Last summer we went to our cottage, 45 minutes from where I live, deep in the
woods of Northern Ontario. There are no phones, no electricity and I
didn't bring cell phone.
We were having a great time, swimming, fishing [catching big bass], eating, playing and having fun.
Our dogs were with us: Shadow our older Lab/Rott, and Midnight our purebred black lab
She was 11 months old at the time.
On the second morning while we were fishing, Midnight trotted over to me
on the dock where I was changing lures. I patted her head without looking
and felt a bump on the side of her face. I looked over at her
and my mouth dropped open.
Her entire head, face, mouth and cheeks were swollen.
One eye was shut. Her jaw and gums were three times their normal size.
It looked like she was in a boxing match and lost, bad.
I screamed at the guys to get over to me quick. We packed up or stuff,
shut down the cottage and in five minutes were on the road back to town.
I have NEVER driven that fast on that dirt cottage road before.
We got to the first phone I could find and called the vet.
The whole time Midnight was in the back seat on my son's lap.
My son had tears rolling down his face talking to Mid trying to keep her awake.
I called the Vet long distance. He told me to get to a pharmacy fast and get some
Benadryl into her. We were only 5 minutes away from one so we drove there quickly and ran in,
grabbed the drugs and dragged poor Mid out of the truck onto the road
and gave her the Benadryl with some water.
Within 3 minutes, the swelling started to come down and my tears came.
By the time we got home, Midnight was completely knocked out.
I woke her every few minutes to check her breathing. The swelling came down fast
but was still very noticeable.
I called the vet again and he said to monitor her and give her more Benadryl
during the night. I cannot believe how scared we were.
Dogs sure get into our hearts, the thought of losing Midnight that day brought tears
to my eyes over and over.
We have no clue what may have bitten or stung her. She had the run of the cottage, the woods, and was swimming in the lake.
Our other dog was perfectly fine. Both dogs had tons of bug bites on their
undersides likely from black flies.
I suspected it could have been a bee, wasp or even an ant hill she laid on.
She made a complete recovery within a few days. We now know we'll have
to keep a closer eye on her at the cottage and keep Benadryl in our cottage First Aid kit.
I spoke with Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM , from VetMedicine, she helped me understand what may
have happened and offered some comforting advice. You can read her comments
In the first two photos above you will notice Midnight's swollen face, the last photo is
how Midnight looked three days later, back to normal.
Dr. Janet also offers an article on Being Prepared
in an Emergency for your pets. A worthwhile read.