Today I drove blind Brynn back to Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine for yet another hospital visit. We needed to bring her back for a repeat echocardiogram on her heart, to see if there are any other changes since we treated her for a heart infection in mid-May, when she was last here. But the bigger and more immediate reason for her return visit is Brynn's ongoing urinary tract problems.
Regular blog readers will recall that earlier this year we did surgery on Brynn to create a 'urethral extension,' which was designed to stop the constant leaking and dribbling that was causing severe urine scalding. Well, the surgery worked ... for a while. But somewhere along the way in the past couple of months the extension broke down and her leaking resumed. We had continued to bathe her every day, but once the extension failed, it became more and more difficult to keep the urine scalds from developing.
And the more raw her skin became, the more difficult it was to bathe Brynn because it was increasingly painful for her. So in the past few weeks I had to resort to tying up one of her rear legs (a trick our farrier showed us) to keep her standing still and manageable while I cleaned her legs and rear end. Brynn had also developed open sores on opposing sides of her inner thighs, which meant these sores were constantly rubbing against each other. In short, we were back to a quality of life issue for this little girl.
Brynn has grown quite a bit since her previous surgery and gained 100 pounds, so her increased size should help the surgeons on this next round. Because they know what they're dealing with and thus won't have to do all the extensive diagnostics they did the first time, we're hoping the cost will be less than the initial surgery.
I took the first photo above late this afternoon when we arrived at WSU. With Brynn is fourth-year vet student Milo A., who will be her 'case manager' for this visit. I was surprised to have a male vet student attending to us because every other time we've been here, we were always working with female vet students. Now, I have known for quite some time that vet schools in recent years were graduating more women vets than men, but I hadn't realized until today just how big a change has occurred. Ready for this? Out of a 4th-year class at WSU of 95 vet students, only 15 are men. So Milo is kind of a rarity!
It took Milo about, oh, 30 seconds to find Brynn's sweet spot, as you can see in this photo. I swear I thought she was going to fall over while I was taking this shot. She just couldn't get enough of that back scratching, and kept leaning first one way and then the other.
Dr. Kristin Gablehouse, one of Brynn's surgeons, and Teri O., the senior equine vet tech, were also on hand to meet us, and they quickly got Brynn settled in her new stall. Brynn felt right at home, and started munching hay as soon as they hung the hay net for her. I took this photo while Milo and Teri were taking her vital signs. You can see Brynn is happily eating, with not a care in the world!
(Click on photos for larger image.)