaction and gave her shots for the reaction. The swelling went down in a few hours, but since then it has swollen back up and the lumps have become hard as rock and have spread farther across her face. We tried the Benadryl the doctor gave her, but it has not helped. What can I do for her? We are worried to death about her.
    Reply to this
    1. 5/28/2012 12:33 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Bring her back to the vet right away.  This does not sound like a straight forward allergy reaction and might require further diagnostics to determine the cause.  Good luck with her!
      Reply to this
  • 6/3/2012 10:12 AM Pat wrote:
    Took my dog to vet because her hing leg was severely swollen, red and hot. Vet says my dog was probably bit by a spider (or even copperhead) put her on Keflex and Novox with hot and cold water soaks 3x a day at least. She got better for a while, then a flare up. Can I use a poultice? And am doing hot wet towel wraps as well as ice wraps as it is difficult to get her in and out of tub. Is this OK?
    Reply to this
    1. 6/4/2012 8:24 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am sorry about your dog.  From your description, it sounds like necrotizing vasculitis that is often seen after venomous bites from snakes and spiders.  Without actually examining your dog, I can't offer you much direction.  Treatment is always tailored to the patient and may include anti inflammator medicine, antibiotics for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, strong pain medication, antifungal therapy and hydrotherapy.  Sometimes the swelling gets so bad that pressure relief incisions are needed to save the leg.  Your veterinarian will need to monitor your dog closely and make treatment recommendations based on their findings.  Please recheck with your veterinarian right away for further treatments. 
      Reply to this
  • 6/4/2012 8:48 PM Pat wrote:
    Thank you. I did take her back to vet. HE put her on a different antibiotic (a sulphur based one), continue with Novox and hydrotherapy. Said a poultice would do her good so long as it didn't burn her skin.
    Reply to this
    1. 6/5/2012 8:44 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Putting her on a sulfa is a good choice because they penetrate tissue well.  Just watch her eyes closely for redness and/or discharge because sulfas can reduce tear production in animals and people.  Good luck with her!
      Reply to this
      1. 6/17/2012 8:21 AM PatK wrote:
        Swelling never went down. Lab results came back with malignant melanoma. Is this painful? She acts OK is eating/drinking...she is 11-14yo so aggressive treatment is not an option. Just need to know whether or not it is painful.
        Reply to this
        1. 6/17/2012 11:22 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          I am so sorry about your dog having malignant melanoma.  As you know this is an aggressive cancer in both humans and animals.  It can be very painful when it invades bone and soft tissues.  I strongly recommend medicine to control her pain.  You may also want to talk to your veterinarian about using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (nsaid) like piroxicam or carprofen to reduce swelling.  Also, I am curious why aggressive treatment isn't possible because she is 11-14 years old.  In veterinary school, my professor told me age is not a disease. I just did bloat surgery on a dog the same age who did great.  You might want to talk to a veterinary oncologist before making your final decision about her care.    
          Reply to this
  • 6/7/2012 4:49 PM Regina wrote:
    My 14 year old Chihuahua has swelling on her cheek and under her jaw, close to the neck. Not sure how much benedryl to give her but will try to get her into the vet first thing tomorrow morning. Any clue as to what it could be? She is so old we don't want to give anything that will harm her.
    Reply to this
    1. 6/8/2012 8:02 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      In a 'mature' Chihuahua, I worry about abscessed teeth as this breed seems to have a lot of dental problems.  I also worry about tumors, benign and malignant.  I am glad you are taking her to your veterinarian. 
      Reply to this
  • 6/8/2012 8:04 PM Regina wrote:
    We were no able to get her into the vet today but have an appointment tomorrow. I gave her benedryl and the swelling has gone down; however, she seems to be having trouble breathing off and on.
    Reply to this
    1. 6/9/2012 7:12 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am worried that you gave her too much benadryl.  Please check with your vet before giving anymore.  Good luck with the appointment today. 
      Reply to this
  • 6/9/2012 4:10 PM Regina wrote:
    Well, the vet said she probably was bitten by some sort of insect since the swelling went down after the benedryl. Being that the swelling was on her neck, he said that was probably causing the hard time breathing. He gave her a shot of cortisone and she seems to be doing much better (running around like a puppy). Thanks for your help!
    Reply to this
    1. 6/9/2012 7:30 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I'm glad to hear that she is doing well. Please give her a hug for me. 
      Reply to this
  • 6/17/2012 11:44 AM PatK wrote:
    Thanks. By soft tissue, the biopsy was taken from the lymphnode in hamstring. She is on Prednisone for now, vet to reevaluate after 5 days. She also has hip dysplasia, coupled with her age to me it's quality of life, am not sure if she would have this. 2 years ago I had to put down my GSD after he was diagnosed with renal endocarsinoma, it had spread and had no choice. I do not want her to suffer as he did.
    Reply to this
    1. 6/17/2012 8:46 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am so sorry to hear that the cancer has already spread to a lymph node and that your other dog developed renal adenocarcinoma.  I agree that the most important thing is to make sure she enjoys whatever time she has left.  After having cancer myself and spending time in the oncology ward of a human hospital, I am glad we have the option of humane euthanasia to keep our pets from suffering.  The pred should help with inflammation but she might need something for pain on top of that.  You may want to monitor her heart and respiratory rate.  If the rates increase at rest, that is often a sign of pain.  Again, I am so sorry to hear about both of your dogs.  My parrot has squamous cell carcinoma so I know what you are going through. 
      Reply to this
  • 6/18/2012 5:32 AM PatK wrote:
    I am glad you are OK! Yes, the prednisone is working just like a diuretic. Took me a bit figure out why she was going so much in such a short time, then I looked at her leg...still swollen, but 1/2 of what it was:)
    Thank you, this site is wonderful
    Reply to this
  • 6/25/2012 5:08 AM PatK wrote:
    Mt 11-14yo dog has maligant melanoma in hamstring of her hind leg (lyphmnode). On the prednizone the swelling went down for a bit, then swelled more. Vet put her on more prednisone and a synthetic pain killer. but swelling has not gone down. I try to keep ice on it. I know that this is an aggressive cancer and her time is limited. How do I know when to put her down? She is eating, pooping and peeing. She tries to keep up with the others but can't
    Reply to this
    1. 6/25/2012 11:52 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      This is a point of concern for all people who love their pets.  We don't want them to suffer but we also don't want to deprive them of any time either.  In my experience, when the time is right you dog will tell you.  She will look at you and you will know that she has had enough.  I also recommend monitoring a pet's heart and respiratory rate at rest.  When the rate increases, she is in pain and/or the cancer has spread to her lungs making it difficult to breathe.  My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. 
      Reply to this
  • 6/26/2012 6:33 PM Toni wrote:
    My 2 year old Boston Terrier had some allergic reaction to a possible bite, and she swelled on her face and snout first. I have her Benadryl and her face got better but it seems to travel down the rest of ther body and returned to her face. I took her to the vet and she got a shot, steroid I believe. She is still swollen and bumps keep coming and going. Is this normal? How long does it take to work?
    Reply to this
    1. 6/26/2012 6:50 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      There are different formulations of steroids, some are short acting and others stay in the body for a long time.  Without knowing the type used, it is hard to answer your question.  I would recommend contacting your veterinarian with a progress report right away.  Some reactions take longer to clear than others.  Good luck with her!
      Reply to this
  • 6/30/2012 10:42 PM Akanksha wrote:
    hi, today after me and my dog ( 5 months old labrador) came back after the morning walking ,i noticed redness over his left eye which suddenly spread to to lower jaw within a period of 15 to 2 minutes , his whole face had swollen , really bad . he couldn't open his eyes cheeks were heavy. i immediately took him to the vet who said he had some severe allergic reaction and gave him some shots , he said that withing 2 hours his swelling should come down about 50 percent or it could be fatal.He said that if he recovers there still could be some serious damage to his kidneys or liver or any other organ .its has been more than 2 hours and swelling has reduced somewhat but i m still worried .Can u give some advice .
    Reply to this
    1. 7/1/2012 7:07 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I have treated many lab pups for allergic reactions and so far, all of them have recovered without any long term problems.  I keep my patients in the hospital for aggressive treatment until the reaction is over and then send them home on antihistamines for a few days.  Because I treat them differently, I am afraid I can't be of much help in this situation.  I would recommend contacting your veterinarian to discuss your concerns and get a better understanding of the situation.  If you are still concerned, contact another veterinarian for a second opinion.  Good luck with him.          
      Reply to this
  • 8/6/2012 5:57 PM Brad wrote:
    I have a 25lb. Shiba Inu. Today he has been playful and full of energy as always. I took a nap this afternoon and after I awoke, he has been very lethargic. He has a tennis ball sized lump under his mandibular bone and appears to have edema surrounding his neck. I gave him some benadryl but it does not appear to be helping. He has also had a case of diarrhea. He was also eating grass when i took him out. I have been researching online but can't seem to find anything. Could you give me an idea of what the possibilities could be? Thank you!
    Reply to this
    1. 8/6/2012 7:22 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      This sounds like an emergency situation to me.  Please bring him to a veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.  If the swelling increases, it could make it difficult for him to breath. 
      Reply to this
  • 8/12/2012 5:24 AM Heather thompson wrote:
    My siberian huskey has a big lump on the side of her face it has appered over night and I dont know what to do I am on benifits and dont get paid till next week please help me
    Reply to this
    1. 8/12/2012 8:32 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Oh, I'm sorry to hear about your dog.  From the description is sounds like a tooth root abscess.  Those are very painful.  It could be something else but your husky does need to be seen by a veterinarian right away.  Some clinics offer care credit or a similar program.  This allows you to get treatment today and pay later.  Please call your veterinarian or emergency clinics in the area and see if they offer care credit. Given how painful these dental problems can be, I sincerely hope you can find a clinic today. 
      Reply to this
  • 8/12/2012 8:33 AM C. McNeill wrote:
    You might want to try some benedryl as it might be an allergic reaction ( maybe to a bug bite?). I give the liquid benedryl to my dog. Good luck!
    Reply to this
  • 8/14/2012 8:49 PM Mary Poole wrote:
    SantaFe our 1 yrlab stopped eating,ate perennial flower garden.Vomit Sat night& Sun Hives/benadryl Sun night Vet Monday Red blood cells in fecal matter &blood in vomit.admit to vet Mon morning. Fluids, anti-nausea, anti diaheral meds. Tues.diarrhea and both eyes bulging, 5 benadryl eye not going dowm kidneys clear HELP
    Reply to this
    1. 8/15/2012 11:37 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am very worried about the bulging eyes.  If this is glaucoma, it must be treated immediately to save your dog's vision.  Bring Santa Fe to a veterinarian right away for an examination and ocular pressure check.  Do not delay!
      Reply to this
  • 9/11/2012 6:14 PM lucy wrote:
    Hi,
    We have a lab/mix female about 6 years old. She has had two mass cell tumors removed. One removed about a month ago on her back leg and about two weeks ago the right side of her nose was very swollen big bump and I gave her benadryl and it went away. Today it's back same side. Is it more than allergies or a bite? thanks
    Reply to this
    1. 9/12/2012 8:38 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am sorry to tell you that it might be a recurrence of the mast cell tumor.  As you know, mast cell tumors do respond to benadryl (diphenhydramine) so we can't use a drug challenge as a way to distinguish between an allergic reaction and a mast  cell tumor.  I would recommend a visit to your veterinarian with a fine needle aspirate.  I hope and pray it is just a bug bite but we don't want to take any chances because of her history of mast cell tumor.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 9/11/2012 8:42 PM natalie wrote:
    Dr. Nelson
    I have 1 year old german shepard mix. He has had a few episodes of were is jaw locks for a few minutes but this time has been 26 hrs and still locked he has already gone through treatment once and the vet said he has only seen two cases. He yelps at first but then is just as happy as he was before. I am doing suppotive measures for him now and appears to be in no pain. There is swelling of the face or eyes no abnormities on his body. He has had all his shots and in good health except for this. He has a good temperment lets me touch his mouth and feed him. It's just like his jaw is frooze. I will not prolong his life in this condition it's not fair to him if there is nothing more I can do witch is what I am being told right now.Any
    ideas on how to help him use his jaw again? So I can aleast start his treatment again.
    sincerely
    hank (thats is name)
    Reply to this
    1. 9/12/2012 9:18 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      A 'locked jaw' or the inability to open the mouth can be caused by several different types of problems from inflammation of the muscles to a conduction problem in the nerves to a bone fracture.  Dr. Matthieu Gatineau and colleges authored an excellent paper on this topic titled, "Locked jaw syndrome in dogs and cats:  37 cases (1998 to 2005)" published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry in March of 2008.  It lists all the different causes of locked jaw as well as treatment outcomes.  As you will see, many causes can be treated successfully.  I would not consider euthanasia until you know the cause of Hank's condition and explored the associated treatment options.  He sounds like a wonderful dog and I am sorry that this has happened to him.  Good luck! 
      Reply to this
  • 9/24/2012 11:19 AM Ed H. wrote:
    I noticed that my 7yr old Pharaoh Hound had a slight swelling on his upper jaw, just under forward of the eye. The swollen area does not have a localized temperature but it seems a bit tender to the touch- though it is hard to tell since this breed is a bit head shy. There is no obvious sign of trauma- no open wound, the gums do not appear swollen, and there are no major behavioral changes in the dog. He is licking and swallowing a bit more than normal.

