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Infection on outside of dog's lower lip (causing bad breath)

by pat carter
(durham UK)

My cocker spaniel has had a bad breath problem for about 2 weeks - we did think it was her teeth but now seems to be a slight wound on outside of mouth on lower lip which has yellowish discharge smelly. How do I treat this please?

She is very skittish and hates the vet - is there anything I can self-treat with?

Comments for Infection on outside of dog's lower lip (causing bad breath)

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Jan 29, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Infection on outside of dog's lower lip (causing bad breath)
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
Without a photo I cannot give you a very accurate diagnosis. But my tentative guess would be that your Cocker Spaniel has a 'lip-fold' dermatitis. This is due to some breeds of dogs, including Cocker Spaniels, with wrinkles along their lower lips. Saliva can become trapped in these areas, and can develop into a secondary infection. In some severe cases, it can be similar to the bacteria that causes 'trench mouth' in humans.

Treatment is by keeping the area CLEAN and DRY. Hopefully, she will allow you to wipe her lips, and clean out the wrinkles without biting you!

Hydrogen peroxide is a good antiseptic. Use cotton or gauze soaked in hydrogen peroxide to clean the area twice daily. Also, you will need to wipe her mouth after each meal. Since her saliva will be more copious at meal time, use a dry washcloth or towel to wipe her mouth after she finishes eating.

Applying any topical ointment to the area is contraindicated, since she will only lick it off, and it will make the lip/wrinkle are too moist.

If this treatment is not helping, I would advise taking her to a holistic veterinarian who may be able to suggest some more specific treatment using homeopathic remedies and also give you a more specific diagnosis.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Dental Hygiene & Mouth/Gum/Teeth Problems,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Mouth, Teeth & Gums Section

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