What do you think is the most common cause of facial swelling in dogs? What if it is asymmetrical in the form of a bump?
If you suspect an insect sting, spider, or a snake bite, you could be right; such things do happen. Speed of onset might help narrow things down. A swelling for one of these reasons may or may not be an emergency.
What if the swelling creeps up and doesn’t go away?
Holly is a Jack Russel Terrier, which makes her an energetic busybody despite her age. I would be no surprise if she sustained a sting, bite, or a wound during her activities.
The first thing Holly’s mom noticed was a small, swollen blemish on Holly’s right cheek. The bump was dome-shaped, smooth, red, and about the size of a pea.
Because Holly is an older dog, her mom suspected a tumor. Worried, she made a veterinary appointment.
At the veterinarian
The veterinarian examined Holly and suspected a more common and less scary cause—a tooth abscess.
The most common possibility, however, doesn’t mean the only possibility.
What if it was a superficial infection? A course of antibiotics could resolve the problem. Such a therapeutic trial made sense before taking more complicated steps.
As Holly started taking her antibiotics, her swelling was reducing in size until it was barely visible. That was a good news but a tooth abscess couldn’t be ruled out yet. A tooth root abscess too would respond to the treatment.
The difference is that if a superficial infection was to blame, it would go away for good. A problematic tooth would abscess again and the swelling would return.
The swelling returns
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened—after Holly finished her treatment, the swelling started gradually grow again, angrier than before.
The veterinarian scheduled Holly for dental work.
The evening before the appointment, Holly’s lump burst spilling puss. That all but confirmed the diagnosis.
Holly went in for full work-up. Dental x-rays confirmed the suspicion—tooth root abscess.
Holly had to have the affected tooth removed. With the tooth gone, the swelling disappeared as well. Along with the pain it must have been causing her. Bad teeth are just as painful for your dog as they are for you.
Facial Swelling in Dogs: Causes and Treatments