    I did contact my vet to alert them to this condition. I do not want to give any medications due to his current Reconcile prescription...unless I can be sure that there will be no interactions.

    Any advice you can give me?
    Reply to this
    1. 9/25/2012 10:01 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I would bring him to your veterinarian for a fine needle aspirate of the lump.  That is the only way to determine what the lump is and then give appropriate therapy.  I am glad that you are being cautious with your dog to avoid any drug interactions.  Good luck with him! 
      Reply to this
      1. 9/27/2012 9:21 AM Kathy wrote:
        My 6 month old English Mastiff developed a lump on his cheek....it happened right around the time he started eating rocks and so we started muzzling him when he was outside and I thought maybe in an effort to get the muzzle off he may have irritated it. I had my vet look at it when he was neutered 4 weeks ago and she said it was a swollen lymph node and to watch it. She didn't seem too concerned. It as not changed at all in size or shape since it first appeared and there are no other lumps that I see. Should I be as worried as I am feeling? He is one of 6 babies we have here on the farm and I am so worried it could be Cancer? Help!
        Reply to this
        1. 9/27/2012 11:02 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          I often see increased size in tonsils and lymph nodes in pups who are teething.  Usually, both sides are equal in size and return to normal within a week or so.  Based on the information you provided, I think it is time to perform a fine needle aspirate of the lump for diagnosis.  Although cancer is always possible, it is not very common in youngsters.  Hope that helps!
          Reply to this
  • 10/3/2012 12:09 PM Amanda wrote:
    Dr. Nelson

    I have a 7 year old Pit Bull mix and she came into the house yesterday morning with the left side of her face swollen from the muzzle to the cheek. She was eating and drinking fine. Last night her eye had swollen also. I gave her two caplets of benadryl since she weighs 70 lbs last night before bed with peanut butter. Today the swelling had gone done on the left side but she now has swelling on the right side from nose to above the eye.

    Any advice you can give? Please and thank you for your time.
    Reply to this
  • 10/3/2012 12:32 PM Amanda wrote:
    Dr. Nelson

    I have a 7 year old Pit Bull mix and she came into the house yesterday morning with the left side of her face swollen from the whiskers to the cheek. She was eating and drinking fine. Last night her eye had swollen also. I gave her two caplets of benadryl since she weighs 70 lbs last night before bed with peanut butter. Today the swelling had gone done on the left side but she now has swelling on the right side from nose to above the eye.

    Any advice you can give? Please and thank you for your time.
    Reply to this
  • 10/3/2012 12:36 PM Amanda wrote:
    Dr. Nelson

    I have a 7 year old Pit Bull mix and she came into the house yesterday morning with the left side of her face swollen from the whiskers to the cheek. She was eating and drinking fine. Last night her eye had swollen also. I gave her two caplets of benadryl since she weighs 70 lbs last night before bed with peanut butter. Today the swelling had gone done on the left side but she now has swelling on the right side from nose to above the eye.

