Yesterday proved eventful—which is why this post comes a little later in the day than most. Three Yorkies presented themselves in varying stages of distress. All three are still hospitalized with extensive records full of lab results and treatment schedules pinned to their cages amid criss-crossed tubes and dangling fluid pumps.
Yorkie number one was the kind of disaster that gets vets yelling `stat` and makes technicians run from room to room to collect equipment and supplies for a critical case. This four-pound dog had turned blue and was coughing up bloody sputum. The owner, unperturbed, was wondering why we were all making such a big fuss. The dog, usually yappy and nippy was lying in a little heap in his arms. He could barely lift his head.
Oxygen, IV catheter, X-rays, drugs—all in less than five minutes. Heart failure and bacterial pneumonia were the principal diagnoses. Five hours later he was still turning blue without 100% oxygen (supplied through a special bubble mask designed for small dogs and cats).
By three PM he was trying to bite us. The mask came off. He could walk. His owner, an elderly gentleman, refused to authorize transfer to an emergency facility for overnight care. I ended up taking the ungrateful little monster home (I say that with love—really).
The next case came in hot on the heels of the first. Yorkie number two was a geriatric, emaciated little three-pounder. Her owner claimed to be embarrassed to take her out for a walk as a result of her advanced decrepitude. (If I were her dog I might say the same thing about my prospective walking companion.)
This little thing was as sweet as her pneumoniacal breed-brother was ornery. Although ancient and truly in a state of serious deterioration, she licked my hands with her periodontitis-laced tongue. (A good deal of hand-washing later and I could actually eat lunch.)
Turns out, she’s losing the battle to keep her kidneys in working order. Chronic renal failure and a severe urinary tract infection were clearly diminishing her quality of life—not to mention the rotting teeth in her mouth. Antibiotics and fluid therapy in hospital were recommended.
The third Yorkie came in at the end of the day (a second opinion case from a neighboring hospital). I told them the same thing their regular vet told them: Your dog has staples in her stomach and because she weighs three pounds and has intestines the size of a guinea pig’s I would recommend we take the offending items the heck out of there before they do some real damage. They agreed, saying my explanation was so much better than the last vet’s. (I suspect the decision actually hung on the `quality` of my estimate and not on that of my care.)
A six o’clock surgery is not my idea of a good time but it was nonetheless rewarding to get those little metal suckers out of her stomach and intestines. Incidentally, I think I came up with a new way to locate small metal foreign bodies intra-operatively: we used the digital dental X-ray machine to finally ID the last staple’s hiding spot in the small intestine (it had moved out of the stomach since the time of the initial X-ray).
What a messy day! All because of three Yorkies, hospitalized and expecting critical overnight care (which their parents were unwilling to see provided elsewhere). So now you know why this post is so late…I had a three-dog night!