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Dachshund with a Swollen Face

February 5, 2012

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What’s Wrong With My Dog’s Face?

The muzzle of this dachshund was a little swollen at first and over 30 minutes, it swelled up noticeably

Allergic reaction!

“Doc, Gertrude’s face looks wrong. She was just sitting on her dog bed in the living room and now this,” said the darlin’ dapple dachshund’s worried dad.

Gertrude is a ball of energy.  So, immediately something sounds “off.”  Why would this little spitfire sit quietly on her bed in the middle of the afternoon?

“Where was she a half hour before this happened?” asked Doc Truli.

“She was out back in the yard, chasing a squirrel,” said Gertrude’s dad.

“Looks like she was either bitten by a bee or insect or had an allergic reaction,” said Doc Truli, flicking a syringe full of clear liquid allergy relief medication. Gertrude needed two shots of medicine to get her face to stop swelling up.

“If you look closely, her left side looks bigger than the right side.  I’ll bet an insect bit her,” said Doc Truli.

What to Expect as an Allergic Swelling Goes Away

old red dachshund with grey muzzle has firm bulge like a golf ball under her right eye

Tooth Root Abscess

First, we stop the allergic reaction with medication.  The swelling is caused by edema (pronounced eh-dee-ma).  If you understand that edema is fluid build-up within the tissues of the body, not between the layers like an abscess pocket, then you understand how the body has to absorb the fluid back into the bloodstream over time.

(With a pocket of fluid, like pus, we can surgically drain the fluid and relieve the uncomfortable pressure.)

The swollen allergic muzzle will begin to go back to normal, but not before gravity starts pulling some of the edema fluid through the tissue layers and under the chin.

“It is perfectly normal for a soft swelling to form under the chin after a swollen allergic face on a dog.  It is not a new symptom, it’s just the effect of gravity on the extra fluid,” says Doc Truli.

Follow-up Care for a Swollen Face Allergic Reaction

If your dog starts having breathing problems, that means the edema swelling could be around the throat, or in the lungs.  Get to a veterinarian right away; breathing problems can be life-threatening.

Your dog might be very tired from the allergic reaction, the healing process, and the medications.  Let him or her rest in a dark, quiet room.

Ask your veterinarian how long the medications will last.  Many meds we use for allergic reactions wear off before the reaction is done.  Your vet will let you know if your pet needs to stay under observation in the hospital, go home, or needs repeated doses of oral medication at home until the reaction is safely passed.

Gretchen must have been bitten in the yard.  She felt “funny,” so she can into the house and rested on her bed.  Her dad could not see anything wrong until her face looked swollen.  Then he knew he had to do something for her and came to see Doc Truli.

Thirty minutes after the medication injections, Gretchen’s face swelling was smaller.  Her dad repeated her medications at home in 6 hours and she recovered fully.  We still do not know who (or what) bit her, but life is like that!


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 23, 2014 2:43 pm

    Thank you for this. The same thing has happened to my Belgian Malinois. His face is so swollen and his eyes he cant see out of one. I called my vet and they said give him Benadryl and if it doesn;t go down to bring him in, in the morning. After reading this, I feel so much better. Thank you so much.

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