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Canine Medical Mystery!

I'm so blessed to have so many dog people that share their stories with me! This one, in particular comes close to my heart as Huckleberry and his person, Cher are very dear to me!

Even though Cher and Huckelberry live in Pheonix, Arizona, (approximately 3,014km away) we have a close bond as Huckleberry was the FIRST dog that our boy Gunner helped!


In September, Cher reached out to let me know that her poor boy Huckleberry was having a serious medical issue. I thought back and forth how to share his story and feel the "messages" that Cher sent show a nice timeline that's easy to follow and it allows us to watch Huckleberry's story unfold in real time".

Let's read...

Sep 17, 2022, 12:00 PM


Huckleberry spent the day on Wednesday (September 14th) at the ER vet.

He's been hanging out with my clients’ dog who goes to the groomers and Huckleberry has contracted Kennel Cough. While at the ER, we found a mass at the time they were addressing his cough.

That day after getting home from the hospital he displayed signs of pain and was limping on the opposite side of his mass.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

I hand fed him his breakfast this morning because he has to eat due to the fact that has his medicine in it.

I'm trying to take it day-by-day and minute-by-minute. I'm going to finish out the antibiotics for the Kennel Cough and watch the growth/tumor to make sure it doesn't get any bigger.

Lucky for me, Huckleberry's cough scared me and prompted me to go to the ER clinic and that’s where I saw the mass in the bright light. We have taken x-rays of the mass.

The chest X-ray came back fine but the hind quarter X-ray (where the mass is) came back inconclusive. They did an aspirate and didn't see anything. No need to panic yet. I'm just going to try to stay positive for my boy. His well-being depends on it.

Sep 30, 2022, 10:06 AM


Berry is back!!

He can get into my car without trouble, and his appetite is back to normal!

The mass and cough are gone!

The Kennel Cough was one thing, but the mass is still a mystery. An aspirate was done with no conclusive findings. He was progressively getting worse even after starting his medication for 5 days until my friend prayed for him and within 20 minutes, he grabbed a toy and brought it over to me and sat down and ate Doritos with me on the couch! You can't tell me miracles don't happen because they sure did with this boy.

I was going to get a biopsy done but then I cancelled the appointment because there was nothing to biopsy! The 4×6 mass was gone!

October 8th, Sat 5:16 PM


I'm sharing my story to help others. One minute I'm celebrating Huckleberry’s gotcha day and the next week I am taking my 5yr old blue Doberman to the emergency vet where he recently saw his cardiologist.

Huckleberry had a fever, a cough as well as a mass on his rear end about 4×6 that was very dense.

The vet on staff said that that it could be a soft tumor underneath the muscle and to keep an eye on it and to give Huckleberry:

  • Benadryl

  • Gabapentin for pain

  • Doxycycline for his Kennel Cough

She performed an aspirate and didn't feel the need to send it off to the lab after looking at it under the microscope.

By the time I got home from this emergency vet, Huckleberry was limping on the other side where the mass was and could not get in-and-out of the car very easily, so muscle weakness was very apparent.

Huckleberry proceeded to get worse for approximately 5 and a 1/2 days and I was having to hand feed him.

About that time, I found a Scorpion at the house where he goes daily and although it was dead, that was the sign that I needed to see.

I mentioned the Scorpion to my girlfriend yesterday and her husband said that Huckleberry was probably stung by the scorpion! Her husband's dad worked at ASU as an entomologist.

So, here’s what we’ve pieced together…

Huckleberry got the Kennel Cough from my client's dog that he sees daily. She takes her dogs to the groomers weekly, so be careful who your dogs are around.

The cough that Huckleberry had, as well as the fever concerned me as coughing can be a sign of Dilated Cardio Myopathy. This was what got me rushing him to the ER vet.

Under the bright lights in the ER, I noticed the lump/mass/tumor that Huckleberry had which we now believe to be the Scorpion bite.

It was a scary week and I'm glad that the Scorpion bite is behind us, but the symptoms are very scary and worth mentioning.


  • Muscle weakness

  • Limping

  • Raised and dense mass

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Lethargy

I think it's also worth mentioning that because Huckleberry is a hypothyroid dog with severe allergies, his symptoms may be worse than what other dogs experience.

Sadly, I don’t have a picture of the mass but even if I did, it would be hard to see because feeling it was the only way it was evident. When I arrived at the clinic, both myself and the kennel technicians missed the mass at first. But further to that, the cough that Huckleberry was experiencing seemed to be the most important thing that we were addressing.

It was only while I was sitting there in the waiting room that I noticed the mass.


Please note that smaller Scorpions are actually more poisonous than larger Scorpions.

The effects of a Scorpion bite can effect every dog differently depending on how healthy your dog is. IF your dog is allergic to spider bites, then a Scorpion bite could seriously harm your dog - even causing death.

Also note that symptoms could last for days – even weeks!

Thanks goes out to Cher for sharing Huckleberry's story! It's such a blessing that Huckleberry has pulled through this ordeal!

In Manitoba, we don't have Scorpions, so this story doesn't really affect our dogs, Liar and Gia. Having said that, you never know!

Here's the thing, I believe it's CRUCIAL to share LIFE stories because they stick in our minds better. In this case, should Tim and I ever travel, or know of anyone who has occasion to be close to Scorpions - we may now recognize the signs!

I want to add, something I've always done is kept a living journal on our dogs of "noteworthy" findings. I mean to say that I document things that seem out of the norm for our dogs and even our life. I find that this helps put the story together should our dogs have a medical issue. Things I like to document are:

  • Abnormal poops

  • Vomiting / gagging

  • Missing articles such as socks (Gia is a scarfer so I worry for Obstructions)

  • Odd behavior

  • Change in eating habits

  • Change in water consumption

  • Change in body weight or appearance

When things change in our dogs - I know something is "off" and I go on alert. Consider keeping a journal on your pets! Should you need to go to the vet, it's information that you may not think is necessary, but could save your dog's life!

Thank you for reading and please - ALWAYS share your stories! This is how we learn to be better pet parents!


Karen Grzenda, Author and dog lover

Check out my other blogs at:

Find my books on Amazon in EBook or Paperback!

Heart Dog – Gunner’s Story (true life novel):

The Side Eye Series (adult canine humour series):

Little Paws (children’s canine learning series):

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