Yesterday when I crawled out of bed, Howie came to me for his morning smoochies.
A lump had come up on his right lower jaw, and when he tried to say his trademark sound, "HOWwww" -- he couldn't. I tried to have a look down his throat, but he couldn't stand having his jaws opened.
Aside: I've taught all my dogs to allow me to open their jaws to a wide angle, so that I can check their throats or give them pills as necessary. At the cue of me grasping their muzzles, they would open wide, anticipating a treat after their cooperation.
The lump swelled for a few hours, then subsided at the end of the day; Howie ate his food comfortably, though he did have some reluctant effort with a crunchy bread crust that I gave him as a treat.
This morning there was edema under his jaw, so I took him to the vet.
Like most medical concerns I've had in my life, for myself and my animals, it was: Answer hazy, ask again later.
Howie is on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory pain-killer (and such is the advance of veterinary medicine that there is no trauma in giving them to him) ... if that clears things up, great. If not, well, he'll need an X-ray to see what is happening in his jaw and a biopsy.
He's chowing down his food like a real dog, drinking well, and is spritely in his movement, so I guess I shouldn't be too worried. But of course I am, as he's the best dog I've ever had. He's my How. I don't want to say good-bye to him just yet.
I took his picture (above) with a usual photographer's glitch: he had just blinked.