Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Busy Sunday Evening

Sunday evening turned out to be busy at the Arthur Veterinary Clinic! The three veterinarians (myself, Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge and Dr. Scott Nebergall) take turns being on call and handling emergencies. But many times, we all chip in to help when a real critical case comes in or more than one emergency happens at the same time. Well....that's what occurred on Sunday. Dr. Linda was on call and she called Dr. Scott to assist with a possible canine c-section. Well, much to every one's surprise, when the client arrived at the clinic, he brought two female dogs for possible c-sections. So, not to feel left out, I arrived at the clinic to help along with our assistant/receptionist, Jeannie.

Those of you familiar with breeding dogs already know that a bitch can need a c-section for different reasons. For the most part, we recommend a c-section if it has been four hours or longer between puppies or if a bitch has been in hard labor for over an hour. We also recommend a c-section if we detect fetal distress with an ultrasound. Some breeds are more prone to needing c-sections such as bulldogs, Boston terriers, chihuahuas to name a few.

A c-section is performed much like an ovariohysterectomy (spay) except the ovaries and uterus are not removed. The female is anesthetized. We adjust our anesthetic protocol when performing a c-section. You have to remember that any anesthetic given to the mother can be absorbed by the unborn fetus. It is vital that the induction of anesthesia and the delivery of the pups is performed quickly and efficiently. This greatly improves your chances of delivering live, vigorous puppies. An incision is made on the ventral midline and the uterus is exposed. The number and location of the pups will dictate where the incision is made in the uterus. Most of the time, pups can be delivered through two uterine incisions but occasionally, a third incision is needed. The pups are delivered into the waiting hands of our "neonatal team".....which incidentally can be experienced veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, receptionists, husbands, wives and children. Everyone involved and associated with the AVC has helped deliver c-section puppies! The pups are then rubbed, stimulated and if need be, resuscitated. Hopefully, the end result is live, healthy puppies. While the neonatal team tends to the puppies, the surgeon is suturing the uterus, body wall and skin.

Our c-section party was successful! The first mother-to-be was "Caramel Sundae", a three year old Chihuahua weighing a whopping six pounds! "Caramel Sundae" had one live pup on her own late Sunday morning. On examination and ultrasound, one of the pups showed a weak heart beat. Since it had been over 4 hours since her last pup, the decision to deliver via c-section was made. Three live pups were delivered but the one with the weak heart beat did not survive. The other two pups and mother recovered nicely, though. Here's a couple of pictures of "Caramel Sundae" and her three pups. All doing well and went home later Sunday evening.

And this is "Karen", a four year old Shih Tzu weighing in at 13 pounds. Karen had whelped two live pups on her own but had also failed to have any more pups. The ultrasound revealed two live pups in Karen's uterus and since she had not shown any signs of labor for over four hours, off to surgery she went. Two more live pups were delivered. These pups were healthy and strong. Mom and brood also went home later in the evening.

So, even though we had not planned to spend Sunday evening at the clinic, it was very satisfying to deliver four healthy, live puppies!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hey, have you seen my panty hose?

String, Thread, Fishing Line, Dental Floss, Easter Grass……..
Bet you are wondering what in the world these things have to do with a veterinary blog! Well, these are all examples of items which can be classified as “linear foreign bodies” if ingested by a pet. Most of us know that dogs and cats will eat the darnedest things. And, many of us have experienced our pets raiding the garbage resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. For the most part, these forages of dietary indiscretion are mild and self limiting. However, when I am presented with a pet that has possibly swallowed a linear object; I tend to become much more worried.
The problem with string, thread, fishing line, Christmas tinsel, dental floss, Easter grass, panty hose (yes, I said panty hose….see the story below. Caution---not for the faint of heart) is these items can anchor in the stomach or intestinal tract causing the intestine to contract down on the object and then bunch up in an “accordion” type pattern along the linear object. This is very damaging to the intestinal tract causing the loss of blood supply, necrosis and death of the intestine. As a result, peritonitis can make the pet deathly ill.
If your pet swallows any kind of object, call your veterinarian. It is possible to administer medication and/or material to help the pet pass the object. Sometimes, the only clue that a dog or cat has swallowed a foreign object is seeing it pass in the stool. If you happen to see a foreign object or string type material protruding from your pet’s rectum DO NOT PULL ON IT! In this instance, our natural inclination may be to try to remove the object from the rectal opening, however, this can further damage the intestinal tract. Call your veterinarian immediately. Medication, enemas or possibly surgery may be necessary to remove the foreign object.
During my first year in practice, an elderly couple called with a Border Terrier which had eaten a pair of panty hose. They informed me that about 12 inches of the panty hose was protruding from the rectum and even though they tried to pull it out, it was stuck. When I examined the dog, she was quite sick and toxic. I performed surgery on the little dog and removed 24 inches of her small intestine plus the panty hose. Fortunately, the surgery went well and she recovered completely but she had to endure major surgery.
As with many issues in life, prevention is the key. If you have a pet that is prone to eating things he/she should not eat, keeping these type of items out of reach is advised. A good friend of mine once gave me his child rearing wisdom which is “Either remove the child from the temptation or remove the temptation from the child”. This also excellent advice for pets!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The 20th Anniversary Open House was a Success

The weather was perfect! The clinic looked great! The demonstrations were informative! We had a great crowd! Thanks to everyone who helped make the open house a success:
My Veterinarians:
Dr. Linda J. Harmon-Dodge
Dr. Scott A. Nebergall
My Staff:
Elise Singer
Eve Adams, CVT
Jeannie Belton
Justin Berry
Mindy Hodges
Monical Miller, CVT
Taylor Stone
Staci Swisher, CVT
Significant Others:
Dave & Jan Nebergall
Gary Nebergall
Larry Belton
Bob & Sharon Groves
Chris Jess
Darrell Earnst