New mum Ziggy's battle for life after internal bleeding; Vet's corner.
AS a vet you never know what will happen from one minute to the next as emergency cases can suddenly turn a routine surgery on its head.
Last Monday morning surgery was suddenly interrupted when a collapsed German Shepherd called Ziggy was rushed in.
Ziggy is a fine looking breeding bitch but she had problems in labour over the weekend when a pup became stuck.
A routine caesarean operation had been performed and when awake from the anaesthetic Ziggy and her new pups were discharged.
When Ziggy was brought in on Monday she was very ill. Her gums were very pale and her temperature was below normal.
She was unable to stand and her breathing was very fast and shallow. It was clear that unless we acted quickly Ziggy was not strong enough to hold on much longer.
I admitted Ziggy and together with the nursing team, quickly started her treatment. Firstly, we implanted an I/V line and set up a drip.
We used a special fluid called a plasma volume expander to help to support her circulation and I took a blood sample from her.
The sample was rushed to our in-house laboratory and tested using the biochemistry and haematology analysers. Results were through in six minutes.
The test confirmed that Ziggy was anaemic. An ultrasound scan was performed and we could see fluid within her abdomen. Ziggy was then prepared for a procedure called abdominocentesis which involves a needle being passed into her abdomen and we were able to confirm that the fluid in her abdomen was blood.
German Shepherds can have a defect in their blood clotting mechanism that reduces their ability to form blood clots in a similar way to people with haemophilia.
Samples were taken to investigate her clotting ability and they confirmed that Ziggy did indeed have a clotting defect.
The blood supply to the womb of a pregnant bitch is enormous to support the growing pups and I was suspicious that there was continued blood loss from the surgery site because her blood would not clot properly.
The difficulty was how to deal with the problem. Ziggy was too weak to anaesthetise and attempting further surgery would be likely to disturb any fragile clot that had formed. After discussions with the owner we made the difficult call not to undertake further surgery but manage Ziggy's circulation with a blood transfusion and further IV fluids.
Slowly, over a period of days, Ziggy has gradually improved. While reduced, she does fortunately have some clotting ability and at the end of the week she was able to go home although we will always have to do everything possible to avoid further surgery in the future.
* TOUGH TIME: New mum Ziggy who has had a hard time since delivering pups but is now back on her feet