Amara - Canine Pet of the Month, April 2020
Amara is a two-year old Great Dane who presented one evening last month with red and pink fleshy material from the rear end area. She had recently been rescued from her previous owners and her new owners were concerned. On closer inspection there were actually two separate areas causing her distress. The red, inflamed tissue was her colon that had prolapsed approximately 4 inches through her rectum. The second, more pink tissue, proved to be approximately 12 inches of her vagina that had prolapsed through her vulva. On further questioning of her owners the vaginal prolapse had apparently been present for at least two months, while the rectal prolapse was fairly new. Because both issues are caused by excessive straining, we had no way of knowing if she was straining with diarrhea causing the prolapses or if her vaginal prolapse occurred due to a heat cycle and straining with the everted vagina had caused the rectal issue. Either way they had to be surgically repaired. Amara was prepared for surgery and explored much like a routine spay operation with a much larger incision. Her rectum was massaged from the outside and pushed internally while the colon was retracted from the inside. Once the colon in place tacking sutures adhered it to the internal abdominal wall. Her ovaries were removed much like in a routine spay operation but her cervix and part of her uterus had telescoped (intussuscepted) into her vagina. Once again traction was placed on the tissue from the inside while lubrication and massage were performed from the outside. Over the period of approximately 10 minutes the vagina slowly was replaced into its normal position and then the uterus was removed. Sutures were temporarily placed around the rectum as well as the vulva to help keep the tissues in place. Her recovery from surgery went well and by the next day Amara was feeling much better and was eating well. The sutures were removed over the course of several days and soon she was back to herself again. Amara’s presentation was very unusual in that either type of prolapse is unusual but having both at the same time is unheard of. Because of the spirit that helped her pull through her situation, Amara is AHS’s canine pet of the month.
Pearl - Feline Pet of the Month, April 2020
Pearl is a sweet, petite 2-year-old cat with a very large problem. Not many of our patients get to be Pet of the Month twice, but this little girl, at 2, is already achieving that in her life.
When she was a kitten, she had a fractured pelvis and abscessed leg, but did amazing with healing and regained function of the leg they thought would have to be amputated. It wasn't until she was 2 years old that a new issue started to develop. On a routine exam, with no obvious symptoms at home, her colon felt a little "full", but not to an extreme. It seemed she was still able to pass stool and acting normal, so we wondered if it was acceptable for her and elected to monitor her. Unfortunately, about 2 months later, she returned for not eating well and weight loss. On examination, she had an extremely full and distended colon. There was so much stool that was so large and compacted, there would be no physical way for her to pass it on her own. It was difficult to tell that she was not defecating at home since her siblings kept the litterbox in business.
Though it was difficult and took an hour, we were able to sedate Pearl and work on softening and removing the stool to empty the colon. After the procedure, we tried changing her diet, separating her by herself so we knew her litterbox usage, adding a laxative and a colon stimulant. Unfortunately, in under 2 weeks, she still wasn't feeling well and was nearly back to where she was with severe blockage again. Her prognosis was questionable and we worried with how severe her colon was stretched and damaged, that she may have issues her whole life, even if she considered major surgery. Pearl's mom didn't want her to suffer with this problem, but wanted to give it another try, so we sedated her again to remove the stool, knowing we wouldn't be able to do this every 2 weeks for the rest of her life. After this visit, we tried changing and upping her laxative, changing dosing on her colon stimulant, and pushing harder on her management. And, it paid off! Pearl's mom has been very diligent with her food and medications, strict monitoring of her litterbox production, and has done a wonderful job getting her weight back up and her colon happily emptying for 3 months now!
Pearl had developed a case of Megacolon, likely secondary to her pelvic fracture when she was young. Some cats that have Megacolon issues never regain motility and function, but luckily, Pearl did! She will need to be monitored and maintained so this doesn't happen again due to her pelvis, but she is doing great!
Since she was such a wonderful example of a positive outcome of a secondary Megacolon case, Pearl earned herself another spot as the Animal Hospital of Statesville's feline Pet of the Month!