Oral Ulcer in a Dog: Penny’s Foul Breath (Halitosis)

Dental issues are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. But what if there is something else going on?

Potential causes of bad breath in dogs include:

  • gum or periodontal disease
  • tooth abscess
  • foreign bodies
  • systemic issues such as GI, metabolic, respiratory or autoimmune disease
  • poisoning

In any case, foul breath alerts you to a problem that can even be life-threatening in some cases. So don’t look for ways to mask the odor; look for the underlying cause. And don’t forget that bad teeth can be extremely painful.

Further reading: Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Oral Ulcer in a Dog: Penny's Foul Breath

Penny’s story

Penny was a senior Shetland Sheepdog, her mom’s pride and joy. How readily one notices foul breath odor depends on how close their relationship is. Penny and her mom were close, and Penny liked spending time on mom’s lap, snuggling her muzzle against her face. So it is no surprise that her mom noticed Penny’s stinky breath right away.

The smell was so bad that at first, Penny’s mom didn’t realize where it was coming from. Did Penny roll in something nasty? Ate something naughty?

Her mom checked Penny all over but didn’t find the source of the odor. Finally, it became clear it was coming from Penny’s mouth. Immediately, her mom suspected a dental problem and made an appointment with their veterinarian.

At the veterinarian

Indeed, Penny’s mouth had all sorts of problems going on—not that surprising in a senior dog. Her mouth was inflamed, teeth had tartar build-up, several had infected roots, and some were loose.

Penny needed dental work. Yet, the veterinarian felt that even all that wouldn’t explain the terrible odor. His instinct was telling him something else was amiss.

Nevertheless, he booked Penny for dental work, hoping that the problem becomes apparent while he gets a closer look.

Penny’s dental procedure

Once Penny was under anesthesia, the veterinarian had good access to her mouth to remedy her dental problems and have a good look. The smell coming out of Penny’s mouth was horrid—as if something died in there.

The veterinarian cleaned Penny’s teeth and removed the rotten ones. As he was doing that, the attending nurse noticed something out of the ordinary. A cylindrical piece of plastic covered one of Penny’s teeth, half-buried in Penny’s gums. As a result, Penny developed a deep, infected ulcer at the site.

At some point, Penny must have been chewing on a piece of wire, and a section of the plastic got pushed over one of her teeth.

Problem solved

As soon as the veterinarian removed the plastic and cleaned out the ulcer, the smell subsided. By the time her mom picked Penny from the hospital, the bad smell was gone.

Source story:
Penny, the Shetland Sheepdog, Had Foul-Smelling Breath

Related articles:
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Bad Breath in Dogs: When Bad Breath Can Kill!

Further reading:

Categories: Bad breathConditionsDental diseaseDog health advocacyForeign bodiesReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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