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Mystery Swelling, Now Getting Bigger


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So the past couple days I've been looking at Cash and thinking she was getting sort of "jowly." The skin on the front of her neck was beginning to hang down and be floppy, which it hasn't been before. She's going to be 9 in a couple weeks and I was mostly putting it down to her aging and losing a little bit of weight. Her attitude and appetite was good, and she was really having a nice long good stretch (she's also a spook and is on medication for this which has been working very well).

 

This morning, DH leaned over to rub her ear goodby when he was leaving, and she yelped and jumped. He thought he'd just startled her, and we didn't think anything of it. Well, I started investigating and poking around and found that she had a swelling under her ear and behind her jaw. Just a small thing, not even something I would have noticed had I not been poking around. She was very tender in this area too.

 

As I watched her over the next couple hours, the swelling began to get bigger, and she developed a defined lump in the "wattle" area she'd begun to have. I became concerned and took her into the vet this afternoon. By the time we got to the vet's office, I could clearly see the swelling on the right side of her head and neck, and the lump in her throat was bigger.

 

Because we scheduled at the last minute, we didn't see "our" vet, who we love, and who is pretty greyhound savvy. This vet examined her - everything was normal except for this swelling. She had bloodwork done just a week ago, which all came back normal, as well. The vet could not elicit any pain response from the swelling behind her ear (not surprising as Cash was very stressed and in statue mode). She did aspirate the lump in her neck and withdrew a pink-tinged serum-type liquid. No puss, no blood, no obvious signs of any infection. The lump isn't affecting her ability to eat or swallow or breath.

 

She diagnosed non-specific "cellulitis" and sent us home with rimadyl and a penicillin antibiotic I am not familiar with - Simplicef 200 mg (cefpodoxime proxetil). I'll be looking this up after I post this. Cash did not eat her dinner, also not a surprise, but I needed her to eat to give her the ABs. I did get her to eat a chicken breast and some pasta a little later, and she has now had her first dose of ABs.

 

BUT, since we've been home, the swelling has increase and there's a large floppy bump along her lower right jaw - following the lymph nodes, is what I would describe. She is very tender over the whole area, especially below her right ear. She is cocking her head towards the right when she is standing or sitting upright, so I know it's sore. My thinking is that all the poking and prodding has worked the fluid loose and it's just dumping anywhere it can find.

 

Does this sound reasonable?

Is there anything I can do to help the fluid move along and dissipate?

Is there a point where she should go to the e-vet for something like this, and what could they do to help her?

 

Sorry this is so long. With Cash, nothing is ever simple. :rolleyes: Thanks in advance!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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What comes to my mind is a tooth infection or ear infection. One sided? My one experience with lymphoma had it presenting bilaterally at the neck.

Fluid will drain to the lowest point. If the head is down the fluid may follow. Heck, it might pool down the chest.

Does she have a temperature?

 

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I don't think e-vet as long as the lump isn't causing breathing or swallowing issues. The e-vet won't be able to do anything your own vet can't do on Monday, but the e-vet will cost you so much more.

 

Simplecef is a good antibiotic. I think it's supposed to be more easily tolerated than cephalexin/Keflex. Both drugs are classed as "a cephalosporin antibiotic."

 

I'll have to let others chime in as to whether warm compresses are helpful. You could be looking at a blocked salivary gland, an abscessed tooth (although I think she'd be more painful), or some other issues. Goofydog's Get Em had a similar situation, but I can't find the thread here on Greytalk. You might want to PM her for advice.

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Thanks!

 

No temperature all day. I've taken it several times and it was only marginally elevated at the vet. It IS very warm here though and she's been panting a lot.

 

Tooth or ear infection was what my initial thought was. It's very far back on her head for a tooth - the location would be far down her throat on the inside. Ear infection is still possible as she is tender right underneath her ear flap. The ABs should take care of any sort of infection though so the location might not matter.

 

I had also thought of lymphoma as one of our Great Danes had a similar incident. When the vet put her under for an exploratory surgery, she discovered some sort of cancer (I assume lymphoma) all throughout her neck and lower head area. We made the decision to not wake her up and euthanized the dog on the table. I don't "think" this is what's going on this time, but your mind automatically goes there, of course.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Could she have punctured her pharyngeal area/throat on something like a piece of bone or a stick? I know it's unlikely, but I'm wondering if there could be an abscess down there... although you'd think she'd be unwilling to eat, if there were. Same would apply to a tooth problem, and maybe ear infection too, since the jaw hinges very close to the ear and can impact on it, pain wise.

 

I hope you solve the mystery soon, so she can heal!

