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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24465
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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In 2012 my very small dog had a tick bite on s cheek right

Customer Question

In 2012 my very small dog had a tick bite on his cheek right under his eye. I carefully removed the tick which I believe was dead. I could not tell if any small part of the tick was still in his skin. I cleaned the area carefully and watched it as it continued to bleed but would not form a proper scab and heal. The sore did not bother my dog but I had to keep cleaning the dry blood off his white face. I went to the Vet and he said he would have to put him under and do exploratory surgery and if everything was okay then he would sew him up. The surgery occurred in June of 2013 after which the sore was much larger than before and was left open. The vet did cultures and parasite screenings and everything was negative. He put anitbiotics in the sore cavity but no stitches at the actual opening. Now the sore oozed more than before and to this day has never healed. I have to clean the sore constantly or it will form a huge dry bloody mass all over the side of his face. After I clean the area it is not bleeding unless I gently push on the opening. I think the movement of his eye or mouth causes it to bleed.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Marco. Non-healing wounds are either infected, neoplastic (cancer), or involve a foreign body acting as a nidus of infection or irritation. I suspect that the tick was a red herring. There's no reason for a tick bite to be causing a problem 4 years later. Infection appears to have been ruled out by a negative bacterial culture but I would still consider an underlying tooth root abscess that has fistulated underneath Marco's eye, infection that has migrated into his lacrimal apparatus (dacryocystitis) or around and behind his eye (retrobulbar abscess), and a skin cancer. My next diagnostics would be a careful examination of Marco's teeth including dental X-rays looking for evidence of tooth root abscessation, careful exam of his eye and its associated tear apparatus, a biopsy of the edge of the sore, and X-rays or CT of his face. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.