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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19375
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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I have a 2 yr old golden retriever who has a swollen face

Customer Question

Hi ***** *****, my name is ***** ***** I have a 2 yr old golden retriever who has a swollen face that itch... He is in good condition otherwise
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: like? It started a couple of hours ago...one side became a lil swollen..now both sides are swollen. Its itchy...
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

There are a lot of reasons why a dog might develop facial swelling. Facial swelling can be caused by infection, an allergic reaction to a bug bite or sting, bruising, mouth problems, cancer or muscle inflammation or due to acetaminophen toxicity. If it is possible your dog was bit by a snake, you will need to take the dog into the Vet immediately.

Most likely, the swelling is due to an allergic reaction caused by an insect bite or sting. Often the whole head will swell and it is generally not painful though your animal may be itchy. If you feel this may have happened you can give your dog Benadryl dose is up to 2mg per pound every 8 hours and see if that helps. If it doesn’t your vet should be consulted.

If it is due to infection you should find a cut or puncture somewhere. This swelling will often be warm and painful and your dog should have a fever normally with this type of swelling. Your vet will need to take care of the injury and possibly start your dog on antibiotics. If the swelling is associated with acetaminophen poisoning (Tylenol) you often see itchy paws and your dogs gums may appear brownish. See your vet immediately if your dog's gums appear brownish and he could have ingested tylenol.

Certain cancers can develop on the head causing swelling in a specific area. Inflammation of a muscle is another possible cause for a dog’s face to swell and typically it is the lower jaw or the top of the head that swells.

An abscessed tooth can sometimes cause lumps or swelling of the muzzle or jaw. You will want to check your dog’s mouth and look for any broken or discolored teeth. He's pretty young but teeth can break at any age. If you find any, buffered aspirin can be given to a dog with a dosage of up to 5 mg per pound every 12 hours for pain until your dog can be seen by your Vet. Keep in mind that a dog's body does not metabolize aspirin in the same way as a human and thus should not be given more than a day or two without contacting your Vet. The aspirin may need to clear your dog’s system before other medications can be given, so keep that in mind if you decide to give aspirin and be sure and tell your vet when your dog is seen.

As you can see there are many causes for swelling in the head and most will require that you seek medical treatment. I'd try the benadryl to see if that helps with the swelling and itchiness. If it does, I'd continue with at least a second dose in 8 hours before discontinuing it to see if the reaction is gone. If the swelling continues despite benadryl or continues after 24 hours, then go ahead and get him into your vet. I do think it is likely to be an allergic reaction and the benadryl will help.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/

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