As it turns out, Liberty does have some arthritis and some eye problems. She also has some chronic skin issues around her eyes and ears too. These are all problems noted also by the shelter staff. What went unnoticed was the strong odor coming from her mouth. Now, I cleaned her eyes, her ears, and removed tarter from her teeth and gave her a bath. Yet the odor remained.
Off to work she went with me today, where we could anesthetize her and get a closer look at her mouth. It turns out that she does have a limited range of motion in her jaw. And then there's the huge clump of foxtails that were lodged behind her last molar ~ ah, the cause of the smell! We removed those and cleaned out her mouth, and our internist Dr. Slusser also made a keen observation as he was looking at her mouth - her eye bulged out as he opened her jaw - a tell-tale sign of a retrobulbar mass, a tumor located behind her eye ~ and the big surprise of the day!
Off to Dr. Steele, the opthamologist at Eye Clinic for Animals, where the area behind her eye and the area behind her molar were explored. We didn't find anymore foxtails, and at this point she will be on a pretty hefty steroid dose and major antibiotics for the next week; then we'll recheck and regroup. Hopefully, the growth is related to a chronic problem from the foxtails, and when it goes away, so will the restricted jaw movement.
Liberty has a 'black eye' tonight after her procedure today. She ate pretty well tonight and is snoozing away! Please keep your fingers crossed for this sweetheart!