    Any advice you can give? Please and thank you for your time.
    Reply to this
    1. 10/4/2012 7:45 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From what you described I am worried about a continued allergic reaction as well as a secondary infection.  Since the treatments vary for each, I strongly recommend a trip to your veterinarian.  They will also be able to formulate an emergency plan in case this happens again.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 11/6/2012 12:26 PM Ana wrote:
    Dr. Nelson,
    I have an 8 month old dog who woke up this morning with a small lump in the side of his eye. When I arrived home from school I noticed that the lump had moved to the bottom of his eye. It is soft to touch, not warm, and it seems to bother him when I touched it. What do I do? I'm very worried. Thank you for your time
    Reply to this
    1. 11/6/2012 8:04 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From your description, it is hard to know what is causing the lump.  I would recommend seeing a veterinarian who can perform a fine needle aspirate of the lump and tell you what it is.  A syringe is used to aspirate a few cells out of the lump and then placed on a microscope slide for analysis.  I would not take any chances with a painful lump, especially by an eye.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 12/6/2012 10:11 AM Amber wrote:
    I have an 8 wk old pit. We have had him now for three days. Last night while cleaning I put down the powder carpet freshner. At 4am I woke up to find my pup with a swollen face. Her eyes were nearly swollen shut. She also has small bumps maybe like insect bites on the top of her head. None of this seems to bother her as she is still the playful little pup. Please any advice would be appreciated. This is my first pup and I am clueless.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/6/2012 7:39 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      This puppy needs immediate emergency care.  He is having an allergic reaction which can prove fatal.  Many compounds can cause allergic reactions in some animals.  Shaken carpet fresheners are one such compound.  After your puppy sees the veterinarian and before he re-enters the environment, please shampoo the carpet to remove the powder.  Please get him in for emergency care immediately.  Good luck,
         

      Reply to this
  • 12/8/2012 12:22 AM adam wrote:
    my 3 month old german shepherd has redness around his eyes nose and mouth wed his right eye was swollen i took him to the vet and he got a benadril shot the swelling went away but not the redness he just mopes around not his playful self and both his ears are down instead of up as normal
    Reply to this
    1. 12/8/2012 7:36 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      As you know, it is not normal for a puppy to just lay around.  I am worried that this is more than a simple allergic reaction.  Please bring him back to your veterinarian right away.  I would also recommend a complete blood count to check for signs of infection.  Good luck with him. 
      Reply to this
  • 1/15/2013 6:05 PM Mike G. wrote:
    Dear Dr. Kris Nelson,

    My sister noticed our 10 year old boxer's eyes especially the right one very swollen, almost shut, and very red when he came to her room, plus he was a bit out of it. She called my mom who said it might be a insect bite and told her to give him an allergy pill. She gave him the pill inside of a veal spread and noticed that he could barely open his mouth and chew or swallow the spread with pill though he did. Then she came to tell me about half hour later. She showed me a photo she took, his left eye looked much better but right was still somewhat shut and both were red. He was also very droopy but that might have been from the allergy pill. I tried to give him a milkbone treat, he usually is able to bite about a third of it but he was only able to barely bite off a small piece and when he was chewing it he was barely anle to move his jaw and he kind of sounded like he was choking when he tried to swallow the treat. I then went on his daily afternoon walk and he did his business but only peed once and pooped once whem usually in the afternoon he'll go multiple time of each. Also he didn't want to walk as much and seemed very out of it. When I came home and was wiping him off with wet paper towel, when I wiped off his mouth I felt his jaw tremble to my touch. Now he is sleeping on the couch but still has somewhat swollen eyes and they are still reddish and still can't open his jaw more than an inch or two especially when he tries to yawn. He has been biten by bees and spiders more than once before but it usually causes just his eyes to swell up and not any jaw problem. My sister checked online and read that an abscessed tooth can cause all those symptoms. Do you think it can be that and if yes, what is the best way to check to see, or maybe you can think of any other causes.
    P.S. My sistet just came to me and said that his eyes aren't any better about 2 hours later and almost same as they were when she first noticed him.

    Please help.

    Thank you.

    Mike G.
    Reply to this
    1. 1/16/2013 7:00 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Please take your dog to a veterinarian immediately!  He needs more care than you can give at home.  I am very worried about him.  Do not delay.     
      Reply to this
  • 1/16/2013 9:25 AM Annie D. wrote:
    Mylee is our one year old (Nov. 29, 2011) French Bulldog. Mylee's left side of her face slowly got swollen over a three day period. We took her to the vet, he gave her antibiotics. The swelling went down after several days and a lump stayed on her cheek. The lump on her cheek had been there for months and on several occasions the swelling has returned. The vet has given her antibiotics on two separate occasions, steroids and then allergy pills. The lump which is hard to touch but doesn't seem to bother Mylee when you touch or put pressure on it. The lump has not shrunk and now its back to the original swelling, we have tried giving her Benadryl to help but her cheek is still swollen. I know the swelling will eventually go down it always does but the lump is always there and it has been since the first episode about 3 months ago when Mylee was about 9 months old.

    Please ask her if she's ever heard of this with her bulldogs or even anyone else's bulldogs.

    The doctor wants to do an exploratory surgery to see what going on in her cheek area and honestly I would rather not put Mylee through that, she's just a little baby.
    Reply to this
    1. 1/17/2013 7:05 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am concerned that Mylee has a dental problem causing the persistent swelling on her face.  Besides infected tooth roots, young animals may have cysts and other problems related to developing teeth.  I agree with your veterinarian that Mylee needs to be anesthetized for x-rays and other diagnostic tests.  These conditions can be very painful.  Please do not delay in taking her in.  Good luck to her!
      Reply to this
      1. 1/25/2013 3:14 PM Annie D. wrote:
        Hi Dr. Nelson,
        I just wanted to let you know Mylee had exploratory surgery this past Tuesday as well as X-rays and a biopsy of the area in question! We just got back a diagnosis from the biopsy of "lymphoplasmacytic" or "lymphoplasmacytic cellulitis". The vet. Tried to explain over the phone what it was but honestly I really didn't understand and I was at work when I got the call so it made it even harder to process... can you explain in layman terms so that both myself and my husband can make some sense of her diagnosis. Mylee's vet said something about putting her on prednisone. Thank you in advance.
        Reply to this
        1. 1/26/2013 7:35 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          This term drives me crazy too.  It basically means the lump is made up of two types of cells - lymphocytes and plasmacytes.  When I see it, I think immune reaction which is why your veterinarian is recommending a steroid trial.  Prednisone is a steroid that will dampen the immune response.  Unfortunately, it is rare to ever find our what is causing the immune reaction.  While Mylee is on the prednisone, she will eat and drink a lot.  Be sure to give her plenty of trips outside to prevent accidents.  This will decrease when the dose is decreased.  Remember to follow your veterinarian's instructions to taper her off the prednisone slowly to avoid problems. Hope that helps.   
          Reply to this
          1. 1/26/2013 2:58 PM Annie D wrote:
            Thank you so much Dr. Nelson! I've got a couple of more questions I'm so sorry but my little Mylee has us so worried because we love her so very much! Will the prednisone cure the condition? If it doesn't cure her will Mylee continue to get swollen and need prednisone as a long term treatment? Will this condition continue to reoccur either in the same or other areas? Is it a genetic problem? I hear the prednisone may effect her liver if it's a long term treatment is this true? What do you mean the prednisone will dampen the immune response? Will she be more supceptable to other illnesses while on the prednisone? Thank you again, and again I apologize in advance for being such a pain.
            Reply to this
            1. 1/27/2013 5:16 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
              Unfortunately, the response to pred varies with each dog so I cannot give you the answers you desire.  In some dogs, one treatment cycle of pred is all that is needed while others will have to stay on it forever.  Yes, pred can be hard on the liver but there is a formula your veterinarian can use to determine how much pred Mylee can have in one year without causing irreversible damage.  If Mylee has to go on it chronically, I would definitely calculate that amount.  I use the term 'damper' to mean suppress the immune system so it will be functioning at less than 100 percent.  I would avoid parks, pet stores and other places that dogs frequent while she is on the drug.  Hope that helps!
              Reply to this
  • 1/21/2013 5:51 PM Danielle Rosenfield wrote:
    Hi,
    I have a 9 week old Chihuahua (i've had him since 6 weeks.) And he has cysts on both eyes (one on the top lid, two on the other bottom and top). And recently he's been okay, and the swelling has gone down. But today i've noticed his cheeks are swelling. It started with one, then the other. Right under his ears. It's scaring me, but I was wondering if this will go down as well? Or should I take him to the emergency vet clinic?
    Reply to this
    1. 1/22/2013 5:19 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Yes, your puppy needs care right away.  Do not delay.  I am worried that he might have puppy strangles or another kind of infection. 
      Reply to this
  • 1/25/2013 9:52 AM Annie D. wrote:
    Hi Dr. Nelson,

