My dog has bumps near her eye. What is the cause and are there any home remedies? Also, how often should a titer test be performed?

Original Question: My dog has 2 little bumps near her eye, should I be worried? Also about titer test, how often do I need to do the titer test? For rabies and canine DHPP, should I do them for leptospirosis, Lyme, and bordetella? I’ve heard that these vaccines do not stay in the system as long as rabies and DHPP. - Tony

My dog has bumps near her eye. What is the cause and are there any home remedies? Also, how often should a titer test be performed? Sep 14, 2018

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your question.

I appreciate including the picture but I cannot be certain about these bumps and what they are simply over email. I can share some thoughts with you on how to proceed that may help. The fact that I cannot see something alarming in the picture could indicate that this is a lesion you are safe to monitor for now. This would depend also on how long it has been present. If it has been there for a few days, it may just be due to trauma, bacterial infection, or a simple issue that your pet’s immune system can resolve on its own. If it has been present for more than a week or two and also is accompanied by symptoms such as an itchy face, discharge, more generalized swelling, lethargy, inappetence or any change in your pet’s demeanour, I would suggest you visit your veterinarian for a consultation, exam and recommended diagnostic testing.

If the lesion is of concern, the first thing that needs to be performed is a test called a skin scraping, which an inexpensive quick test to determine if there are any bacteria or yeast on the skin. By collecting the sample from the skin and putting it on a glass slide your veterinarian can look under a microscope and see if one of these entities is present and if so a treatment can be started.

If it appears insignificant and is not accompanied by other symptoms, you could attempt a home remedy first before a visit to the veterinarian. I greatly caution that if you were to proceed with this strategy, you could be allowing a more serious condition the opportunity to advance if the right treatment is not initially implemented. So use your best judgement as you are solely responsible for these decisions. Most solitary small bumps on the skin could be caused completely or in association with a bacterial infection or trauma. Picking up an antibiotic lotion at the local pharmacy is a home remedy you could try and apply it twice a day for 3-4 days and then assess. If there is a clear and immediate improvement you could continue, but if no positive change is noted, I recommend you have it assessed by a veterinarian in person.

To answer your next question…

A vaccine titer test measures the level of antibodies in the body to the disease that the vaccine is used to prevent. It is generally accepted that if the antibody level is over a certain limit, it is considered ‘protective’ and the vaccine booster is unnecessary. This is how it works in theory, however, many specialists do not agree that titer testing is completely reliable. You’ll want to discuss the pros and cons with your primary veterinarian and get their opinion. Also in theory, these tests would be performed at the time that the vaccine schedule requires a particular vaccine to be boostered.

When you ask about the different vaccines to assess, there are limited vaccine titer tests available. Speak to your veterinarian about the ones they offer, their cost and reliability. Keep in mind that different practitioners have different levels of confidence in them. I would also encourage you to have an overall discussion about the value of every vaccine recommended for your dog. Discuss the risk of exposure that your individual dog carries to these different vaccines and build a vaccine program that fits their lifestyle, travel pattern, environment and social interaction. Administering a vaccine should be done based on the risk that your dog may encounter the disease in which that vaccine protects against and every dog’s lifestyle is different. However, keep in mind that your veterinarian has an obligation to control these diseases within the population of pets that he or she cares for and that there are also local legal responsibilities about vaccination depending on where you reside.

I hope this answer helps. Good luck.

Dr Clayton Greenway

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