why people don't spay their dogs.
First day back at work and I'm presented with a small breed dog for lethargy and not eating. Naturally the owner sent a representative so history taking was not very productive. But, I'm not sure how observant the owner is anyway since they told said representative that the illness started yesterday. And shockingly, the only record we have on the dog is that she has had two litters of puppies and zero preventive health care. Anyway, poor little dog had a fever, a tell-tale vaginal discharge and a fluid filled structure in her abdomen leaving me very suspicious of a pyometra (infected pus-filled uterus). A quick x-ray pretty much confirmed this. Normal protocol for this condition is immediate surgery to have the dog spayed before the uterus ruptures and leaks pus into the abdomen. Pus, from any source, free floating in the abdomen, is a BAD thing. Not to mention the long standing infection by itself can cause renal damage.
So, at 5PM no less, we went to surgery. As I entered the abdomen, pus poured out of my incision. Well, that's not cool, we are too late. Poor little dog's prognosis just went from fair, to guarded. I finished the spay and then lavaged (flushed or "washed") the abdominal cavity with sterile fluids until it was draining clear, and then flushed some more, gave some antibiotics and hoped for the best.
She was lucky. This morning she was bright and alert, eating and licking her incision! This could have easily gone the other way. And she's not totally out of the woods but the odds have tipped in her favor considerably. This is a potentially fatal and completely preventable condition. And don't think it's only a condition of older females, this dog was only four.
You can read more about pyometra here. I'm too lazy to write about the details, especially since it's not a disease most dogs will get as it's limited to intact females.
CSA Week 15
2 days ago