Star of the Month: Haley Bodmer
Haley is a 12 year old chocolate Lab who was recently brought into Concord Chapel for a bout of vomiting. As part of her work-up to determine the cause of the vomiting, Dr. Russell ran blood work which was relatively normal. She also ordered abdominal x-rays which did not show a foreign object or any intestinal abnormalities. However, a mass about the size of a softball was seen in Haley's mid-abdomen.
Dr. Russell and Dr. Kerr then used ultrasonography to determine that the mass was coming from Haley's spleen. Splenic masses, like the one Haley had, are difficult to differentiate. There are many different types of tumors that can be found int the spleen but most of the time they are one of three types: hematomas (like a bruise or blood clot in the spleen), hemangiomas (benign tumors of a blood vessel), or hemangiosarcomas (malignant tumors of a blood vessel which can spread to other areas of the body such as the lungs). Without a piece of the mass, there is no way of telling which of the three the mass could be.
Haley had chest x-rays taken which did not show any masses in her lungs or chest. It was then recommended that she have her spleen removed. Dogs, like some other mammals, can live without a spleen, although, this organ does help the body maintain an efficient immune system. It is important to remove splenic masses as they can spontaneously rupture causing severe internal bleeding and, in many cases, death.
Haley had surgery to remove her spleen about one week after her chest x-rays were taken. At the time of surgery, lesions that were too small to be seen using ultrasonography were found in her liver. A liver biopsy was taken to determine if the liver lesions were spread from the splenic mass versus another type of lesion. Haley did very well throughout her surgery. Blood work was taken before, just after, and four hours after surgery to make sure she was not bleeding internally from her surgery. All of her blood work was normal. Haley was sent to Diley Hill 24HR Animal Emergency Center overnight and for part of the next day in order to continue monitoring her red blood cell counts, her heart rate, and heart rhythm as some dogs that have their spleen removed experience heart arrhythmias as well as bleeding from the surgery site.
Haley had no complications from her surgery. She recovered very well and her vomiting has resolved. Haley, her owners, and the team at Concord Chapel were happy to find out that the lesions in her liver were benign age-related changes and the mass in her spleen was a hematoma which means that Haley's splenectomy was curative allowing Haley to enjoy more life with her owners.
Ruby is a 10 month old female cat that was found by a Good Samaritan who saw her running, with one leg dangling, across 665 near Kroger. Ruby was brought into Concord Chapel the next day to see what we could do for her. Dr. Lauron decided Ruby deserved a second chance and agreed to take on Ruby’s case.
First Dr. Lauron examined Ruby and determined that she had a wounded leg and the leg could not be straightened to allow Ruby to walk normally. Then Dr. Lauron drew blood to test Ruby for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) which were both negative. After that, Ruby was x-rayed to determine what was wrong with her leg. The x-rays showed pieces of metal with in the tissues of the leg and pieces of bone were actually missing! It appeared that Ruby had been shot. This would be the second animal this year that we have seen at Concord that has been shot in the leg. We also checked her blood work which showed she was anemic (low red blood cell count) and some other abnormalities related to her injury. Ruby was immediately placed on pain medication and antibiotics.
A few days later, Ruby had surgery to remove her leg as it was no longer functional. During that surgery we found that the skin of her leg was trying to heal and was actually attached to her vulva (Ouch!). We removed this attachment in order to remove the leg. Due to the bullet, which must have hit her several weeks prior to her being rescued from the road, her muscles and other tissues inside her leg were scarred and irregular making the surgery a little more challenging. Ruby was also spayed while she was under anesthesia to remove her leg.
Ruby came through surgery with flying colors. She is now doing very well on her healthy remaining legs and gets around wonderfully (as complained about by the team members who try to catch her when it is time to put her back in her cage)! Ruby’s infection and anemia have also resolved and she has been dewormed and vaccinated.
Ruby is soon going to live in a friends barn and try her hand (or paws as the case may be) at mouse catching. In my opinion, those mice better high tail it out of there or they are liable to lose more than a leg!
"K" Robinet and Smokey Gall
Callie Potts (January 2013)
Callie Potts is a 12.5 year old female spayed Calico cat that came to Concord Chapel Animal Hospital because she was very lethargic and not eating or drinking for two days. She had also vomited a couple of times during those two days. When Dr. Lauron examined Callie, she also noted that Callie was dehydrated. Dr. Lauron recommended blood work and a urinalysis for Callie. The blood work and urine showed many abnormalities suggesting Callie may be in liver failure potentially due to an infection. In dogs and cats, bacteria can actually travel from the small intestine into the liver causing infection and inflammation.
Due to the blood work and urine results, Dr. Lauron also recommended an ultrasound to make sure there were no masses in the liver and to see what the liver tissue looked like without having to surgically go into Callie's abdomen. Ultrasounds, unlike x-rays, actually allow the ultrasonographer to look through an organ rather than "at" and organ. Callie's ultrasound showed engorged vessels and bile ducts as well as a mildly enlarged gall bladder with "sludge" in it.
Based on the ultrasound results, blood work, and urinalysis it was determined that Callie had cholangiohepatitis. This is a really long word that means there is inflammation in the liver and bile ducts which can make the bile ducts look enlarged and can cause there to be "sludge" or thickened bile fluids in the gall bladder. The liver is an organ that filters toxins from the body. The toxins are placed in a liquid called bile which moves through the liver in bile ducts (think of these ducts like water pipes in your house). The bile ducts then empty out into the gall bladder (like your houses septic tank). The gall bladder then empties its contents into the intestines where the toxins and bile eventually leave the body through the feces. When the bile ducts and liver become inflamed, the ducts become "clogged" (like the drain in your sink) and toxins spill over into the blood stream. These toxins then make the animal feel sick.
Callie was placed on IV fluids to try and "flush" some of the toxins out of her blood stream as well as to keep her hydrated. Callie was also placed on antibiotics as bacterial infections of the liver are a common cause of cholangiohepatitis. She was given medications to prevent vomiting. She was also placed on a drug called Ursodiol. (Keeping with the clogged drain metaphor, Ursodiol is to the liver as Drano is to your clogged pipes.) This drug helps remove toxins from the liver, increases the flow of bile, and helps decrease inflammation in the liver. This is obviously a very useful drug in the treatment of cholangiohepatitis.
Callie did very well in the hospital and spent four days with us. She eventually went home, started eating on her own, and acting like her normal self. Callie will be back to see us soon for a medical progress exam and recheck her blood work results. We anticipate that Callie will make a full recovery, however she may need to take Ursodiol for the rest of her life.