Bravery Award – February 2023

by | Mar 14, 2023

Mr. Bruce, the most handsome 5 year old Dogue De Bordeaux, came into see Dr. Candace recently for a very large swelling over his right temporal muscle, just above his eye.  The first unusual thing the owners had noticed however had been a week prior, when his mouth had suddenly appeared very swollen on one side. This had subsided however, and was replaced with the large and painful lump on his head a few days later.

After a thorough examination, Dr. Candace initially prescribed a course of antibiotics to see if it could be managed medically before anything more invasive.  After 10 days, the swelling was unfortunately worse and Bruce was in more discomfort than ever, so he was booked in for surgery as soon as possible.

A few days later, Bruce’s lump was explored thoroughly under anaesthetic and nothing sinister could be found.  However, a large amount of purulent material (pus) was expressed, and his sinuses were thoroughly explored for a foreign body.  As Bruce’s abscess had been present for some time by this point, Dr. Candace had her work cut out for her removing all the necrotic (dead) tissue, breaking down the adhesions (scar tissue) and flushing the area with copious amounts of saline, to ensure that Bruce had the very best chance of recovery without requiring a second surgery.

Though no foreign body or material was found, it was highly suspected that a grass seed had caused the issue in the first place, entering through Bruce’s mouth where the owners noticed his initial swelling.  The fact that Mr. Bruce lives on a large property and is always running amuck with his horses, would make this scenario even more likely!

The shape of grass seeds with their sharp tip means that they can very easily penetrate through a dog’s skin or lodge themselves in a pet’s ears, eyes or mouth. Most seeds have an awn that fans out and makes it almost impossible for the grass seed to go backwards – very similar to a fish hook.  Grass seeds will generally start their journey when they get caught in a dog’s coat during a walk or play in long grass. From there, they are able to penetrate the skin and if undetected, can travel to various areas of the body. Grass seeds carry infection through the skin and into the body, and will generally cause a painful swelling which progresses to cause an abscess.

After another course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories that were finally able to work their magic, Bruce is looking more handsome than ever, and feeling much better now his headache is finally gone!!

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