Sunday, March 29, 2009

Before and after: Laceration

On February 28th, a client called on emergency and had a horse with a fresh laceration. The client brought the mare, "Dallas", to the clinic for me to suture the laceration. This picture shows the laceration on the left side of her thorax, just behind her elbow. The picture was taken after I had shaved her hair and cleaned the wound. Evidently, she caught her skin on a door latch going inside her stall. This is actually a very common injury. The laceration was fairly large and a "full skin thickness" laceration, meaning all the layers of the skin were lacerated. She had even lacerated the most superficial muscle layer covering her ribs. Even though these pictures do not show it well, there is a large flap of loose skin at the right edge of the laceration.

The good news was that these type of lacerations usually heal quite nicely providing they do not become infected. I would much rather have a large laceration on a horse's side, neck or head than a small laceration on a leg. Leg cuts are slow to heal due to the lack of tissue and blood supply.

After cleaning and flushing the wound thoroughly, I administered a local anesthetic to numb the area. I then, surgically debrided (removed) any skin/tissue that appeared devitalized. It is very important to excise any unhealthy tissue because unhealthy tissue can become infected tissue. I was a bit concerned about the condition of the flap of skin...however, removing the entire flap would result in a large open wound which would have to heal by second intention, meaning without sutures. So, I placed several absorbable sutures underneath the skin to close the laceration and then sutured the skin with non-absorbable sutures.

This picture shows the repaired laceration. You will notice the bottom part of the incision is left open. There was not enough healthy skin to close this area, plus leaving it open will allow drainage of fluid. After the initial "anxiety" of the tranquilization injection, Dallas stood very calmly while I sutured the laceration. She was also given antibiotics, tetanus prophylaxis and pain medication.

And voila! is the laceration after approximately 3 weeks. I removed the skin sutures and a piece of dessicated, nonvital skin which was covering the pink part of the laceration. This was part of the skin flap which I was concerned about. However, this laceration looks great! There are no signs of infection and the open part of the laceration is healthy and will continue to heal. Within 4-6 weeks, there should be only a faint scar remaining!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jack Russell Terrier

Here's a bit of history on the Jack Russell Terrier "type" of dog. I say type because they do not seem to be purebred in the sense that they have a broad genetic make-up and vary greatly in size and type. There are differing opinions and often heat discussions on what constitutes a Jack Russell Terrier or Parson Russell Terrier and which is the "true" Russell Terrier. Since I am not breeding these dogs, I'm not going to get into the discussion or argument on which is which. For my part, I could care less about their size, color or pedigree. I just love their personality.

What is agreed upon though, is this "type" was developed by the Reverend John Russell in the early 1800s. Reverend Russell was well-known for breeding fox hunting terriers in Devonshire, England. From this strain developed the Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier. For the most part, it is also agreed that the Jack Russell Terrier is the smaller, longer-bodied, shorter-legged dog used to hunt vermin and rabbits. They are usually 10-12 inches in height at the withers. My dogs would fall in this category.

The Parson Russell Terrier tends to be a longer-legged, square dog used to hunt or hold fox at bay. The Parson Russell Terrier is recognized by the American Kennel Club and is 13-14 inches in height at the withers.
The Jack Russell or Parson Russel is a working terrier. They are used on numerous ground-dwelling quarry and are built for work underground. (Hence, the reason my dogs are always getting in trouble!) They are meant to locate the quarry in the earth and then either bolt or hold it in place until it is dug to. (See Mom, they were only doing what they are "supposed" to do). They are bold, friendly, intelligent, athletic, fearless and vocal dogs. Because of their high energy level, they are not recommended for apartment dwellers unless the owner can provide the terrier the necessary amount of exercise and stimulation. Otherwise, they may destroy your personal belongings! These terriers are truly a big dog in a small package which can lead to trouble and injury with larger animals.

