Within the past few months Spencer's breath has become horrible. Originally I thought nothing of it. If anyone knows anything about greyhounds, they know most have been dealt a bad set of cards in the dental department. However, looking closer I noticed his teeth weren't bad. They're not perfect pearly whites, but there's not a huge buildup of tartar and calculus. More recently we've noticed Spencer itching his mouth on anything he can find. His paws, a rug, our legs, and even our radiators throughout the house. Most recently I took a look inside his mouth to see his gums are red. We're not talking pink....we're talking RED, inflamed, painful gums. In addition to the redness we noticed this past weekend that there were lesions on his gums from rubbing so much. So we had him checked out.
Originally we (myself, David, and the doctors) visited the idea of him having a form of allergic reaction to his phenobarbital (anti-seizure medication). After research we came to the conclusion that chances are this theory isn't right. Thankfully due to my co worker's (our vet's) affiliation with OSU he called them to get some input. OSU has a large greyhound "program" that focuses on greyhounds, along with research on the breed. They lead us in a new direction.
There could be a multitude of things going on with Spencer, but these are our current ideas....lymphoplasmacytic stomatitis, pemphigous vulgaris, bullous pemphigoid, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Those are some mouthfuls, eh? Basically they're all autoimmune type of diseases.
The next step in diagnosing is to put him under anesthesia, retrieve a biopsy, and submit it for further examination. I'll be taking him into work in 2 weeks to have this procedure performed and hopefully we'll get some answers. It may not be a serious problem, but it's obviously uncomfortable for him and it's time to find out what's going on. If it is one of the diseases listed, USUALLY they symptoms can be controlled through corticosteroids. Although, the side effects of steroids aren't preferable (increase food/water intake, increased urination, weight gain......), especially using them long term.
Once again, it comes as no surprise that we may have yet another special need to address with our pets. As I've blogged so many times, they each have their nuances and diseases. And although we don't want our kids to suffer and wish they didn't have these problems, we wouldn't trade them in, even if we had the chance. I'm thankful that they are in our lives for a multitude of reasons, especially the fact that we have the ability (for the most part) and the desire to help them instead of casting them aside like some others may do.
Once we receive results I'll post more information.