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Monday, February 5, 2007

What's a Catahoula?

It's a breed of dog. It's actually called a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog: Here's a photo:

Obviously not the same individual as in my first post (dog with prostatitis and pyelonephritis) but the same breed.
Well, the same guy as in my first post came in with a massive, painful swelling that had come up over about 3 days, located under and lateral to the left eye.
Opened his mouth and there it was: a draining tract just over the large, 4th premolar (carnassial tooth, 3-rooted tooth in the dog and cat).
Diagnosis = tooth root abscess. For similar case, see previous post with dental radiograph. Same diagnosis, different tooth.
For all you vets and non-vets out there: if you can't find the infection, look in the mouth!
For more info on the Catahoula:


Eyes said...

My 14 year old has this abscess that you talk about. We treated it with antibiotics once, but it appears to be coming back.

They are afraid to put my dog under because she has elevated liver enzymes. She appears healthy -- but the enzymes are up for 2 years now. They say the anesthesia could damage her liver more.

Otherwise, she is still youthful in appearance, happy and active.

Any suggestions or information you can share?


Dear Eyes,

I have seen this scenario on multiple occasions. The liver enzyme elevations you describe may actually be due to what's going on in the mouth, or possibly another unrelated problem. This needs to be elucidated first. Just last week I rechecked a dog's liver enzymes that were some of the highest I've ever seen. They were rechecked after I corrected an oro-nasal fistula from a severe tooth-root abscess. Two weeks after the surgery they were perfectly normal. It was indeed astounding.
Your vet can run a bile acids assay to assess the FUNCTION of the liver. To be even safer, an ultrasound of the liver, with or without a biopsy, can be done to assess the liver tissue.
You may wish to ask for a referral to a center where there's a board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist and dentist to overlook the procedures, or discuss openly with your vet that you assume the risks of general anesthesia.
I always tell my clients: while it may carry some risks, it's more important that your 14 yr-old dog be able to eat properly.
These abscesses can lead to disease MILES from the mouth....
While all of these suggestions are not set in stone, and I have never examined your dog, you may wish to discuss it further with your vet.
Please keep me posted. I wish you luck and I wish your dog good health.