During a couple of weeks away on vacation I was lucky to have a visiting vet as well as technician Ingrid holding down the fort. This meant that I returned to only a minimal number of disasters, which was great. My visiting sister departed on a Sunday morning and then the calls began.
My first day “back” was Sunday on call for emergency. It started in the morning with a dog who just wasn’t acting right. Often times these cases with strange behavior and undetermined pain relate to a back problem. I treated this dog with some non steroidal anti-inflammatories (x-rays are not even an option on a Sunday) and sent him home to rest. After returning home I was called back again in the afternoon for emergency number two. This was a senior aged chihuahua who had never been spayed. She had not been feeling well earlier in the week when I was away and was on antibiotics. I quickly determined that this dog likely had pyometra, a life threatening infection of the uterus. She would soon die without intervention. We proceeded to an emergency surgery (the only effective treatment) and were able to send her home alive, happy, and spayed.
Back at work on Tuesday I inherited a complicated medical case that was suffering from low platelets (a type of blood cell that helps you to form clots when needed). With a very worried owner, it was necessary to perform a few more blood tests on this friendly senior dog. Here in Belize, most dogs with low platelets are suffering from a type of tick born disease called ehrlichia, that is why tick prevention is so important. In North America most dogs with this problem have an autoimmune disease. After a few weeks of treatment and testing it appears that this dog has both. An interesting but difficult case. She continues to be under my care.
That afternoon a man walked in with a blue pitbull who was obviously pregnant. She had been having some bloody discharge for about three days. A dog is pregnant for sixty-three days. He had no idea when she had been bred, as this dog had been left to him by a friend who recently moved away. I did not like the look or the smell of what I saw. We decided immediately on an afternoon emergency c-section. Unfortunately it was soon obvious that her puppies were not likely full term but were already deceased. Her uterus was infected and starting to turn purple. She needed an emergency spay. Luckily we were able to save her life, but her new owner declined to take her back as she could no longer be bred. She became a Saga dog up for adoption.
On Thursday morning Ingrid and I headed up north on the golf cart for a few house calls. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little adventure outside. Our first stop was to do an exam for a health certificate for a dog to travel to the U.S. This was over seven miles north of the bridge and was the furthest north I’d ever been by land! It was a beautiful day with the ocean sparkling blue every time we caught a glimpse. Next we headed back south to recheck a great dane I had seen a month prior. This dog weighs just over 200 pounds and is very friendly. He is easily the tallest dog I have ever seen; he’s more like a pony. He was doing very well and we headed back to the clinic. In the afternoon I had a scheduled surgery with one of my favorite pitbulls, Max. Max was born with a problem called “entropion”. His eyelids curl in so that his lashes rub is eyes, causing pain and corneal ulcers. He had this corrected in the spring with a visiting vet but one side was again causing him issues. I decided that a revision of the surgery on just one side would help. Max has a head like a basketball but he’s a gentle giant. At his recheck his ulcer was gone and his eyelids were already looking better, still needing more time to finish healing.
Max’s Entropion Before and Surgery
Max After, Just Before Suture Removal
I also had another dog for mass removal that afternoon, which turned out to be a small hernia. This dog was spayed years ago and had never had an issue, but her owner was concerned that at this older age she had developed a mass on her belly that seemed to be growing. On careful exploration of what had appeared to be a fat tumor, I found that it was really fat from inside her belly protruding out through a small hole. I removed the tissue, freshened the edges, and sewed the hernia closed, hopefully never to reappear again!
On Friday and Saturday I was left to my own devices. Ingrid was away at a Crossfit competition in Mexico. This always makes me nervous, but I have the rest of the support staff to help me out. Luckily it was a very quiet two days and I hardly even had to use my make due spanish to get by. Saturday night was a big Hallowe’en party at a hotel in town and I did my best to make a costume. It was a great time.
Bride of Frankenstein
Then despite being out way way way past my bedtime I was up early Sunday morning for a training run up north, followed by a great afternoon at the Saga Hallowe’en party fundraiser. I was asked to be a judge in the doggy costume contest.
Saga Hallowe’en Costume Contest
After all that I was indeed ready for a nap! What a great week.