Thursday, December 13, 2012

1215. Follow up on the epulis Golden Retriever - ticks

I reviewed this case of the 12-year-old Golden Retriever who came in as he was "panting" after eating and after exercise walking for the past 3 days. No such panting before that. What was the cause?

This dog was operated in July 2012 for a large epulis which was bleeding.
See case at:
He had a "gingival biopsy" of the mass in 2009 by another vet. The report stated "fibromatous epulis of periodontal origin". It said that it is generally a benign entity in the dog and complete surgical excision isusualy difficult due to indistinct boundaries between the epulis and normal gingival tissue. That was in Dec 2009. However, the lump bled a lot and so the owner came to me and I advised surgery n July 2012. 2.5 years had passed. Gum tumours are best excised when they are small.

Taking a sample for tissue biopsy is part of the process to ascertain whether it is cancerous or not.  This adds to the cost and so I usually do not advise it. Just excise the mass and send to the lab for checking of its cancerous nature or otherwise.

I checked the gums. They were OK and reddish pink.
"Has the dog been exposed to ticks recently?" I asked. The two gentleman owners had said that their dog never had ticks for many years but he had a lot of ticks just 2 weeks ago. "Every day, we pluck out the ticks," the owners said. "But now he is tick-free."
"You could have used a tick bath or dip," I said.
"Well, I bought a tablet from the internet and all the ticks died. There are various suppliers and prices vary."
It seems that this tablet worked well. The owner sms me the name: Nitenpyram. by Bob Martin. Owners nowadays do their research and experiment.  They should check out the effects and side effects of the medication. has info on Nitenpyram. Its use to kill ticks is not known. It is effective to kill adult fleas only.

So what is the cause of the panting? The dog does not have heartworms nor severe heart disease. No fever. Could it be tick fever?  The owners did not want a tick fever blood smear test. Nowadays, owners with research knowledge can be demanding. It is up to how the vet is able to communicate with such well informed owners. If the vet does not know how to communicate and if this dog comes down with tick fever later and dies, the owner will not blame himself as he had sought the vet's opinion. As at yesterday, there was no anaemia and no fever. So, it couldn't be tick fever. It is not as simple as that as tick fever could be at its first stage.   

1 comment:

  1. Hi doctor,
    I thought this was a very interesting post! A similar thing happened to a dog I was taking care of.
    According to this information here:

    It says that panting tends to be a side effect of nitenpyram application. And you are correct, it is only for adult fleas, not for ticks. I am not sure how the owner did not see that.