    Mylee had exploratory surgery this past Tuesday. No foreign objects were found so her veterinarian took a punch biopsy. The result of the biopsy just came in and I have no clue as to what this means, we are meeting with Mylee's vet. this coming week. The biopsy result says Mylee has Lymphoplasmacytic cellulitis. I've tried doing a goggle search to better understand what this diagnosis means but haven't had much luck so I come to you hoping you can better explain Mylee's diagnosis so I can then explain to my husband what this means. Help.
    Reply to this
  • 1/28/2013 10:30 PM Brenda wrote:
    My 14 year old Jack Russell has developed a huge bone like knot on his right cheek under his eye... he is also chattering his teeth alot. Tonight he is lethargic and won't drink water. He won't give his normal "kisses" and is quivering and his tail will not wag. Any ideas?
    Reply to this
    1. 1/29/2013 6:57 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am very worried that your dog has an abscessed tooth root.  This condition is extremely painful which could cause teeth chattering.  Please bring him to your veterinarian right away.  If I am right, the tooth will need to be extracted to alleviate his pain.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 1/29/2013 3:38 PM Carla wrote:
    Dear Dr. Nelson,
    My 6 yr old lab/retriever, Shooter, took off one morning and gradually started getting a buldgy eye & swelling on the left side of his muzzle and a bump on his nose. After about two weeks it wasn't going away so I took him to the vet. He did xrays & lab. Needle asp. Teeth and bones checked out good. But blood work came back with high sign of infection. He prescribed bayril & prednisone. After a month, the recheck blood work showed no improvement. So thought maybe it was was a fungal infection, very rare in our northern State of ND. But prescribed med for that. After another month, Shooter is still no better. We've spent $1,000. And now they say we should do a biopsy. Maybe it is just coinsidence that all this occurred shortly after running around (in the country) all day? But sure seems strange he was perfectly normal before that. Do you have any other suggestions or diagnosis?
    Reply to this
    1. 1/29/2013 8:24 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      After my fight with cancer, one of my best memories was having the chance to speak at the Grand Forks Women's Show.  I'm not sure which part of the state you are in, but know that I have a fond place in my heart for North Dakota.  Unfortunately I have to agree that at this point, the only way to get the answer is through a biopsy.  I'm sorry to share this bad news given what you have been through already.  I wish you the best of luck with Shooter. 
      Reply to this
  • 2/1/2013 4:36 PM Leslie wrote:
    Dear Dr. Nelson,

    I have a 65 pound pit/lab mix who will be around 2 in April. A few months ago, she was turning her nose up at food. On December 26th, she did the same thing. By the end of the night, her lymph nodes (predominately the right) on her face were EXTREMELY swollen, and she developed a tennis ball size lump under her jaw, that leaned more towards the right side of her neck. Parts of it felt hard, parts of it felt soft, and I could move it around. She didn't act like it hurt, but she wouldn't yawn, bark, or shake her head, and she acted like she couldn't even walk without being in pain. Thinking it just had to be an allergic reaction, we rushed her to the vet.. and they gave her prednisone and some antibioitics. After finishing the prednisone, the lump came back.. and all the symptoms came back as well.

    This has been going on since at least December 26th. Every time she is weaned off the prednisone, the swelling comes back. At this point.... she has had blood tests done, needle aspirations, two CTs, an ultrasound, and a biopsy. The ultrasound showed a LARGE mass deep inside her face/neck area. The blood test showed some elevated WBCs. The needle aspirate of this mass showed 'numerous neutrophils but no obvious bacteria or obvious cancer cells.' The first CT showed an "ill defined fluid to soft tissue attenuating mass affect medial to the right mandibular salivary gland." There was no evidence of foreign material within the soft tissues, and an abscess associated with a penetrating foreign body is 'considered less likely.' The ultrasound showed one visible lymph node measuring 1.84 x 1.21 cm, enlarged poorly marginated mass effect cranial to the lymph node measuring conservatively 4.06 x 2.87 cm, and mixed ethogenicity with some focal areas of fluid within the mass. There was also no 'noted for an object, trauma, or obvious abnormalities on oral examination.'

    Yesterday, she had the risky surgery to remove the mass and get a biopsy/culture of it. When they opened her up for the surgery.. the mass was much smaller than it was after the first CT from a few weeks ago (which they assume is because she's on the prednisone?). What they did find was..... lymph node tissue.. THAT'S the mass, but it's just smaller than it was before. So, they removed the lymph node tissue, and we're awaiting the biopsy and culture results. They also took out her salivary gland to be safe, but they are pretty confident that this is NOT a salivary gland issue.. they also don't think this is any sort of an abscess. What do you think this could be?
    Reply to this
    1. 2/3/2013 8:25 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Wow, this is a very unusual case and your veterinarians have done an excellent job!  I can't wait to hear what the pathologists find on the mass.  Your veterinarians have already ruled-out most of the common causes so . . .  I would think about the following causes in a young dog.  If your dog has a peripheral eosinophilia, I would look for a mast cell tumor.  If the FNA found pyogranulomatous inflammation, I would look for bartonella.  Lastly, I would check the lower jaw for dental problems.  If the pathology report is inconclusive, I would have a veterinary dentist examine your dog for dental problems in the lower jaw.  I've seen two young dogs with a similar history that turned out to be abscessed tooth roots.  Hope that helps.  Please let me know when you get the pathology report. 
      Reply to this
      1. 2/4/2013 12:00 PM Leslie wrote:
        Thank you so much, Dr. Nelson. We're still awaiting the results, but I will let you know. I know they ruled out abscessed teeth and took a good look in her mouth when she was put under, which has been several times at this point. I was hoping all it was was an abscessed tooth.