I am lucky to have a huge, fenced back yard for my terriers to run. During the winter months, they accompany me to the clinic where they hang out in my office and the clinic barn. My husband and I are amazed at how these dogs have become such a huge part of our lives. I grew up with large, outdoor only dogs and never thought I'd end up having three dogs under 15 pounds......who sleep on my bed!! Just goes to show ya! Oh yea.....they are Colts fans!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Weekend trip to the Ellers

My dogs love to go to my parents farm in Indiana. Between chasing the barn cats to riding on the gator to running in the pasture to cornering critters, they are in seventh heaven. I'm not so sure my mother enjoys their "antics" as much as I do...but everyone admits that they are entertaining. A couple of Christmas ago, we spent 4 hours looking for Gordy and Scoop. We finally found them buried in a tunnel in the hay loft. We had to move 8 layers of old hay to uncover the pair. Just as I figured, Gordy had went into one of the many tunnels between the old hay in hot pursuit of a cat with Scoop close behind. When the tunnel ended at the bottom of the stack, it was two narrow for Scoop to turn around, so they were stuck. Boy did I get a dirty look from my mother on this misadventure.....! Since then, they have been banned from the hay loft. This trip, they managed to corner something in a fallen tree trunk....which, incidently had fallen over the creek. At first I was video taping them unconcerned, watching them jump up and over the tree trunk....wondering if they were going to fall in the creek. Then, the barks and growls became more aggressive and I saw blood. I hurriedly handed my camera, blackberry and flip video recorder to my sister-in-law and crawled out on the log. I grabbed Scoop by his tail and handed him to my brother and reached inside the log for Gordy (he's always the first to the scene!). I was really going to be mad if I got bit by an irate possum! All I could see of Gordy was his tail which I grabbed and pulled him out. (That's why the tail is left ~4-5 inches long to grab and pull out of a burrow). After dunking Scoop in the creek, I was relieved to see the blood was from where he bit his own lip. Guess, they are going to be banned from logs! Here's the video before I had to rescue them!

And here's another video of Gordy and Scoop digging in the pasture for "some critter".....which they never found! Talk about "Mission Impossible"! My niece, Kallie, had a great time digging with them!

Miss Kallie, Scoop, Gordy and Lannie

Since this is the Arthur Veterinary Clinic's blog and supposed to be informational, I'll post this history of the Jack Russell breed. I don't want to bore anyone with stories about my Jacks!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Coming Soon....Antics of the Terriers at the Eller Farm in Indiana

The terriers were at it again! My husband and I traveled to my parent's farm in Indiana. Both my brothers and their families were home for the weekend. We took all three of the Jacks....they love the farm. They usually manage to get into some kind of trouble and this weekend was no exception. Below are a couple of pictures.....I'm working on splicing the video of their "highlights". Stay tuned!....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Neutering Your Pet-Part 2: Castration

The last post explained the surgical procedure of spaying. This post will explain the surgical procedure of castration. But before I explain the procedure, I'll include some information about surgery in general.

Veterinary surgery is very similiar to human surgery and quite sophisticated in terms of anesthesia, monitoring and surgical instrumentation. Many of my clients express concern when their pet needs general anesthesia for a procedure. I assure them that we use very safe anesthetic agents and that their pet is connected to a cardiovascular (CV) monitor during the entire procedure. This monitor monitors the pet's ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and oxygen level. This is a picture of the CV monitor.

The type of anesthetic used is a combination of injectable and gas inhalation. In other words, the pet is given an injection of sedative intravenously which enables me to place an endotracheal tube in his/her trachea through which gas anesthesia and oxygen is administered. Gas anesthesia is very safe and we are able to control the anesthetic level more accurately. This is a picture of our gas anesthetic machine.

And just like in human medicine, all our instruments are sterilized and we adhere to sterile technique during a surgery. We use a piece of equipment called an autoclave to sterilize all instruments after they have been cleaned. This is a picture of an autoclave which uses high temperative and high pressure to sterilize (kinda like a pressure-cooker).

This picture shows an instrument pack opened and ready for surgery.
Okay, on to the castration procedure.....I'm sure you are all just dying to see these pictures! Castration or orchidectomy is the surgical removal of one or both testicles. In a routine castration, we obviously remove both testicles. Unlike neutering a female, castration is not abdominal surgery.....rather, castration involves an incision made through the skin just cranial (in front of) the scrotum. This picture illustrates the skin incision.
The testicle is exteriorized (brought to the surface) through the skin incision. The spermatic cord is then ligated (tied off) to prevent bleeding and then incised to remove. The spermatic cord consists of blood vessels, the cremaster muscle (the muscle which retracts the testicle) and the vas deferens (the "tube" which carries the sperm from the testicle through the penis). These two pictures show the testicle and spermatic cord exteriorized and then ligation. Keep in mind, these are pictures of a small (9 pounds), young dog.

