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"Amber" - Cocker Spaniel with Lip Fold Pyoderma


Most dog owners will recognise that part of the "package" of dog ownership is the experience of the occasional unpleasant odour! Fortunately, this is usually a transient phenomenon and with the appropriate change in diet or the use of a fragrant shampoo the situation can be resolved. Unfortunately, for some patients that "nasty niff" requires a great deal more effort.

"Amber" is not the first patient to be presented to me at the Fairfield Veterinary Centre with the complaint from her owner that there is a very unpleasant smell but they are not entirely sure from where it is coming. Experience has taught me that certain breeds are prone to this tendency because of their excessive "skin wrinkles". Cocker Spaniels will often have an additional skin fold present in their bottom jaw. This crevice accumulates saliva and accordingly remains both moist and warm with little opportunity to dry out.

This environment favours excessive bacterial growth resulting in a particularly malodorous area (lip fold pyoderma). Most owners will recoil in horror when their olfactory senses establish this zone.................. Amber's owner, was no exception and was able to provide a graphic description as to the exact nature of this aroma!

Topical preparations of antiseptics can help but the constant maintenance required can prove troublesome for both client and patient! Unable to sustain a longterm improvement in the environment of the skin through medical means, the obvious surgical alternative is to remove the skin fold........a type of face lift surgery.

Fortunately, for Amber her recovery has been excellent and her wounds have healed remarkably well. Her scars are well hidden and even an experienced eye would wonder how she managed to look so young and healthy overnight! I have had to point out on more than one occasion to her owner that I am not licensed to operate on humans!

Lip fold which accumulates saliva and encourages bacterial growth.

Lip fold has been excised and repaired.

Sweet smelling wound 10 days post-operatively.

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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