Pauli has developed a lump on the right side of his face just below and in front of his eye.
Alicia suspects her 7-year-old terrier mix was either whacked by the neighbor's cat or bitten by a spider. Pauli does not seem to be in pain, and seems to to be eating normally. Alicia gave Pauli some Benadryl, but saw no improvement in the lump.
Certainly, a wound inflicted by a cat scratch could cause a lump. The wound could close over quickly, trapping contaminants, namely bacteria from the cat's nail. This leads to infection, which can cause abscess. If Pauli's lump were caused by a developing abscess, I would expect some pain, though lack of apparent pain does not rule it out.
Equally possible is an insect or arachnid (spider) bite. Depending on the type of insect or spider and the individual's sensitivity to the venom, a lump can develop. A lump as a result of an arthropod encounter, should have gone down over time and possibly have improved with Benadryl.
So I am thinking there may be a dental problem. There is a tooth in a dog's mouth, actually two of them, on the right and left upper dental arcade, called the carnassial tooth. It is generally the largest tooth and has three roots. The tip of each of these roots is just below a thin layer of bone that separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. If one or more of these roots becomes infected, this bone can be penetrated, causing abscessation and invasion of the nasal passage and/or a swelling in the area of the bone involved. This swelling shows up precisely in the location of Pauli's lump.
I am ruling out an abscess from a cat "attack" because Pauli does not appear in pain. You're probably asking, "Why isn't Pauli in pain if he has a carnassial tooth root abscess?" I suspect he is, but is not showing it in the way you or I might do so.
People show pain by complaining about it. Dogs commonly show pain by demonstration. In the case of a tooth abscess, a caretaker might note a decreased appetite from the dog. Often, as Alicia has mentioned with Pauli, there is no appetite change. These guys are tough! What one might notice if he carefully watches a dog with a carnassial root abscess is that the dog chews food on the opposite side of the mouth from the infection. A subtle sign, yes, but nonetheless it does indicate pain.
A visit to Pauli's veterinarian is in order. Radiographs of the teeth will demonstrate the presence of a tooth root abscess, and a root canal or a tooth extraction will cure the problem. That is, of course, if the problem for Pauli is a carnassial root abscess.
Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352.