Just as the spay, the castration incision is closed in two layers. However, unlike the spay, I do not place any skin sutures in the incision. Instead, I place a subcuticular (just below the skin) layer of sutures (stitches) which are absorbable or will dissolve. I do this to prevent male dogs from chewing or pulling out their skin sutures.

Just like spaying, I recommend castrating male dogs and cats around 4-5 months. One of the behavior benefits of castrating a male dog at a young age is it can prevent them from lifting or hiking a leg to urinate or mark territory with urine. Other health benefits of castration include preventing prostate enlargement, infection and cancer later in life. For the most part, castrated male dogs are better behaved and less aggressive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Neutering Your Pet-Part 1: Spaying

Neutering your pet may sound like a boring topic but it is one of the most common surgeries performed by a veterinarian. The word neuter means to make an animal sterile by either spaying a female or castrating a male. This post will explain the surgical procedure of spaying.

I like to remind clients that when a female dog is spayed, this surgery is classified as abdominal surgery. In other words, I must enter the abdomen to remove her reproductive tract. The good news is, when performing abdominal surgery on a dog or cat, we do not have to incise or cut through abdominal muscles as do human surgeons. As this picture shows, we make an incision on the midline of her abdomen through connective tissue. Because of this, abdominal surgery in dogs and cats is less painful and healing is quicker.

When a female dog or cat is spayed, the ovaries and uterus are removed. This procedure is also called an ovariohysterectomy. Ovario means ovaries. Hyster means uterus. And Ectomy means to remove. This picture below shows both ovaries and the entire uterus being removed in a small, 7 pound female dog.
When suturing (stitching) incisions from this type of surgery, I typically close the incision with two layers. The first layer of sutures is the inside body wall. This layer of sutures is very important because it is the "holding layer"......meaning this layer has the strenghth to hold the abdominal organs in the abdominal cavity. These sutures are buried beneath the skin and are absorbable, meaning they will dissolve on their own. This picture below shows the absorbable sutures in the body wall.

The second layer of sutures is the skin. These sutures are non-absorbable (they are actually a type of nylon) and will need to be removed 10 days post surgery. And while it is very important to close the skin, this layer has very little "holding" ability. These pictures below show the skin being sutured and the completed surgical site.
I typically spay female dogs around 3-4 months of age. Some shelters will spay much younger. Spaying before the first heat cycle is recommended. Spaying or neutering your female dog will prevent the headaches of having a female in estrus (heat), help prevent mammary (breast) cancer, help prevent pyometra (life-threatening uterine infections) and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dax and Ella Grace

This picture is a great picture of "Ella Grace", the Clydesdale filly and "Dax", the Great Dane. Dax is 1 1/2 years old and owned by Gary Richards. Gary imported Dax from Finland. He is seen here muzzle to muzzle with Ella Grace after a chiropractic treatment by Dr. Linda. Ella Grace is the yearling raffle filly for the Clydesale Breeders Annual Sale being held April 23-25, 2009 at the Illlinois State Fairgrounds. The Arthur Veterinary Clinic is housing and fitting the filly for the sale. Raffle tickets are available at the clinic or by calling the Clydesdale Breeders of the USA at 815-247-8780.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yippee, Yippee!!!!

Ruth's foal, Ford E., (I'll explain the E in a minute) is nursing from his mama....after 4 1/2 long days!!!
He is doing well, even trotting & bucking around the stall. We tried to tell him he'd be much happier getting his milk directly from the nozzle! Dr. Linda wanted me to explain why the foal's name is Ford E. Ford E. was named Ford because his face looks like a Hereford cow with all the white. The E. is for Elise, Eve, Elmer & Emmett. A couple of those listed are known for their stubborness!!.....this stubborness has resulted in the little bugger nursing! For those interested, the Clydesdale breed originated from the Lanarkshire district of Scotland. It was developed in the early nineteenth century and is one of the five major draft breeds now found in the US. The other draft breeds include Belgians, Percherons, Shires and Suffolks. Clydesdales are typically bay with four white stockings with "feather" (the white hair on their lower legs) and a wide white stripe on the forehead. As you can see, Ford E. is an overachiever when it comes to the white on his face!! Many thanks for all those who helped with Ford!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Does your dog have "Doggie Breath"?

