Almost over night, the side of her face swelled up and within hours, a hard lump almost the size of a pancake formed right below her ear. I thought something so sudden must be a rattlesnake bite and rushed her to the 24 hour clinic to get her on antivenin treatment.
She was examined by the two vets on duty, who told me since the swelling is painless, it almost certainly wasn't a snake bite. They went through the other possibilities—assess, due to a bad tooth or foxtail, allergic reaction to an insect sting, blocked salivary gland, and cancer including lymphatic cancer. Good grief, I thought, this can't be happening. This all came up within a few hours!
The vet went back to continue the examination and to do a needle aspiration of the lump and an x-ray. Both were negative— nothing to indicate an abscess (no infected tooth or entry wound for a foxtail either, although it could be a deeper infection that wasn't reached by the needle); nothing showing on the x-ray of the lungs and thorax. They just didn't know what is going on and since Mindy is still eating and acting normally, referred me to a veterinary surgeon who I see on Tuesday, and left me with some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pills to put her on since there is a possibility it still could be an infection.
So we are waiting for Tuesday to see if we can learn something else from the surgeon. The most likely candidates right now seem to be a salivary blockage which can only be treated surgically, and some kind of lymphoma, which cannot be surgically dealt with and is sometimes treated with chemo drugs but is usually fatal.
Both vets said Mindy is one of the calmest, sweetest dogs they have seen. Everyone always says that when they meet her, but I'm just sick at heart right now and have become very attached to this little girl.
|So sorry to hear this, I hope Tues gives you some positive news.|
|Fingers crossed and white light sent to Mindy. Please let us know what the vet says.|
I had to take Mindy back to the emergency clinic Sunday. One half of her face, and most of her jaw and neck had swelled up enormously.
This time they did an ultrasound on the main mass and saw a couple of "pockets of something". So they stuck a needle in the largest of them and drew a lot of pinkish, cloudy fluid. A large assess. The newest areas of swelling is not as hard and they said it is edema.
The emergency vets were afraid to dig into it since the main mass is in an area of many facial nerves but they did numb it and lance into the pocket they had seen on the ultra sound. Drew off about 30 ml of pus and blood and a small fragment came with it that they showed me that looks like part of a damn foxtail. The rest is still in there apparently. The spot drained all night as we kept warm wet compresses on it. It has scabbed over this morning and I hope the severe edema doesn't return.
The emergency vets said they would rather a surgeon take it from here because of the delicacy of the location of the infection so I go in tomorrow to see one.
I am somewhat relieved but afraid this is going to be a delicate and expensive operation hunting around for pieces of foxtail in her face. Made sure I don't have any more foxtail grass in the back yard (I've always rooted them out) but my neighbor hasn't cleaned up his yard and it is full of them. One probably blew in past the fence.
|Thank goodness it was a foxtail and not something worse!|
Those are such a pia! I had two digs that went almost septic in their paw and leg from foxtail. Hope you both can get some rest and she heals quickly!
|What is a "foxtail"? Is it like a grass seed head? So far Sprocket has not had any "foreign bodies" causing problems. Previous OES have had grass seed head in ear, eye, up nose. xx|
|A foxtail is grass that is a common annual weed in the western US. They are not a native species in North America but are adapted to dry mediterranean climates. I think they originally come from the steppes of Russia. It's seed clusters look a little like wheat but the individual seeds have a pointed tip and a fan-like end that acts like a barb. They can get caught in fur, toes and noses and will self-penetrate the skin and then will travel inside the body quite long distances. I am religious about grubbing them out when I see one sprouting along the fence but my neighbor's yard is an unmoved weed patch and there are many foxtails there. They can blow in the wind.|
They're can be really nasty and usually result in a major infection. Often a surgeon will end up chasing them in multiple surgeries as they move from the initial spot of entry.
|OMG, DAMN is right for foxtails! We fight those here as well. Even the vet calls them damn foxtails. Bitches can get them caught up in the vagina if they sit on them. Plus they migrate through the body. |
Puncturevine is another weed problem here but they don't go internal most of the time. Dogs can dig them out if they get them in the paws and then spit them out for us humans to step on in the middle of the night. Exception is between the toes and pads....like foxtails they can severely crease your credit card with the vet.
|A few days ago the surgeon looked over Mindy and repeated the ultrasound. He could see pockets of infection that had fingers running out from the central area and said if he went in now, "…he would make a mess." He suggested that I continue with the antibiotics to see if any remnants of the foxtail became encapsulated so that they would show up better on an x-ray and ultrasound.|
So that's what I have done. The swelling has gone down drastically. If there is anything still in there, maybe it is being isolated. The course of antibiotics have almost a week to run and since she is much improved, I am just keeping an eye on her. Hopefully she won't need surgery.
Much relieved although the checkbook took a big hit.
|I have been paralyzed with fear to open this thread|
|How is Mindy doing now? Improving daily I hope? xx|
|Mindy has two days left on a 14 day regimen of the combination antibiotic Amoxicillin/Clavulanate. I don't think I've ever heard of the second drug but the culture of the fluid they removed from the abscess showed that the type of bacterial infection she has responds to clavulante so the vets made no change in her treatment. In any case, the swelling has basically disappeared.|
Maybe the foxtail was just the little piece that came out– at least I hope that is the case– and this is the end of it, or at least what remains has been completely isolated. Pretty scary for awhile particularly when the vets couldn't pin down a diagnosis for the first few days and I was hearing the worst possibilities were the most likely.
|Amoxicillin/Clavulanate is also known as augmentin.|
From what my neighbor (who happens to be a pharmacist) told me, bacteria became resistant to Amoxicillin, so they add the Clavulanate to (if I remember correctly) to deactivate an enzyme in the bacteria so that it can't become resistant to the Amoxicillin. Something like that.
It's what i take when I get sinus infections.
|Yeah, human Augmentin is branded as Clavamox at the vet.|
|How is Mindy? Did she make a full recovery?|
|Mindy seems to have made a full recovery. The swelling and edema are completely down. Two weeks of amoxicillin/clavulanate antibiotics took care of the large abscess and the horrible edema that made one side of her jaw droop down alarmingly. Either that piece of the foxtail that came out when they lanced the main part of the abscess was the only foreign body that was in there, or whatever is left is now completely encapsulated. I'm not about to put her through a surgery to find out unless it becomes infected again.|
Now that she's better, I took Mindy to the dog park for the second time yesterday. Don't think I will be going there again. She just isn't interested in other dogs apparently. The puppies annoyed her (I guess she's had enough of puppy antics in her life), snapped at the males that tried to hump her (maybe had enough of that too), and was annoyed when she went up to people to get petted and other dogs got in the way. In any case, she couldn't wait to get home.
|Thank god she has got over that incident ok. What a shame she didn't enjoy the dog park, good chance to meet other dogs. We don't have such things near where I live in Kent(England) and Sprocket was never socialised enough as a small pup so he is now "on guard" every time he sees another dog apart from the 3 that he knows and likes-they are friendly to him-all others round here growl, snarl and snap at us when go past the open gates to housed or farms-nowhere is there a "nice" local walk. xx|
|I am happy she has recovered. As for dog parks, they are not for every dog. They can be overwhelming. It is great that she has a few good friends-sometimes quality is better than quantity!|
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