Bart is a sweet, 10 year old lab that presented to our hospital for diarrhea and a decreased appetite. During the exam an abdominal mass was found. It was a very large mass and using ultrasound, it was determined to be connected to his spleen. Splenic tumors in dogs can be benign or cancerous. There is approximately a 50/50 chance. Even benign tumors can grow to be very large and are at risk to rupture which can lead to life-threatening internal bleeding. Surgery is the treatment of choice to remove the spleen (splenectomy) and tumor. If benign, surgery can be curative. Bart was also a little anemic (decreased red blood cells) which put him at higher risk for surgery. Bart’s family elected to proceed with surgery to try and give him a chance. He proved to be a fighter and did very well during anesthesia despite the large tumor that was removed. After surgery, he continued to do well and gained his appetite and energy back. The tumor was benign, so the surgery was curative for Bart! He is a happy 10- year-old boy, enjoying life at home with his loved ones now. For his tenacity in the face of adversity, we have named him our canine Pet of the Month!
Baby is a ten-year-old cat who has been a patient at AHS her whole life. In June, Baby presented because she was salivating, vomiting and had developed diarrhea. She was also quite dehydrated. A full blood screen indicated a very sick cat indeed. She had an elevated BUN, creatine and phosphorus indicating kidney disease. She also had an elevated Fpl which is an indicator of pancreatitis. Her third abnormality was a new heart murmur. Any of these conditions can be very bad, but having them all was a huge concern for Baby.
Baby was placed on IV fluids to flush her kidneys. We call this diuresis. In humans Baby would have been placed on dialysis. While this can be done in pets, it is very expensive and only a few hospitals in the United States offer it. While we wanted to be aggressive with the flushing of her kidneys we had to be cognizant of her heart as overloading her with fluids can lead to heart failure. We also started injectable nausea medication and topical pain management. Once we were able to control her nausea and pain, Baby felt much better.
After 3 days in the hospital she continued to improve and started eating so we rechecked her blood screen. While her values had not normalized, they had improved enough to try Baby at home on a special diet. Unlike the liver that can regenerate itself, once the kidneys are damaged, they are always damaged. Our goal is to maintain their function by feeding diets that limit their workload.
Baby’s one-week recheck indicated blood values that had worsened slightly but also a cat who continued to feel well and whose weight had increased. While the values are important, we also know that how a patient feels is a good indicator of how they are progressing. With these findings, Baby was continued on the same protocol. We again checked her levels a month later and all her values were normal.
Baby showed that, though your prognosis is guarded, you can still rally and succeed in fighting off disease. Because of her amazing recovery Baby is AHS’s feline Pet of the Month.