We took Roscoe (age two) to the animal hospital ER on Friday night because he seemed to be in pain and wouldn't eat a treat we got for him. Instead, he carried it around in his mouth and then dropped it. When we gave it back to him, he carried it around again without chewing it. He seemed a bit agitated and so I took him for a walk around the neighborhood (less than a mile). He carried the treat the whole way and hardly stopped to sniff anything (very unusual). We got home in record time. Back in our yard, he did not drink any water (again very unusual because it was warm and humid and he always drinks water on the deck). He then laid down in his favorite spot in the yard and fell asleep while we had dinner (again, very unusual). When he woke up after our dinner, he was not himself. He looked like he had a migraine, as if he didn't want to move his head. My wife thought he had a neurological condition because he was just standing in the kitchen with his head down. Or he would sit and hang his head. He did not want to lay down. So we drove to the ER where the vet said he had signs of an ear infection on the left side and put him on an antibiotic and some medicine to put in his ears. We got home about 1:30 am and he slept through the night.
The next morning (Saturday) he was not any better although he ate his breakfast (kibble with extra water to make it mushy) he didn't eat all of it and had little interest in walking. He just pooped and peed and we headed home. About 10 am, we went back the ER. They put him on IV fluids and the doc checked his gums to see if he was dehydrated. He wouldn't let her open his mouth and instead yelped and pulled his head away. The doctor suspected an abscess or infection of some kind, gave him an anesthesia (propofol) so they could look inside his mouth and probe behind his last molar. The vet also noticed swelling on his head above his left eye and took some blood samples from this area. All tests were negative including tests for Lyme and other blood and serum testing that they could do that day.
While there, they put him on methadone for the pain.
Since all tests were negative, the best guess when we left was that he has masticatory muscle myositis. MMM is an inflammatory disease that affects muscles for chewing, usually on both sides. These muscles connect his jaw and run up to the top of his head. Roscoe seems to have swelling only on the left side. On Saturday, his left eye, for example, looked almost like he had conjuntivitis. To confirm the MMM diagnosis, they sent his blood to a lab in California. Results are expected in seven days.
In the meantime, they suggested treating his symptoms and sent us home with Rimadyl, a nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory; Clavamox, an antibiotic; and Tramadol for pain.
Today he's doing much better. The swelling is down, his left eye looks normal, and he ate breakfast with gusto. Best of all, he had a lot of energy when we walked this morning. I didn't expect him to do much more than poop and pee and head home but was surprised that he walked and even rad ahead on the trails near our house. We walked for about 45 minutes and when he saw another dog, he ran in a few big circles as he would normally. (He's a puppy, after all, and it was great to see such exuberance.)
He turned two on July 30 and so the vet thought it somewhat strange that he would have MMM. Also under consideration are lymphoma or some kind of tumor, but these also would be unusual in young dog. Or some kind of trauma, but we don't recall him getting bumped on the head.
Friends of ours have a lab-shepherd-mutt mix who has MMM and is on steroids to control the swelling. When the condition is acute, they give the max dose and then slowly titrate down to a maintenance dose of one pill every other day. The dog does well on this treatment.
If anyone has any suggestions on what we should test for, we're open to them. (We suggested a Lyme disease test, for example, because ticks are common here and Lyme can present in a variety of ways.) Also, any advice on how to keep him comfortable is welcome. Thank you.
Welll it turns out the Roscoe evidently had some kind of abscess or infection in his jaw or behind his left eye that was bad enough to cause severe swelling and his jaw to lock up. Since we posted about this problem on Aug. 19, he has been getting better every day. The lab tests came back negative, and he is almost back to 100%. Our vet guessed that it was something he ate that got lodged in a bad place, and she thought the problem would resolve on its own. That's just what happened. On her advice, we kept him on antibiotics through last week and now he's on a low-dose anti-inflammatory for the next few days. We are greatly relieved to have our Roscoe back to being himself and get this: He was never allowed on the couch before this, but now he can get on it whenever he wants!
Glad he is better! It sure would be nice if these guys could talk and tell us what hurts.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
Sorry poor Roscoe had to go through this !