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Henley and Twyford

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Case Notes: Osi: Newfoundland with Pyometra
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Osi's story starts on Friday 20th October. Her owners telephoned requesting a house visit because she had collapsed at home. Normally we would have been happy to do a house visit but it was one of “those” Friday afternoons and organising a vet to visit proved difficult. After discussion with the owners, they decided to try and get Osi into the car and bring her to the surgery. Osi, an 80kg ( 14 stone ) Newfoundland, was rather big and so instructions were given on the best way to get her into the car.

When Osi arrived at the surgery she managed to walk in but we could tell that she was very unwell. She was panting and looked uncomfortable. She also had a very distinctive “infection” smell to her. After a thorough examination we found she had a foul discharge from her vulva and it was likely that Osi had a condition called a Pyometra. This is a cystic condition of the lining of the uterus and it usually occurs in older, unspeyed bitches that have recently had a season. The condition is potentially life threatening because the toxins from the pus in the uterus can cause multiple organ failure and occasionally the uterus can rupture causing massive infection within the abdominal cavity.Untreated, the end result is death from septic shock.

The first thing that we did for Osi was to take a blood sample to check her cell counts and liver and kidney function and to set her up on intravenous fluids. The blood results, received within the hour from our in-house laboratory, came back remarkably normal which was good news. The fluids were used to flush the toxins out of her system and to correct any metabolic disturbances that had occurred as a result of the infection.

Osi then received antibiotics intravenously and anti-inflammatory medications. The plan was to stablize her so that we could then operate to remove the infected uterus. Essentially this is the same as a bitch spey operation but it is more difficult and can have added complications. It is important to remove the uterus as soon as possible as this then removes the source of infection and toxins.

An hour or so later Osi was stable enough to proceed with surgery. It took five people to lift her onto the operating table! She was then anaesthetised and prepared for surgery. It took two nurse to clip up her abdomen then to prepare the large expanse of shaved skin with surgical scrub. Unfortunately Osi's anaesthetic was not the most stable at the beginning and so we had two nurses watching the anaesthetic too. Krista was the vet operating and a nurse scrubbed up to assist – Osi was just too big inside for one vet to operate on their own. We had to “tie off” both of her ovaries and then the cervix in order to remove the bloated puss filled uterus. After a couple of hours of surgery the uterus was finally removed and the abdominal incision was closed. For this we used metal staples as they are very quick to place and we wanted to wake her up as soon as possible. By the time we had finished it was 11pm. Several nurses had stayed behind to assist with the operation and help out – real team work! If they hadn't volunteered it would have been very difficult to look after such a large patient.

Osi recovered well. The following day she managed a tail wag and could just about stand up with assistance. She was offered water which she took readily. She was not interested in food though. We kept her on the intravenous fluids and all medications. By the Sunday she was looking better again. We were able to take her off of her drip and then get her up for a short walk around the car park. It was felt that she would be much happier in her own environment and this proved to be the case. At home, Osi ate readily. She came back into the surgery a couple of days later and was making very good progress. Hopefully she will continue to do so.

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Henley Vets and Twyford Vets
The Veterinary Centre: 271 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1EL - Phone 01491 574490
Also at Twycombe Lodge, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, RG10 9JA - Phone 0118 934 0259