Binx is a thirteen-year-old neutered male cat who presented to AHS last September with a very strange malady. Binx had a severe generalized swelling from his head down to his rear legs. The swelling had a bizarre feel, as the skin almost crackled as one palpated along his body. It was very soft and non-painful. Binx appeared to feel well. He was eating and drinking well and his heart and lungs sounded good. X-rays confirmed the suspicion of generalized subcutaneous emphysema. The air pockets ran from the top of his head all the way to his pelvis.
Binx’s problem was an unusual one and one that is almost always caused by some type of trauma to the trachea. Traumatic tracheal tears can be large but often they are small and difficult to find. Surgery is indicated if the laceration can be identified. This was not the case in Binx’s situation. His tear was too small to find but large enough to cause air to continue to leak. The best situation for Binx was to place a full body wrap from his neck to his belly to force pressure back on the trachea and prevent further leakage of air. Binx wore the bandage for 10 days and the subcutaneous emphysema slowly began to resolve. The bandage was removed and the leakage proved to have stopped. Over the next 2 weeks, Binx slowly resorbed all the air under his skin and eventually returned to normal.
Because of his fabulous recovery from this unusual situation, Binx is AHS’s feline Pet of the Month.
Bogey is a sweet 9-year-old Maltese. Bogey has been a very healthy dog his entire life. Bogey abruptly presented with diarrhea, discomfort and a distended abdomen. Bloodwork revealed a very low life- threatening protein and low cholesterol. When the blood protein gets low, it is unable to keep plasma in the blood circulation and fluid starts to leak into the large body cavities – such as abdomen and chest. Bogey had x-rays (or radiographs) and an abdominal ultrasound. Fluid was found to have leaked into both cavities. Extremely thickened intestines were also noted. Inflammatory bowel disease or lymphoma of the intestines was suspected. In these conditions, the intestines become thickened with either cancer cells or inflammatory cells. Inflammatory bowel disease is often related to an allergy to a component of the food the animal eats. For confirmation of Bogey’s disease, abdominal surgery and intestinal biopsies were needed. Bogey was a high-risk patient for surgery with his protein so low. The owner elected empirical treatment. Bogey was started on a prescription hypoallergenic diet and prednisone to reduce bowel inflammation. The fluids in Bogey’s body cavities quickly resolved but his protein did not rebound as quickly and his cholesterol remained low. With the lack of response, a condition known lymphangiectasia was suspected as a component of Bogey’s intestinal disease. This is where the lymph system in the intestines becomes obstructed and ruptures, losing protein and fat which leads to diarrhea and low protein. It can be seen in Maltese Terriers, as well. The treatment is prednisone and a very low-fat diet so that the lymph system, which absorbs fat from the diet, does not have to work as hard. Bogey was transitioned to a low-fat diet and his protein progressively improved and is no longer at dangerous levels. Bogey is currently being weaned off his prednisone and monitored. Bogey is a very unusual case and a very special little dog. That is why he is our AHS canine Pet of the Month.