        The one thing I can add is that we did rescue her as a puppy from very bad conditions (she was in a dumpster and COVERED in fleas.. and had every parasite). Her condition improved quickly, but she was only 9 pounds at 3-4 months, and she's now 65 pounds. She has always been rather sickly, though, so I sometimes wonder if this could be some autoimmune thing? What is peripheral eosionophillia?
        Reply to this
        1. 2/4/2013 8:19 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          I assume that your dog's dental films were clean if your veterinarians ruled out the possibility of a tooth root abscess (it is the only way to diagnose it).  Peripheral eosinophilia means that there are more than the normal amount of white blood cells called eosinophils in the patient's blood stream.  Eosinophils are associated with an immune response, usually parasites of some kind.  Hope that helps!   
          Reply to this
          1. 2/6/2013 11:13 AM Leslie wrote:
            Hi Dr. Nelson,
            We got the results back yesterday and well, everything is still inconclusive but they didn't find ANY cancer. I asked about her teeth, and they said they have checked them each time she was put under and they don't see any signs of decay, and that the mass was not near where a typical tooth problem would be. It was a lot deeper. For now, they want to keep her on a longer dose of steroids and are hoping this will do the trick. I'm grateful that it isn't cancer, but this still really is quite a mystery. Thanks for all your help.
            Reply to this
  • 2/5/2013 5:18 PM Jill wrote:
    Dear Dr. Nelson,
    My boyfriend lives in Florida and has a 1 year old Golden that he says has a swollen muzzle. He noticed it yesterday evening and it is not getting any better. She is still drinking water but not eating today, and she seems very lethargic. He recently mowed the lawn and she is known to eat pretty much anything (frogs, spiders). He's going to try Benadryl tonight and take her to the vet sometime tomorrow, but I'm concerned it might be something more serious. There is no sign of any cuts or trauma, and no foaming or anything like that. She is usually such a vibrant, bouncy little thing. I'm just concerned because I am not there to baby her (I live in Chicago). Any comments/advice will be appreciated. Thank you.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/5/2013 8:16 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I would strongly recommend having your boyfriend bring your dog to a veterinarian right away.  There are 24 hour clinics for after hour emergencies, just like this.  I would not wait until tomorrow, especially since the dog is anorexic and lethargic.  Don't wait any longer to get care for this dog. 
      Reply to this
      1. 2/7/2013 8:30 AM Jenna Rogers wrote:
        Hello,
        My dog woke up this morning with the left side of her face swollen. It's swollen right under her mussel (left). She is acting like her normal self, but Im still scared and don't have the money to go to the vet :(
        Reply to this
        1. 2/9/2013 7:29 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          As you know from reading this blog post, there are many, many things that cause swelling in this area. It could be something  simple like an insect bite to something far more serious like tooth root infections or even cancer.  I am sorry but there isn't much I can do to help her.  She really needs to go into her veterinarian for diagnostics and then treatment.  Many clinics offer CARE credit to help with situations like this.  Please take her in right away. 
          Reply to this
  • 2/7/2013 7:22 PM Jenny wrote:
    Hi, I have a 6yr old chihuahua/yorkie mix, and I just noticed yesterday that her jaw, right under her eye is swollen. She won't let anyone touch it, but she seems fine, still eating and drinking. And today I noticed the swelling bigger, no open sores or cuts either.. Could you please give me you thoughts about what it could b and how to treat it? Thanks,
    Jenny
    Reply to this
    1. 2/9/2013 7:34 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From your description, I am worried that your dog has a tooth root abscess.  In my experience, Yorkies and Chihuahuas have a lot of dental problems.  Please bring your dog into a veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.  Do not delay as this is a very painful condition. 
      Reply to this
  • 2/20/2013 8:19 PM Jerry wowk wrote:
    My dogs face was swollen on right side vet said it could be a abscess or cancer i asked if we could try antibiotics first it worked for about a month then came back vet wanted to put her under to check plus clean her teeth they said it could be a access tooth or cancer but the total cost would be starting at 2000.00 plus depending on what they find help very expensive thanks. any suggestions please thanks.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/22/2013 8:03 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I'm sorry to learn about your dog.  You got the correct answer as far as likely causes and the proper treatment protocol.  The only suggestion I would have is to get a second opinion as to the price but I believe medically, your veterinarian gave you the right answer.  Depending on where you live, that may be the going rate or not.
      Reply to this
  • 5/13/2013 8:42 PM Jenn wrote:
    My pup (she's a little over a year old now) has recently been going through periods of facial swelling. A few says ago I had been getting ready for work when I noticed the left side of her upper lip was extremely swollen, I looked at it and found a bump with a small hole on the inside of her lip and figured she got in a spat with one of my cats and just cleaned it and put some ointment on it and left for work, when I got home the swelling was gone completely. The next day when I was getting ready to leave for work again I saw that her lower lip on the left side was swollen so much it was making her face droop. Again I checked the area but I didn't see any cuts or bumps so I just cleaned the area up and had to go to work. Again when I got home the swelling had disappeared. Then today I woke up and her face right under her left eye was swollen so that her eye could barely open along with both sides of her face along her jaw and her tongue. I checked the area and didn't find any cuts so I looked up causes of swelling and found that allergies can cause swelling so I gave her half of a childrens Benadryl and had to leave again for work. When I got home her swelling had disappeared again but now her tongue has begun swelling again to the point that it has become difficult for her to close her mouth, I'm worried her throat might swell and don't have the ability to take her to a vet right now. I'm very worried about her and an wondering what I might be able to do to prevent further harm until I can bring her to see her vet. Please help!
    Reply to this
    1. 5/14/2013 10:47 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am worried about your pup too.  She needs to go to her veterinarian right away to determine what is causing her swelling before it occludes her airways.  Many clinics offer Care Credit to help out with emergencies.  Please get her in right away. 
      Reply to this
  • 5/30/2013 9:35 PM Lindsey wrote:
    Yesterday morning when I let my dogs out of their crate, I noticed my pug had a lot of swelling in her left cheek. We live far from our nearest vet, so I gave her a proper dosage of benadryl, checked for any signs of stingers or bites (there were none that I could see), and felt the area. It is soft like her face normally is, just swollen. I also washed the area. By bedtime yesterday her swelling was minimal, almost gone. This morning, a few hours after she was due for another dose of benadryl, her cheek was fairly puffy again and she had more eye boogers than normal. I gave her her dose of benadryl and by bedtime tonight the swelling is down again, just a little bit of puffiness under her eye. I thought of an abscess right away and have tried checking her mouth, but she is a pain in the butt when it comes to opening her mouth and trying to see her teeth. She has an extremely flat face, so it's not easy! I could feel her teeth and gums, though, which felt fine. I did call the vet, but they are out for the week and they couldn't schedule me in until Wednesday so I'm stuck waiting and worrying.
    Reply to this
    1. 6/1/2013 6:34 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I'm glad you started with Benadryl right away.  To get a complete diagnosis may involve x-rays and needle aspirate.  So of course, you will need the veterinary visit for that.  Until you can get in, it is hard to say without seeing your dog.  We typically hot pack infections to bring them to a head.  We use cold packs to reduce swelling.  I'm guessing here as I haven't seen your dog but I would think cold packs may help. 
      Reply to this
      1. 6/1/2013 7:21 AM Lindsey wrote:
        We were actually able to get an appointment with a vet in another town yesterday morning. We were told it was most likely a spider bite and she is continuing benadryl and is now on antibiotics as well. I was so glad to find out her teeth are perfectly healthy and were not the cause!
        Reply to this
        1. 6/1/2013 4:09 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          That's wonderful news.  I am glad that she is on the road to recovery!
          Reply to this
  • 6/12/2013 8:24 PM Kellie wrote:
    My puppy is about 18 weeks old. She is a walker hound dog. Her face swollen in the right side. It goes down below her mouth. What could this be??
    Reply to this
    1. 6/13/2013 12:15 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Swelling in this area could be caused by several things including strangles, an abscess, allergic reaction to an insect bite and even dental problems.  As you know, pups chew on everything at this age which leads to fractured teeth as well as foreign bodies.  They can also have problems with the permanent teeth that are developing below the gum line.  Hope that helps!
      Reply to this
  • 6/21/2013 12:27 AM John wrote:
    I gave my four month old puppy his multi vaccine and distemper shot yesterday. He is a beagle jack russel bulldog mix and his front bottom lip is very swollen. It hasn't spread to anywhere else but also hasn't gone down at all even after two 25 mg benedril and bag balm and ice on it. I have checked for insect bites and snake bites. Also have checked for cactus needles nothing. He seems in good spirits and is eating normally. The lip is sensitive to the touch and he pulls away every time I try to touch it. I checked his gums as well and no signs of abscesses. I understand that it's possible he is having a reaction to the shot but I don't see why it would be only on his lip. I'm wondering how long to wait before going to the vet. I recently was released from active duty in the army and my funds are in short supply and vets are expensive. He is worth every penny but I don't want to take him and then find out it was unnecessary. Any advice is appreciated
    Reply to this
    1. 6/21/2013 10:14 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Thank you for your service!  From your description, this does not sound like a typical reaction to a vaccine.  Usually,  the swelling is more generalized in nature, not painful and responds well to diphenhydramine with vaccine reactions.  Check with the manufacturer of the vaccine to see if any unusual reactions have occurred.  If you strike out there, I'm afraid you will have to bring him in for a physical examination.  Also, I have seen many 'home vaccinated' pups develop parvovirus in the Phoenix area.  I suspect the vaccine wasn't kept cool and our high summer temperatures inactivated it. Good luck with him!  
      Reply to this
  • 6/22/2013 12:12 AM rose wrote:
    I have a 1 year old dog. He's a mixed mutt. I keep him in his cage while I'm at work and I came home today with his face swollen...under his chin he has a knot..its right where they usually have that lil knot with hair thingy. I don't know wat its called but...his neck is sagging skin and it usually isn't like that and his nose and face and cheeks are all swollen...I'm very worried. Please help me how do I know if its a tumor or just an allergy reaction?
    Reply to this
    1. 6/22/2013 7:11 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      In young animals, allergic reactions, infections and dental problems may cause swelling in this area.  Although cancer is always a possibility, it is less common in young animals.  To diagnose your pet, I recommend a trip to your veterinarian for an exam and diagnostics.  I like to look at a sample from the lump under a microscope.  Good luck with you dog! 
      Reply to this
  • 7/10/2013 12:29 AM BETO SANCHEZ wrote:
    MY DOG JUZT HAD PUPZ 4 DAYZ AGO AND NOW ZHEZ PANTING FAZT AND HAZ A THUMP ZOUND WHEN ZHEZ PANTING..ZHE ALZO HAZ HER THE RIGHT ZIDE OF HER MUZZLE ZWOLLEN AND I DON'T KNOW WHY... ANY IDEAZ WAT I CAN BE??
    Reply to this
    1. 7/12/2013 8:31 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I'm afraid that a swollen muzzle can be a sign of potentially fatal conditions.  An allergic reaction is one potential cause.  Of course, we hope that's not the case but you need to get your dog into the veterinarian immediately. 
      Reply to this
  • 7/18/2013 7:43 PM Kim wrote:
    I just gave my 6Wk old Pitt bull
    A bath with baby shampoo and now her eye is swollen up on left side, what do you think caused it and how can I treat it?
    Reply to this
    1. 7/18/2013 8:54 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      In general, I don't recommend using human shampoos on pets.  I would rinse you pup's eye thorough with eye flush then bring her to a veterinarian right away.  I am concerned that the shampoo might have caused a corneal ulceration or conjunctivitis.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 7/20/2013 8:51 PM Violet wrote:
    My dog came back from kannel after a week vacation and we notced his lower jaw is swallen, he acts normal, eats, drinks, should we be worried? Could this be bee sting or reaction to something?
    Reply to this
    1. 7/21/2013 6:31 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Swelling of the lower jaw can be caused by several things.  In my experience, the most common causes are infections of the teeth, gum or lymph nodes, a blocked salivary duct and contact allergy with chemicals used for cleaning.  Less common causes include fracture of the jaw bone and even cancer.  Some animals will continue to eat even with severe disease so appetite is not a reliable indicator of severity.  Please bring your dog to your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.   
      Reply to this
  • 7/23/2013 2:07 AM Misty Best wrote:
    My 2 year old rottweiler has a very swollen eye and face ( right side). I've given benedryl and tried a warm compress. After the first compress and does of benedryl it seemed to get a little better. Now several hours later it's worse than before. No change in food or treats. She could have eaten my cat's wet food (my kids after feeding the cat don't always remove the dish and she sometimes eats what's left over) Usually if she does she throws up and occasionally her eyes get a little puffy. This is by far the worse I've seen and I'm worried. She has been to the vet for other reasons and I mentioned her eyes. They think possible food allergies. How long should I wait before contacting her vet about the swelling? Is their anything else I can give her or do for her so she is comfortable?
    Reply to this
    1. 7/23/2013 2:01 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      A swollen eye can be caused by several things including allergies, infection in and around the eye and even cancer.  Please bring your dog in for medical care right away.  I wouldn't take any chance with her vision.  Good luck with her. 
      Reply to this
  • 9/4/2013 10:00 PM Tammi wrote:
    First I want to say how fabulous you are! I was looking up info about my 5 yr old lab/german shepherd jowl swollen and what it may mean. And just kept reading all the issues and replies what a great service you provide. LOVE your knowledge about vaccines never considered the issue with dogs.
    OK So Max our 5 yr old has a swollen lower lip or jowl at the part that ripples about 2 in or so not painful to touch it seems. Don't see any bites or stings. He has a 20wk old brother a Havanese-poo who likes to lick and play at his face but don't see anything but this swelling. Wondering what you think.
    Reply to this
    1. 9/5/2013 8:24 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Thank you for the very kind words.  It is a joy for me to write this blog and know that pets and people are helped.  Regarding Max, and after your kindness, I am deeply disappointed to say that I honestly don't know what is going on with him.  This is a case where physical examination will be critical.  So I must recommend that you take him in tomorrow and if the swelling grows, find an emergency clinic tonight.  Again, thank you for your kindness.
      Reply to this
  • 12/12/2013 11:21 AM Melissa wrote:
    I have a 15 year old Pomeranian mix dog (she is bigger than a true pomeranian)that has some hard facial swelling on the upper left side of her jaw (sort of where the upper and lower jaw connects). She has lost a lot of weight and I am unsure if it is from not eating. She is now on wet dog food and has eaten 2 cans of it in 48 hours as well as soft treats, rice and gravy. I took her to the vet and she put her on antibiotics (3 days ago)and tried looking in her mouth and said it was too swollen to see. She has bad teeth and bad breath but the older she got, the less anyone suggested a dental cleaning at her yearly check ups. I am so worried that this may be cancer. She has no pus or bleeding, is not vomiting, no diarriah and she is eating and drinking fine now. She only seems in pain when she opens her mouth too wide. Any thoughts. We see the vet again in a couple of days but I am sick to my stomach that it may be cancer. Is cancer swelling hard like that? Is she too old for treatment or to be put under anesthetic?
    Reply to this
    1. 12/12/2013 4:48 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am so sorry that your dog is in pain! I am always concerned when an animal loses weight without being placed on a diet. Unfortunately, I agree with your veterinarian that an infection (bacterial or fungal) and cancer are the two most likely causes. To get a diagnosis, I would recommend performing a needle aspirate as well as X-rays of the area. Both causes can feel hard or soft so there is no way to know from feeling, what this is. 

