SUMMARY: Tooth removal tomorrow.
The whole side of her face is swollen today. OK, I'm less convinced that it's been this all along, with the rapid progression of the swelling. I suppose it could have been working for a while, but there were an awful lot of signs that it was her back or neck. So we've got 2 problems working at once?!
Vet pointed out that she has broken off a point on each of her upper rear molars, but her teeth otherwise are healthy. He thinks it's possible that she damaged a root in that one tooth and that's what's happening now. He'll xray it before taking out the tooth to be sure it really is the tooth and really is the correct one.
He also said that it's unusual (but not unheard of) for the swelling to be out in the flesh of the cheek like that for a tooth, but since the gum by the tooth is sensitive, he's 90% sure it's the tooth. My deep fear of course is always cancer, and one of his 10%s was an older dog with swelling like this who had a tumor. But I think he also said that her lymph nodes felt good.
Took a blood test today to be sure she's up to anesthesia. Started antibiotics. Taking her in tomorrow at 8 a.m. to have the tooth removed (thanks, folks, for your comments and emails about this). Pick her up late afternoon. Vet says she should be fine to compete on Saturday, and in fact will probably feel better with the tooth out and the pain going down than if I waited until after the weekend.
While she's under, he'll also x-ray her neck and lower back. Doesn't want to keep her under any longer than necessary, but thinks that he can do those fairly quickly.
Sedation: Last two trip s to the vet, she's had a tranquilizer pill an hour before going. She's still not happy about being there, but she's definitely not as over-the-top frenzied get-me-out-of-here as usual. Better living through chemistry.
And she KNOWS. I pulled into the vet's parking lot; back of the car facing the road. Opened the back door, and Tika--usually pushing at the crate door to get out--is hunched in the back of the crate, giving me the hairy eyeball. Smell? Particular way a barking dog sounds here? Dunno--