Willie the blind Beagle needed to have his eyes removed because they had become painful, and we took him to our local vet clinic for the surgery last week. But on the physical exam before the procedure, our vet Dr. Nancy Lefavour detected a very pronounced heart murmur. She thought it might be as high as a Grade 5, and considered him too risky for surgery. She asked us to see if our veterinary ophthalomologist, Dr. Sarah Hoy, was comfortable doing an enucleation on him, or if she had other options to recommend.
Consequently, I scheduled two appointments for Willie last Friday in Burlington -- with our internal medicine specialist, Dr. Tanya Donovan, in the morning for an echocardiogram of his heart to find out just what kind of condition his heart is in, and then with Dr. Hoy in the afternoon for a consultation. I took the photo above of Tanya doing a physical exam on Willie.
I had mentioned to Tanya that Willie had a large fatty tumor in his pelvic region, and he'd had this for a few years. But we noticed it seemed to get larger in recent months, and I asked if she could put the ultrasound probe on it while she was doing the echocardiogram just to make sure nothing weird was going on.
Here's Willie during the echo:
The good news was that his heart actually looked pretty good, and Tanya graded his heart murmur closer to a Grade 3/4. She considered him a reasonable risk for surgery.
When the time came to ultrasound the fatty tumor, Tanya was stunned to find some loops of intestine inside it. At first she thought the probe was picking up the intestines inside the abdomen, i.e., scanning through the fatty tumor, but it became clear the intestinal loops she was seeing on the screen were actually inside what we -- and numerous vets over the years -- had considered a run-of-the-mill fatty tumor. It turns out he had an inguinal hernia -- a hole in the abdominal wall that part of his intestines had slipped through.
Tanya is ultrasounding Willie's fatty tumor in this shot:
Willie was so stressed out by this that he actually fell asleep and began snoring during the imaging. No, really. He was snoring away when I took that photo.
Fortunately, his intestines are still working fine, which is one reason we never suspected anything was wrong. At some point, obviously -- and presumably this was recently when we noticed the fatty tumor getting larger -- he developed the hernia and then the intestinal looped popped out inside it.
For an interesting quick animation on how inguinal hernias are repaired in people, see this.
This kind of surgery requires a board-certified veterinary surgeon, so Tanya scheduled Willie to have the procedure performed by her colleague, Dr. Josie Mallinckrodt, who practices at the same clinic. Rather than put Willie through two different surgeries -- one for the hernia and one for his eyes -- Dr. Mallinckrodt planned to do the enucleation at the same time.
Yesterday morning I drove Willie to Burlington for the surgery. Dr. Mallinckrodt called last night to say he had come through it in great shape, had recovered from anesthesia, and should be ready to come home on Saturday.
Please Vote for the Farm!
The latest Shelter Challenge started Monday, July 9 and ends at midnight on September 16. Grand prize in this round is $5,000, plus $1,000 for weekly winners and $1,000 for state winners. There are also other categories ... please see the Shelter Challenge website for details.
*** We are now LISTED UNDER OUR NEW NAME, ROLLING DOG FARM. State is still NH for New Hampshire. ***
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We just won $1,000 as a weekly winner in the last contest, and thousands more in the previous contests. The Shelter Challenge really does bring in a lot of money for the animals here!
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