      As for anesthesia, if your dog is otherwise healthy, there is no reason she can't have anesthesia. As my professor used to say, "Age is not a disease.  It is just another factor to consider." Your veterinarian will take extra precautions to make sure the procedure is as safe as possible.

      I know you are very worried about your little girl, but hang in there. Veterinary medicine has come a long way.  If this does turn out to be cancer, speak with a veterinary oncologist to make sure you understand all the treatment options. Good luck!

       

      Reply to this
  • 12/23/2013 4:38 PM Debbie wrote:
    We got our 10 year old son a now 11 week old yellow lab, Bailey one week ago yesterday as an early Christmas gift. The day we brought her home and introduced her to our 9 year old choclate lab, Chili they got off to a rough start and he bit her on the neck. Bailey had a small puncture from a tooth. We cleaned it up and she seemed fine. Today we noticed a swollen spot just below her jaw bone and just above the now healing puncture wound. The swollen area is a little larger than quarter size. I tried researching the possibilities and there are many and some are scary. My 10 year old son is totally in love with this puppy, with tomorrow being Christmas Eve, our vet will not be open for two days and I am nervous about waiting in the event this is something serious. Could it be an infection from the bite, and if so what would treatment be? Do I need to find an emergency vet clinic or are we ok to wait the two days and have her seen after Christmas? We do have a co-op close by that sales some pet meds, I'm wondering if we should start her on something and if so what and how much? The spot does not seem to be bothering her, she is eating drinking and active. She weighs about 20 - 25 pounds. We also gave her 1/2 of a canex in the middle of the week as treatment for worms, could this be an allergic reaction?