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WOW! Exact symptoms with our girl Tiggy a few weeks ago, swelling in jowl area, defined lump, no fever, head tilt, pain, etc. Our vet felt the same as yours. Gave us tramadol, prednisone and abx. Within 48 hours after starting meds she was vastly improved. It's now 2 weeks later and she is fine. It's a mystery that we hope doesn't come back. Sending good thoughts for your Cash

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Guest Fasave

Blocked salivary gland?

Or torn salivary gland. Happened to my boy but his filled inside so it wasn't as obvious and took months to diagnos.

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Blocked salivary gland?

My thoughts exactly. Our 12 y/o grey girl Darcy has a sizeable wattle. Its a blocked salivary gland. Our vet gave us a referral to a specialist, but advised us that the likely solution is surgical. We're not going to put Darcy through surgery at her age. It doesn't impact her ability to eat or drink. It doesn't bother her to touch it. As long as it doesn't seem to bother her, we're leaving it alone.

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Well, Cash looks like a one-sided chipmunk this morning. When we got up I was certain I was going to have to make a trip to the e-vet. But there's still no temp, her attitude is surprisingly good, she peed, she ate treats and drank a fair bit of water, and actually ate a whole chicken breast. :yay

 

The lump behind her jaw is now very hard and solid, so now I'm tending to think it's a salivary gland or something like that. I'll watch her for now to make sure she can breath OK and drink water. She's only had one dose of ABs, so I think I'll give it a little more time before spending the money for the e-vet to tell me they can't do anything. :rolleyes:

 

Thanks everyone!!!!!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Guest OPointyDog

One of the dogs we regularly do M&G with has a condition that sounds like this - his is a blocked salivary gland. One side of his face gets a big swollen area that can be huge sometimes when it fills with fluid, and it seems to get bigger and smaller over time. Then the blockage seems to clear and it goes away. It will reappear months later. It doesn't seem to bother him and fortunately is not something life-threatening. I know his owner has had it drained when it doesn't clear on its own.

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Thanks for the update, Chris.

The fact that she's behaving normally and there's no temp is encouraging.

 

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Glad to see she's feeling well enough to eat. Hope she heals quickly!

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Sounds like infection to me--abscess in the making. Causes could be from a foreign body, spider bite..... Personally, I would warm water compress a few times a day. Look for an area on the skin that may be a different color.

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The lump behind her jaw is now very hard and solid, so now I'm tending to think it's a salivary gland or something like that.

 

Hard and solid actually makes me more concerned. A blocked or torn salivary gland usually causes a soft, fluidy swelling. But as long as she feels good and is eating well, I don't think an e-vet is necessary. Hopefully it starts to improve as she gets more of the meds.

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Agree a blocked salivary gland would be soft and mushy, not hard. Glad she's feeling good. Keep us updated.

 

 

Hard and solid actually makes me more concerned. A blocked or torn salivary gland usually causes a soft, fluidy swelling. But as long as she feels good and is eating well, I don't think an e-vet is necessary. Hopefully it starts to improve as she gets more of the meds.

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Agree a blocked salivary gland would be soft and mushy, not hard. Glad she's feeling good. Keep us updated.

 

 

Agreed x2. Darcy's wattle due to a salivary gland issue is soft and mushy. Its not hard or sensitive.

 

As long as she is eating, drinking and seems OK I don't think an e-vet is needed, but its worthwhile following-up with your regular vet.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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Sunday night update. The swelling is not any worse but it's also not any better. The whole right side of her face and neck is quite swollen. The facial swelling itself is very soft and fluid, but the bump behind her jaw is really hard. I did get her second dose of Abs in her tonight, though she didn't really eat much dinner - some salmon treats, a few spoons of canned food, some broth and a couple bites of chicken. She *will* chew harder things - like a treat she wants at the time - and she is continuing to drink water. Her attitude remains about the same though I know she is (was) in considerable discomfort.

 

She has refused to take the chewable rimadyl tabs, and I'm reluctant to pill her with them as they are bigger and she is painful all around her mouth and neck. I had a tramadol tab leftover (a smaller pill) that she took in a pill pocket about 2pm. Since then, she's been panting much less and seems to rest more comfortably.

 

I will be calling our vet again tomorrow to see what they advise. I'm at least going to get some more tramadol. From my research, a salivary gland issue seems the most likely, but then surgery seems to be the only option if the Abs don't work.

 

Hoo boy. I just want her to feel better.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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If you want to give the rimadyl, could try breaking it up into smaller pieces and wrapping each in a little canned food, soft cheese, or peanutbutter. Hope it's nothing serious!

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I've ended up taking her in to the e-vet. Her swelling, which has been stable all day, started getting bigger and creeping over to the other side of her face.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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