Wednesday Through Friday's Vet Emergencies
Friday. Should you wonder why my posts have been posted late in the day over the past couple of days (this assumes anyone reads this blog closely--Hi, Mom!) it's because I've been tremendously overworked.
I'll start with my Wednesday. Three AM emergencies. The most critical one did not even present as an emergency--Miss Sally had a sore back. X-rays of her back revealed a nasty-looking abdominal mass peeking out from under her arthritic spine. It was trying hard to hide but luckily his kidney-like camouflage was not very convincing.
Because Sally's mom agreed to see the veterinary surgeon immediately, I was relieved of this responsibility. Whew! Nothing's worse than having to deal with a complicated cancer case when a few other sickies are waiting their turn. And Miss Sally would be in great hands--no worries there.
My second case stayed with me until today. Russell (you guessed it) a Jack Russell (AKA, Parson's) terrier mix. He's a big boy and one of my most difficult patients. I have to assume his life did not start off well. Otherwise he wouldn't try to kill me at every available opportunity. Presumably, he's a sweetheart around his adopted family. With us he's just a freak. But we understand...
Even heavily sedated, Russell requires a bit of wrangling so as to apply the necessary muzzle. This means Russell's evaluation takes at least five times longer than it has to--while the waiting room keeps filling up with new cases. Stress. Ever wonder why some days you have to wait longer than others to see the vet? Bring your knitting next time, just in case.
Russell's emergency was a pretty bizarre one. One of his eyes was bulging out of its socket, as if something behind it was pushing it out. Ouch!
What could it be? It didn't look like glaucoma (increased intra-ocular pressure) because the structures in the eye appeared normal and because the globe (eyeball) appeared essentially unaffected, though irritated.
The most common thing that causes eyes to bulge like this (we call it exophthalmos) is a mass (as in, tumor). Lots of nasal, ocular, and bony tumors can form back here and push the eye out of the way as they grow. Nasty. But some are treatable.
Russell seemed otherwise normal. No fever, no nothing else. Same old hyper-scrappy dog. Could it be an infection? Come to think of it, Russell has horrible teeth.
Russell's periodontal disease was something we had been dealing with for some time--dentals every twelve months--but his gums were so terrible we had recently recommended an every-six-month protocol. His owners were unable to get too close to his mouth at home, much less brush his teeth.
Anesthesia. Skull X-rays. Dental X-rays. Then a consultation with the surgeon, ophthalmologist and vet dentist (everyone was so cool). Finally I had some comfort. Russell likely has a retrobulbar abscess--a big bad, pus-filled site of infection pushing out his eye. He's already looking much better after two days on antibiotics.
My last emergency? Kliff Spring. I'll talk to you about him tomorrow since it's Friday evening and I have a hot date tonight (more like take-out and a DVD but it's a break, OK?). I'll keep you posted.