    Thank you in advance, I can tell I will be reading your blog regularly now that I have found it.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/27/2013 7:41 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am sorry for the slow response. I was checking the blog during Christmas break but I missed your comment. I would be most concerned about an abscess forming beneath Bailey's skin. Bring her to a veterinarian right away for treatment. Depending upon what they find, Bailey might need to have the area lanced and flushed.  Good luck with her and congratulations on the new addition.
      Reply to this
  • 1/10/2014 10:17 PM kelly wrote:
    My 13 year old golden began getting a swollen lower lip. I've only noticed it the past couple days but it seems to have gotten a little worse. He has hip dysplasia and arthritis and is on a few medications for that, but has been taking them for at least 3-4 months with no incidents. It's Saturday now and I plan on taking him to the vet on Monday. Any advice till then would help. I've read about giving him benadryl but I'm not sure if it would react with his pain, arthritis, and/or thyroid medication. Please help. Thank you
    Reply to this
    1. 1/12/2014 7:29 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am sorry for the slow response. I was out of town for a book event. I am glad you are bringing your dog in on Monday. With older Golden Retrievers, I worry about cancer, infections and autoimmune disease. Hopefully, it will be something easy to treat. Until then, I would apply a cold compress and see if that helps. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel works well. Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 1/18/2014 7:34 AM kerrie wrote:
    my 7 mth old lab cross kelpie developed huge swelling in the right side of head above the ear right down to eye and his jaw looked caved in on one side and he refused to open jaw more than a few centimetres. all this overnight. we took him to vet that said he had a grass seed in head and it was just him refusing to open mouth. painkillers and antibiotics and 2 days later worse we took him back and they sedated him for X-rays which showed nothing and they couldn't open his mouth while sedated. $560 dollars later they say they've never seen it before and referred us to a specialist for an MRI as they now think it is muscular skeletal. i simply cannot afford $1000 for an MRI plus further treatment as i have a family of 5 and a 7yr old shitzu and 15 yr old cat. his left side of face is now swollen too and his left eye is watering and he has a lot of dribble coming out of his mouth now as he can't seem to control his jaw. we love him dearly and want to help him but what can we do that is not going send me broke. our last dog a staffy died at 13 and was a great dog and cost us barely anything and she sits in an urn at home now. i would love the same for this dog. what would cause such a huge change in facial/head deformity so fast? and for the vets to not even know? i was thinking of aspirin and benadryl for the pain and swelling. he seems to not be in pain though he is so happy but is that just a dogs love for you? i don't know what to do but don't want him in pain either and if this is long term what is his quality of life if we have to hand feed him. we can live with the elephant dog head we love him but not if he is in pain. please help
    Reply to this
    1. 1/18/2014 8:33 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Wow, what a sad and frustrating case for both you and your dog.  Unfortunately, I can't give you many specifics because I don't know enough about the case (antibiotics used, type of sedation, etc.) but I will do my best to provide some insight that might help.  In young dogs like yours, I worry about foreign bodies, fractures, infections and autoimmune disease.  As you know, not being able to open a dog's mouth is a very bad sign. But I have had several cases where I couldn't open the mouth under sedation because the dog wasn't deep enough.  When I completely anesthetized them, I could open it. I would strongly recommend get a sample of the swelling to examine under the microscope.  Hopefully, that will help your veterinarian make a tentative diagnosis.  If this rules out an infectious cause, then your veterinarian may be able to try immunosuppressive therapy to reduce swelling and hopefully allow your dog to open his mouth.  I would hate to consider euthanasia without knowing if something as simple as a steroid could help your dog.  One final thought, skull films (x-rays) are very hard to read.  I hope you can get a second opinion quickly.  Good luck with him.
      Reply to this
  • 1/20/2014 8:48 PM Sarah wrote:
    My dog (approx. 8-year old Border Collie cross) has within the past 24 hours developed a hard, unmovable, 1" wide bump on the upper jaw under her eye on one side. It is not sensitive to the touch, although she is very stoic about everything. I will take her to the vet as soon as possible (hopefully tomorrow), but am very worried in the meantime, and as I recently moved I don't yet have a vet whom I trust. I'm not sure this is relevant, but the dog had a skin infection along the top of her nose for which she just finished taking antibiotics (vet said it was a bacterial skin infection so prescribed Bactril--I think that's its name). The dog does have stained teeth from many years living in a shelter without anything to chew on, but since we adopted her she hasn't had any serious tooth problems or any other health issues. Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thank you.
    Reply to this
    1. 1/21/2014 9:18 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From your description, I am very concerned about an infected tooth root. Your dog is very stoic as this condition is painful! She will need dental films to make the diagnosis, looking for an abscessed root. Treatment is removal of the tooth. Please ask around and get her into a veterinarian right away.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
      1. 1/23/2014 10:03 PM Sarah wrote:
        Thanks Dr. Nelson. We took her to the vet and he identified it as an abscess in molar four. He took blood so that she can undergo a tooth cleaning during which he said he will remove the tooth if necessary (but claims he may be able to save it based on the level of damage). She received a loading dose of antibiotics and is on 2 weeks of oral antibiotics. Once the blood work comes back she can be scheduled for the dental work. What I learned in this process is that an abscess can feel as hard as the bone in their upper jaw, but it really is just the infection causing the bump. With the antibiotics it has reduced in size. Although stoic I worry if she is eating enough and whether she should have her normal treats and toys (dentastix, nylabone).

        On another matter, our other dog (an 80lb Weimeraner/lab cross, female, 4 yrs) suddenly developed a broken nail (the one slightly up the leg on the front left). It is too high up to clip off, and bent outwards in a way that might catch on things. She is also licking it a lot. I put antibiotic ointment on it after cleaning it and at present there is no swelling or visible infection. I padded it with gauze and bandaged it, followed by a bootie over top (all loose enough not to cause painful pressure), so that it can heal without further damage. It isn't bleeding or anything. Is there anything else that I should do?
        Reply to this
        1. 1/24/2014 9:35 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          I am glad that your dog is feeling better and the swelling is going down. I can't imagine how much it must hurt with all the pressure from the abscess. To be safe, I wouldn't give her any chews until her mouth is completely healed after her dental.

          For your other dog, your initial care sounds good. My concern now is why did the nail break? In young dogs, broken nails are often caused by trauma and/or an underlying infection. If the infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will help. If it is caused by a fungus, then special medications are required. In older dogs, cancer in the toe causes the nail to fall or break off at the nail bed.  I would recommend bringing her in for an examination to make sure there is no underlying problem that needs attention.  Hope that helps! 

          Reply to this
          1. 1/25/2014 12:26 PM Sarah wrote:
            Thanks Dr. Nelson. I'll have it looked at by our vet.
            Reply to this
  • 1/21/2014 2:45 PM kerrie wrote:
    We believe that my puppy has MMM. not officially though so we are trying him on a course of prednisone and overnight we can already see a change for the good. yay. just bait sad that it took 2 vets and $730 and unnecessary X-rays that he had to be knocked out for. i know vets like to find if there are any broken bones etc but they also need to listen to the owners as we told them there was no possibility there was any breaks as he was mostly inside and we pushed for the swelling in the face and jaw but were ignored. now we appear right and if it wasn't for the internet and social media we would be paying a fortune more for wrong diagnoses. something so small as a $21 bottle of prednisone is fixing him. thanks for your time.
    Reply to this
  • 1/31/2014 8:49 PM Emily wrote:
    my 5 month old puppy has a lump on his left cheek, its towards the back and he doesn't seem to be in pain or fever but we are not sure if its a teething thing or something else? its not on his neck and its only on one side, should i wait and see if it goes down or should i take him to the vet? it doesnt seem to hurt him if i touch it but he wont let me open his mouth to check his teeth. he is eating and drinking fine.
    Reply to this
    1. 2/1/2014 8:31 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I'm afraid he needs to see a veterinarian right away.  These young ones can develop dentigerous cysts (unerupted tooth that has to be surgically removed), infections, problems with the lymph node or salivary gland.  Often x-rays are needed to make the diagnosis although sometimes a needle aspirate will be enough.  I also want to mention how important it is that you and your veterinarian train the dog that he needs to let you look at his mouth.  Later in life, this can become a real issue for the veterinary staff if he should need care requiring them to pill him or do other work with his teeth.
      Reply to this
  • 2/12/2014 6:09 PM Crystal wrote:
    My 7mth pup eyes and jaw were swollen and red hives on bottom of body, vet gave him a shot of steroids and something else and put him on predisone and an antibiotic. Got him home and bathe him. Swelling went down but hives is still bright red on stomach, under arms, nose and ears. Have washed all blankets. Why is he still red?
    Reply to this
    1. 2/12/2014 6:57 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      From your description, I am worried that your pup is still being exposed to the antigen that set him off. Did you bathe him? If not, I would bathe him immediately and rinse him thoroughly to remove soap residue.  Then, think through the week before he reacted. Did you clean the carpets, get a new bag of food or clean your house with something new?  Try to think of anything new that might have triggered this reaction.  Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 3/5/2014 6:45 AM Jon wrote:
    Hello, I have a 3 month old Australian shepherd. Last night I found the side of his face was swollen and this morning it seems to have gotten worse. Its now getting behind his eye. Two things pop out at me right away. He had his first try of peanut butter that day and he also had a good long play with my parents dog. They play pretty rough biting at each others face (playfully). So I'm thinking allergy or trauma. I was just wondering if benydryl is good for all dogs? Was planning on trying it out and monitoring how he reacts, before I take him to the vet. Or should I just skip the benydryl and take him there now. Don't want to be to quick to run to the vet if it's a minor thing but I'd hate for anything to happen.
    Reply to this
    1. 3/5/2014 9:26 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      Although allergic reactions are possible in pups, they are very rare. I would be more concerned about an infectious process like puppy strangles, a fractured tooth or an infection as you mentioned. I would bring him to your veterinarian right away before it gets any worse. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can be used to treat allergic reactions in dogs but needs to be dosed carefully. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you as to the best antihistamine drug and the dose for your pup. Good luck!


