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Swelling of dog's neck
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Swelling of dog's neck

Missy is our chihuahua/papillon mix.  After a very rough start (she was less than a pound when we got her), she has been very, very healthy.  She is still very small, weighing under five pounds.   Missy developed a severe case of diarrhea in March. We immediately took her to the veterinarian.  We did not see her usual vet but instead a new associate.  The cause of the diarrhea was found to be an overabundance of bacteria and the vet prescribed antibiotics.  The vet also indicated that she was dehydrated and wanted to give her fluids.  We had had cats with kidney problems and know that subcutaneous fluids can be very helpful.  The procedure is painless (small pinch when the needle is introduced but that's it). Something went horribly wrong with this treatment.  Missy began screaming, blood started flying and Missy thrashed around.  The vet removed the needle and said that she would be fine.
Later that day, Missy's neck began to swell.  When the swelling begins, she starts crying and then hunches her back so that her head is hanging to the ground.  The swelling gets worse at that point.  We took her back to the vet immediately.  She prescribed some Rimadyl and said Missy would be fine in a few days.
We took her back two weeks later because Missy wasn't any better.  The associate conferred with a senior vet and recommended that we continue the Rimadyl and that she would be better.
The associate vet has admitted that whatever is going on is due to the incorrect administration of fluids.  I have asked if there is any chance that her lymphatic system has been injured.  She said, no chance, no lymph channels occur in that area.  She has no idea what is wrong.  From the diagrams I have been able to see, I think that there is a chance that she damaged the lymphatic system.
The problem is still occurring.
Anyone have any suggestions about Missy's condition.  And is there any recourse for veterinarian malpractice?
Type of Animal
:  
dog
Age of Animal
:  
six years
Sex of Animal
:  
Female
Breed of Animal
:  
chihuahua/papillon mix
Last date your pet was examined by a vet?
:  
March 25, 2011
City
:  
Olathe
State/Province
:  
KS
Country
:  
USA
Blood Test Results
:  
Negative
X-Ray Results
:  
Negative
234713_tn?1283530259
I cannot tell you if the vet was negligent or not.  It is possible that the vet hit a blood vessel in the sub Q or muscle layer when sticking the needle in to administer the sub Q fluids.  Hitting a blood vessel would make the vet and your dog unlucky, but it could happen to anyone.  If the needle was stuck in deep enough it could have caused a deep bruising which can be painful and take several weeks or more to heal.  

If the Rimadyl is not sufficient to control the pain, than ask if Tramadol can also be used.

I personally have never heard of a lymphatic system being damaged in this way.  
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This Forum's Experts
234713_tn?1283530259
Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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