Did you know that tartar buildup on your pet's teeth can not only cause bad breath but can also be detrimental to their health? Periodontal disease is the number one disease in pets. Dental disease can affect pets as early as 3 years of age. And, as a pet ages, periodontal disease can affect the heart valves, lungs, liver and kidneys. Almost every day, I see a dog or cat that has severe gum disease and resulting health issues.
These are "before" and "after" pictures of "Buddy", a 13 year old mixed breed dog. Notice the "gray/brown" tartar accumulation on his teeth before dental prophylaxis or cleaning. Then compare his teeth after cleaning. This tartar is removed with manual and ultrasonic scaling. The teeth are then polished. Fortunately, Buddy did not need any extractions. Many times, I see pets with severely infected gums and loose, rotten teeth which need to be extracted. The most I have ever extracted at one time was seventeen teeth in a Chihuahua. And while dogs get along fine without all their 42 teeth, proper dental care and at home brushing can prevent tooth and gum loss. And yes, I did say at home brushing of your pet's teeth. Daily brushing is recommended but even 2-3 times weekly helps. We commonly hand out complimentary "doggie" and "kitty" toothbrushes and sample toothpaste to aid in brushing your pet's teeth.

So remember, that "doggie" breath you notice from Fido might just indicate he has periodontal disease!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ruth's Foal

Monday, March 2, 2009

Update on Ruth's foal, Ford. Ford continues to drink his mother's milk....from a bottle. He seems so close to nursing from his mother but just can't quite get the hang of it. He's actually funny to watch because he will nudge her udder to get the milk flowing, then lets the milk run into his mouth! We continue to take turns feeding him. Although it would be easier, we hesitate to let him drink from a bucket....however, if he doesn't starting nursing from his mother, he may become a "bucket baby"!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Three Terrors...oops I mean Terriers!

I live with three terriers who keep me and my husband very entertained! We have "Gordy" who is the tri-colored Jack Russell terrier. We "acquired" Gordy in 2001 from an Amish farm because he was not big enough for the farmer. While I don't know Gordy's exact age, I'm estimating him to be about 9 or 10 years. He is very calm for a Jack and would prefer to sleep on your lap! He is also very personal.....we call him the "Walmart Greeter" at the clinic. I have a waiting list of people who would like to adopt him.

In 2005, my husband returned from a horse show in Michigan with a surprise......"Scoop"! Scoop is also a Jack Russell terrier. He is 3 years old and is very attached to my husband. He loves going to the barn and "helping" with chores. While Gordy is independent and calm, Scoop tends to be more needy.....but he is much more loyal and obedient.

And then there's "Lannie"! Our latest addition to the herd. Lannie is a 10 month old Jack Russell. She is named after Lansing, Michigan where she we picked her up at a horse show. (Seems to be a trend show...jack russell terrier!) Of the three, she is the most "Jack" like. Very independent, energetic and fun loving. She actually jumped up on this stool on her own and proceeded to spin around! I snapped this picture of her when the stool stopped spinning.

For the most part, they all three get along.......most of the the time. Scoop isn't real thrilled that Lannie has joined the family but he's getting better. Stay tuned for more terrier "antics".

Ruth's Foal

Ruth is an 8 year old clydesdale mare who foaled (gave birth) at the Arthur Veterinary Clinic on Friday February 27th at 9:45pm. Ruth is owned by Dr. Linda Harmon Dodge who is a veterinarian at the AVC. She gave birth to a very large stud (boy) foal who Dr. Linda has named "Ford". Ford weighed 200 pounds and was approximately 11 hands (44 inches) tall.

For those of you unfamiliar with horse lingo, a hand equals 4 inches. Horses are measured for height from their withers to the ground. The withers on a horse are located at the base of the neck.

Dr. Lisa passing a stomach tube.

Ruth gave birth easily and Ford was a strong foal from the start. He was standing within an hour of being born. However, he has not mastered the art of nursing from his mother or a bottle. Because of this, a stomach tube had to be passed to provide Ford with his mother's colostrum. As you can imagine, this is both frustrating and exhausting since a foal should nurse every 2-3 hours.

After 12 hours of passing the stomach tube, we discovered that Ford would drink his mother's milk from a bucket. And while this is not ideal, it is better than the stomach tube.

Dr. Linda bucket feeding Ford. Ruth is making sure she is doing it right!

So, all day yesterday and last night, we took turns bucket feeding Ford every two hours. Today, he is finally starting to get the hang of nursing from a bottle. Hopefully by this time tomorrow he will be happily nursing from his mother!

Dr. Linda bottle feeding Ford

"Hmm.......what am I supposed to do?"