Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Poor Puppy. She Likes Sticks Too Much

You probably know this by now, but this is me and my dog, Panda. She's my baby. She will be 2 next month, so she's still very much a puppy. As such, she likes to chew on things, but she's had enough time to figure out what we'll get mad at her for chewing on. 

Panda and me during pre-Christmas festivities
Moving right along, about a week ago now, Tim and I started to notice Panda was smelling funny - not really bad, but occasionally, she'd be nearby and one or both of us would catch a whiff of something odd. Then last weekend, on our driving down to San Diego, I sat in the back with her 1) because she gets car sick, and 2) we were driving my friend down and we didn't want to take any chances of Panda being sick on her. As I sat in the backseat with my very large pup, I noticed the smell was stronger, but I couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from - I couldn't even come close. It was almost like an aura, but if I stuck my nose in her fur, it didn't smell weird.
Over the course of the weekend, the smell slowly got worse. Tim's mom suggested it might be that we needed to get her anal glands emptied (? is that even the right term for that?) since it was kind of a fishy smell, which is often associated with that, but the smell didn't seem like it was coming from her tush.
His dad said something about her having stinky breath, but he mentioned his dog did too, and I generally try not to smell dogs' breath.

Tuesday night, Tim gave in and gave Panda a bath. When she got out of the bath smelling like baby shampoo and weird fishiness, we figured it was either her bum or her breath. I'm not sure how, but by the time we went to bed on Tuesday, we knew that her breath was the source of the stink - and she seemed to be doing a weird mouth-smacking thing, like her mouth was dry.
We had no idea what the solution for that could be. Maybe she was dehydrated? How could we get her to drink more water?

Last night when I got home from work, I was taken aback by how bad the smell had gotten. She likes to jump up on me when I open the door, so the breath-to-face contact made me cringe a bit and try to keep her mouth away from me. Then I noticed she was smacking her mouth a lot too.

Since she's essentially my child, I picked up the phone and called the vet. They said there are any number of reasons she could have smelly breath and be smacking her mouth, so I should take her in just to be sure. I looked her symptoms up on the interwebs and found it could be anything from dehydration to oral infection to tumors. I stepped away from the internet at the suggestion that my 2 year old puppy might have tumors. I checked her gums to see if maybe she needed her teeth cleaned, but they looked fine - nothing stuck in her gums as best I could see.

This morning we got up early and I took her to the vet. Within 30 seconds, the guy opens up her mouth and finds something similar to this lovely image I put together using Google image search and Paint. (I don't happen to have a photo of the roof of my dog's mouth on hand)

She had apparently gotten a hold of some bamboo or other similar stick, chewed it up, and got a big chunk of it stuck on the roof of her mouth. It was there for days and we didn't know about it. I feel so terrible for not even thinking to force her mouth open and check that something might have been stuck there.

The vet pulled it out, they flushed out the sores it left behind, pumped her with antibiotics, and gave her back to me, saying her breath should be back to normal soon.

I feel so much better now - even though we're a little poorer than we were when we woke up this morning. It was well worth it for the peace of mind.

I was still left with the following train of thought: Do people get things stuck in the roofs of their mouths? No? Because we have fingers? Can dogs use their paws to scratch the insides of the mouths? I guess not.

No comments:

Post a Comment