Identifying and Treating A Mysterious Wound on My Dog

by Khait
(North Carolina)



Reader Question on Mystery Dog Wound:

I recently lost one of my dogs to some sort of anaphylactic shock or related seizure. There were several "what appeared to be bites" in his mouth. Swelling shut off his wind pipe and I found him in the morning.

His brother also had a wound, on his muzzle but not in his mouth. Swelling on upper and lower jaw; red, crusty, painful. The vets can't really decide if snake or spider. I haven't found any snakes and we don't normally have bitey spiders. The wound seems to be healing well on antibiotics.

This is a 2.5yr pibble mix. He does have allergies, so we're trying him on an injection, then pills. Otherwise, good health. The one who died had milder allergies.

Can anyone tell me what they think this is? I've been all over the yard and in the crawlspace. No indicators of snakes anywhere.

Thoughts From Our Editor on How to Identify and Treat a Mystery Dog Wound

Hi Khait,

I'm really sorry to hear about your recent loss and the trouble you're experiencing with your other dog. From the images you've provided, it looks like the wound on his muzzle is red, swollen, and crusty, indicating an inflammatory response, possibly due to a bite or allergic reaction.
There are several possible causes, listed below in order of likelihood.

Most Likely Cause: Allergic Reaction to Insect Bite

Given his history of allergies, it's quite possible that this reaction could be due to an insect bite, such as from a spider or another insect. Even if you haven't found any, they can sometimes go unnoticed.

Course of Action:

Continue Antibiotics: It's great that the
wound seems to be healing with antibiotics. Continue the prescribed course as directed by your vet.
Anti-Inflammatory Medication: If not already prescribed, ask your vet about anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and pain.
Monitor for Secondary Infections: Keep an eye on the wound for any signs of secondary infection, such as increased redness, pus, or worsening of symptoms.

Secondary Possibility: Contact Dermatitis or Environmental Allergy

Given that he's had allergies before, another possibility is contact dermatitis or an allergic reaction to something in the environment.

Course of Action:

Environmental Control: Try to identify and limit his exposure to potential allergens in the yard or house.

Topical Treatments: Use topical creams or medications recommended by your vet to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.

Regular Cleaning: Gently clean the affected area with a mild antiseptic solution to prevent infection.

Less Likely: Snake Bite

While snake bites are less common, they can cause significant swelling and tissue damage.

Course of Action:

Observation: Continue monitoring the yard and crawlspace for any signs of snakes. Sometimes, they leave subtle traces.

Preventative Measures:

Consider measures to deter snakes, such as keeping the yard well-maintained and removing potential snake habitats.

Given the complexity of his symptoms and the previous incident, it's important to maintain close communication with your veterinarian. If the condition worsens or new symptoms appear, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions or concerns. We're here to help!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery,

Editor and Publisher
Dog Health Guide

Please note: This information is intended to complement, not replace, the advice of your pet's veterinarian. Always consult a vet for professional medical advice about your pet's health.

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