Wednesday, July 2, 2008

5. Pyometra in a 4-year-old Lhasa Apso that eats to live

The female Lhasa Apso had sticky vaginal discharge for some time. She was very thin and had a poor appetite for some months.

The owners went to Vet 1 near midnight. The owner did not want blood tests, X-rays or the immediate surgery advised. They had spent some money earlier for a severe diarrhoea treatment of the dog. Veterinary costs can add up when there is prolonged illness requiring many treatments and the family needed to reduce costs.

In this case, it would be prudent not to rush into immediate surgery as the risks of the female dog dying on the operating table would be very high. The challenge is when to commence the removal of the infected womb so that the dog would not die? Give antibiotics and fluid therapy for at least one day and check the rectal temperature to get better odds.

In this case, the dog survived the surgery after around 2 days of treatment. Although I gave her at less than 30% chances of survival, she surprised me. When the vet deems the ill dog a poor anaesthetic risk, the dog would many times prove the vet wrong.

In this case, the family of parents and 2 children came to the surgery and hand-feed the dog 2 hourly for the 2 days before surgery. Feeding 2 hourly after surgery was also essential post-op care. The dog lived.

This dog seemed to be the type that would eat to live, not live to eat.

Yet in Case 3, the other Lhasa Apso with pyometra that I would operate on Friday July 4, 2008 was so much different.

The other Lhasa Apso would be 9 years old and lived to eat. She was trim but not thin. "Always asking for more food," the owner said.

She was given antibiotics for some 7-10 days before surgery. She had very little sticky vaginal discharge as the owner was told to make her wear pads so as to collect some evidence of pyometra - pus in the womb. What would her chances of survival on the operating table?

I assess as more than 50% as the dog was active, trim and eating well. No vomiting. But pyometra had been there for some months as the dog had licked off the vaginal discharge without the owner's knowlege. 2 very small breast tumours had formed. No vet can guarantee 100% survival and this is where early discovery of pyometra or early age spay of the female dog would be preferred. Pyometra can be very stressful for some lady owners, causing sleepless nights prior to surgery.

No comments: