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Today was not a good day for Major Payne or myself.  I have had Bostons for quite a while and thought I was quite wise as far as taking care of them.  Today I learned a few new things the hard way.



Major and I were outside with his sister, Mitcha, and his puppy cousin.  I was relaxing in my chair watching the dogs play.  I think I was a bit smug thinking how well I was taking care of these three dogs.  There was plenty of shade for them to be in, a pool for them to cool off in, a frozen toy for them to play with and a large bowl of ice water. 


You know what happens when you think you have everything is under control?  You are usually proven wrong.

While chatting with my neighbor, I notice Major wobble and drag his hind legs.  I was pretty sure that he was overheated so I picked him up, carried him into the house and got the other two in.  I wrapped a cool towel around Major.  He just laid on the floor almost cationic.  I should have taken his temperature rectally with a human thermometer but I just kept pouring cool water on the towel and rubbing the part that was not wrapped around him under his arms and his groin.  After about 15 minutes I was starting to panic.  Major would never allow me to do this if there was not something very wrong.  I called the vet and they said to bring him right in.  (I am fortunate to live 1.5 miles from a great vet.)  His temperature was 101.5 which is the average temperature for a dog.  They said he had been overheated.  His gums were darker than normal.  So home we went.


Major made a brief recovery and demanded to have dinner.  I was pleased and thought the crisis was over.  After he ate he began rubbing his face on the carpet.  I took a good look at his face and noticed his snout was starting to swell.  This is not the first time this has happen so I immediately gave him a Benadryl.  My concern rose as I watched the swelling grow by the minute.  After 20 minutes the swelling had gotten so bad that the area around his eye was beginning to swell.  Back to the vet we went.


They were quite concerned when I walked in carrying Major.  By that time his only eye was almost swollen shut.  They gave him a steroid shot and asked me to wait until the swelling went down before leaving.  I began to panic as the swelling made his jowls hard and began going down his chin to his neck.  The vet kept checking in on us every 5 minutes.  I was sitting on the floor with this otherwise rambunctious dog just laying on my lap.  By that point I don't think he could even see.


After 45 minutes, I could feel his jowls begin to soften and his eye was opening again.  We waited a while longer until it was obvious the swelling was no longer a danger to his breathing and I took my sleepy dog home.


Why such a severe reaction?  The vet believes that he was bitten multiple times and that getting overheated made the reaction much worse than normal.  If the swelling had been allowed to progress, it could have been fatal.  I believe this is true for all dogs, but I know that it is very true for short snout dogs such as Bostons.


I am writing this article because I learned that no matter how well you think you a taking care of your dog(s) things can go bad very quickly.  Please keep an eye on your Bostons when they are outside this summer.  Get them cooled off at the first sign of them being overheated.  This is best done by using a cool, wet towel, applying cool tap water to the dog's paws, ears and groin while in front of a fan.  Do not force water down their throat.  If any swelling ever occurs around their snout, give them a Benadryl right away and if the swelling becomes severe, get them to the vet or you could lose them.

 Edited by:  Jan Mitchell