      Reply to this
      1. 3/14/2014 6:54 PM Debbie wrote:
        I've had my dog to the vet 5 times since 1/30/14. My dog is 3 yrs old. His throat started swelling on Jan 30, but he was able to eat & drink. His back lower legs swelled & he started having difficulty getting up. He now has swelling in the face and under the chin. He still has difficulty getting up, seems weak in the back legs. Blood tests are all perfect, so far. Xrays showed fluid in the throat, no diagnosis after 3 vets. He eats and drinks and wants to play, but his ears and tail are down, so I know he feels horrible. What can it be?!
        Reply to this
        1. 3/15/2014 2:58 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
          This is obviously a very frustrating case, for you as well as the veterinarians your dog has seen. I am afraid I need to more information before I can help you. What kind of swelling is it? What lab tests were done? Did you check for tick diseases? I would also would recommend doing a fine needle aspirate of the swelling to see what kind of cells are present.
          Reply to this
          1. 3/22/2014 9:15 AM Debbie wrote:
            Blood culture being done right now, results next week. They went to do an ultrasound and discovered he was covered in hives. He also had a fever of 104.5 that day. Many blood test, all negative and nearly normal. No valley fever, no tick disease. Swelling reducing, but still evident in the throat with trouble drinking. Eating ok. On Clindamycin, benedryl, Pepcid and carprofen since Monday. Hives are almost gone on his body.
            Reply to this
            1. 3/23/2014 8:59 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
              What a difficult situation.  First, I am genuinely pleased with all of the tests you are undertaking.  You clearly love your dog a great deal.  From everything you have shared, your veterinarian is pursuing the case thoughtfully.  Outside of a toxin, I'm afraid I don't have any great insight to offer.  I do suggest that your veterinarian consider posting all of the pertinent details to Veterinary Information Network (VIN).  This is a subscription service only available to veterinarians.  It provides a way to consult a wide array of specialists at one time and might lead to someone having an insight that currently escapes me.  Alternatively, your veterinarian could consult specialists at a teaching hospital if there is one at a university in your area.

              I'm sorry that I don't have a good answer.  I certainly wish you good luck and hope you will keep me posted when the mystery is solved. 

              Reply to this
              1. 3/28/2014 10:30 PM Debbie wrote:
                It's still not solved, but we have discovered another decrease in red and white cells. She says it is non-regenerative anemia, not sure why. 2nd Valley Fever test was negative. Aspiration of hind lymph node showed a lot of inflammation. He is losing the edema, which is a good thing. Treating w/ minocycline which seemed to help, but he is still very lethargic and weak, esp. in the hind legs. I love him, he is my dog. I hope we figure it out.
                Reply to this
                1. 3/31/2014 7:47 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
                  I am sorry to hear about the second episode of decreased red and white blood cells. Your veterinarian labeled it non-regenerative based on the number of reticulocytes in the blood sample. Reticulocytes are immature red blood cells that are released from the bone marrow when there aren't enough mature red blood cells in circulation. Normally, they are less than 1% of the total red blood cells. In a regenerative anemia, the reticulocyte count soars to over 80,000 retic/ul. In non-regenerative anemia, the reticulocyte count is below this number.

                  I am glad he is responding to the minocycline.  Hopefully, he has some sort of rickettsial (tick) disease and the minocycline will take care of it. Some of these can be very difficult to diagnose.  Please keep me posted.  

                  Reply to this
                  1. 4/4/2014 5:36 PM Debbie wrote:
                    His RBC and WBC came up, but he is still anemic. Swelling has greatly reduced, but he still has some swelling in his throat area. He feels better, but now he is getting hot spots in his ears and on his front legs. Rash is nearly gone. We're keeping him on Benedry, Rimadyl, Pepcid and Minocycline. His eating is off and has some very soft stools, but I think overall, he's better. We'll re-check in 3 weeks or sooner if ne needs it. Thank you for your help and I will keep you posted.
                    Reply to this
                    1. 4/8/2014 5:06 PM Debbie wrote:
                      We had to relieve Maverick's suffering Monday morning. He took a horrible turn for the worse and he was struggling to stay alive. One odd thing they discovered on Saturday, his Red Blood cells were star shaped. We are having a necropsy performed because we have to know what happened to him. We are heart broken. He had such a big character - everything is missing a piece of Maverick. He was such a wonderful dog and so young. We will always miss him.
                      Reply to this
                      1. 4/9/2014 7:27 PM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
                        I am so sorry to hear about Maverick. I agree that losing a pet is heartbreaking. Please know that it is normal to think you see and/or hear him around the house for the next several months. I take this as a sign of how much you loved him, your special relationship. Please let me know what the necropsy finds. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.
                        Reply to this
  • 3/23/2014 9:58 PM Melanie wrote:
    Our 14 week old puppy (german shepherd/lab mix) has a swollen face on one side of her snout. It is noticeably swollen when looking at her straight on but not incredibly huge. It is sensitive to the touch and inside her mouth we can see that there is some darkness above one tooth on the same side as the swelling. Her gums do not appear to be swollen inside her mouth, but there is discoloration there. This happened today, on a Sunday, so we have to wait until morning to bring her to the vet, but I have been so worried about her and do not know why her face is swollen. Could teething cause this? Can a puppy get an abscess? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    p.s. she does act a little bit less active than usual, but still is playing with our other puppy and eating/drinking.
    Thanks again.
    Reply to this
    1. 3/24/2014 7:24 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am sorry to hear about your puppy. It seems like these kinds of things always happen on the weekend. Although it is possible for puppies to get a tooth root abscess, I worry more about a fractured deciduous tooth, a penetrating foreign body or some sort of developmental anomaly such as a dentigerous cyst. Most of these require x-rays for diagnosis. Good luck with her!
      Reply to this
  • 4/3/2014 4:10 PM Melissa wrote:
    HELP I have a three year old female Black & Tan Coonhound. Very healthy and weighs 93 pounds. Over three and half weeks ago she started flapping her ears and wasnt feeling like her normal wild self. Vet said some infection in ear. Gave antibiotic and meds for ear. On about the third day or so I notice her favoring her back left leg. Still not really feeling like herself even after a week of meds.I took her back one week later. Vet did CBC and also examined her her and said ACL was the issue in her leg, blood work came back low white blood count. Low 4000. Gave antibiotics and come back next week. Gave meds for another week, went back white blood count down to 3000. That was today. Given more antibiotics and now her left face by eye is swollen. She refuses to move or eat. She is my baby and I am so frustrated and want some answers. Now she has another appt to vet tomorrow. Is there something else we should be look into. She seems to switch up the back legs that are hurting her. SO confused and scared.
    Reply to this
    1. 4/4/2014 7:29 AM Dr Kris Nelson wrote:
      I am sorry to hear about your dog. I need more information about your dog before I can help. Specifically, I need to know if she is running a fever and the results of her neurologic examination. When I hear this kind of history I worry about the following diseases: meningitis, meningomyelitis and immune-mediated polyarthritis.  Beside rechecking her white blood cell count with a CBC, I would perform a chemistry panel, 4 DX tick panel, x-rays and joint taps with culture/sensitivity of the fluid as well as analysis.  It is vital to have a concrete diagnosis before starting therapy as the immunosuppressive drugs required to treat some diseases may have devastating consequences with other problems. Hope that helps!
      Reply to this
      1. 4/4/2014 7:49 AM Melissa wrote:
        The vet is only checking the WBC to see if she is able to have her ACL surgery. I have been three weeks in a row to have them check the WBC.I have expressed my concern because of her behavior and lethargic attitude. And why would a ACL cause her WBC to keep decreasing even on antibiotics. She has always been a VERY active dog and now she barley moves from the couch. She had initially a full blood panel for her pre op of surgery ( which never happened because of the low white blood count)Vet said everything looked good except her white blood count. Which continues to decrease. We are going back today and I would like something other than a WBC and antibiotics done for her. I know as a furbaby momma we sometimes get overly concerned, but in this case she is NOT getting any better and no other test has been run on her. I will check and see if she is still running a fever. She has runny eyes and a nose. Thank you for giving me some ideas to ask the vet about. At this point its like we are just giving her antibiotics and hoping he gets better.
        Reply to this
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