Emergency or not?
July 16, 2012 10:08 PM   Subscribe

My dog's mouth is bleeding; there's a lump by her gums. It's 10pm here. What should we do?

Here's a (WARNING very gory) close up picture. There is a lump next to her gums, it is bleeding a lot. It is not tender - we poked at it a little bit and she didn't seem to mind very much. She is acting completely normally and eating and drinking normally.

She is a 10 year old Australian cattle dog. I have no idea if this is related, but she had surgery for a mast cell tumor (on her face) 15 days ago - the cancer was stage one and removed completely (clean margins). Her stitches were removed yesterday, everything is healing very well.

We have Tramadol left over from the recovery from her surgery, but she doesn't appear to be in any pain, so we haven't given her any.

I gave her a piece of shrimp (from my dinner) earlier - on the off chance that this is an allergic reaction, we just gave her benadryl (at her vet-approved dosage). It seems unlikely that an allergic reaction would manifest as a lump that bleeds inside her mouth.

The current plan is to take her to the regular vet tomorrow, but I am feeling kind of panicked right now. We were so scared about the mast cell tumor - it was her second one - and I'm really worried about her right now. Is there anything I can or should do for her tonight?

I'm in Los Angeles, so there are 24 hour vets available if this is an emergency.

Here are a couple pictures of her looking happier!
posted by insectosaurus to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
If she is being normal and her visible membranes (inside eyelids, nostrils, gums) are normal colours (not white, not overly red, definitely not blue), you should safely be able to take her in to the regular vet.

If she has laboured breathing, lethargy, lack of interest in food or play, and/or difficulty eliminating properly, you may then want to consider the e-vet - calling ahead will sometimes net the advice to not come in if the pup doesn't meet true urgent care standards. Admittedly more likely if they are already bustling, but it has happened.

No matter what happens, I hope she's okay and that you can get through the night after some cuddles and deep breaths.
posted by batmonkey at 10:15 PM on July 16, 2012

How long has she been bleeding for? Mouth cuts can bleed like heck at first. I'd wait at least 30-60 mins and see if the blood flow slows before freaking out any further.
posted by gnutron at 10:17 PM on July 16, 2012

My guess (and it is just a guess) is that something has gotten into/under her gum and that's what's causing the irritation/bleeding.

I'd say try not to freak out (I know it's hard!), keep an eye on it. And take her to the regular vet tomorrow.

On preview, gnutron has a good point: cuts in the mouth tend to bleed a lot at first.
posted by trip and a half at 10:21 PM on July 16, 2012

Okay, thank you all. Her membranes are okay - the rest of her gums look pink and healthy. She had been chewing on a toy - we took it away and now the bleeding has gone down significantly.

We called the emergency vet, they asked about her symptoms and said she was probably okay until tomorrow. We have an appointment in the morning.

I'll update tomorrow after her appointment.

If anyone has any further thoughts, I very much welcome them! Poor puppy, I'm a little calmer now but still worried.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:36 PM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yes, stay calm: she'll be fine. Good thinking to take the toy away.

Of course make sure she has fresh water available. The only other thing is to stay as calm as you can so she can be calm and heal.

Please keep us posted... she's such a sweetie!
posted by trip and a half at 10:42 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would bet that what you're looking at is some kind of abcess initiated by a wound to her gums (perhaps from chewing on something) or a bit of food stuck under there. This is definitely something that warrants veterinary attention, but not emergency veterinary attention. That's what this sort of mysterious-lump thing has always been in the past with the animals I've lived with, anyway. Well, that and lipomas (benign fat-cell tumors) but those form under the skin, not on the gums.

So, that's what I would expect at the vet tomorrow. If that's what it is then it will certainly need treatment but will otherwise be totally non-life-threatening.
posted by Scientist at 11:18 PM on July 16, 2012

Just hoping she will be ok, I freak out over pet emergencies so know what you are going through. Let us know what the vet says when they see her.
posted by mermayd at 4:12 AM on July 17, 2012

What a beautiful dog. I would love to know what the vet says, too. I did the patient overnight wait once and I did not sleep all night. Hope you got some rest.
posted by anya32 at 6:58 AM on July 17, 2012

Good news! She's going to be okay. She has a broken tooth, probably - it may be hurting her, and does need attention, but it is not dangerous or life threatening. She needs surgery to remove it; they can't do it today, but will do it first thing tomorrow morning.

It's probably very recently broken, because when they did (unrelated) surgery on her two weeks ago, they put a tube in her mouth & would almost definitely have noticed if it had been there.

Thank you all for your kind words & assurances. I'm SO RELIEVED!
posted by insectosaurus at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

Horrible update. She had surgery and it turned out that the reason the tooth was having problems was that her jaw is deteriorating. They sent off a sample of the jaw tissue; it's extremely aggressive bone cancer (osteosarcoma). She probably has about a week before we will need to put her down due to the pain. We are devastated, we love her so much.

I thought about not updating for the sake of a happy resolution to this thread, but people read old Ask questions and I wanted the information to be complete.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2012

insectosaurus, I am so sorry. I have no words. i wish you coul've had a happy ending too.
posted by Scientist at 7:05 AM on July 21, 2012

Oh, shit, shit. I am catching up on my backlog of AskMes and I clicked through to see puppy pics. She looks so beautiful and happy and healthy.

I send you lots and lots of hugs. If you can, take the week off work and go for walks and eat steak with her, or whatever. I'm so so sorry. She loves you a lot.

Then take the week after that off work, too.

Hugs and pets and ear skritches for everyone. :(
posted by librarina at 12:00 AM on July 25, 2012

So sorry to hear this. :(
posted by anya32 at 1:44 PM on August 2, 2012

Oh hell. So sorry. I hope she is out of pain by now. Hugs to you.
posted by trip and a half at 2:20 AM on August 3, 2012

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