Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dental surgery = use the bloody dental radiograph machine!

I have given myself a couple of weeks before sitting down to write this particular blog; however, from the title, you may sense that I am still pretty frustrated. This whole thing could have been avoided and the dog would not have been in pain.
So here is a picture of the poor dog. It doesn't take much imagination to see there is a swelling on the side of its face. As well, the dog had ALREADY had dental surgery to remove tooth 208 (the big carnaissal tooth) to help with the swelling. Hmmmmmmmm. The owner had taken the dog back to the original vet concerned because the swelling hadn't gotten any better post-surgery. This person said it would take time to go down so the owner came to see me for a second opinion.

I was able to get a copy of the medical records and no where did it say that the dental radiograph machine had been used or that bloodwork had been performed on this senior dog. Needless to say, we did bloodwork (normal) and radiographs to see what was waiting for us as this tooth has three roots. Gee, that looks like a root to me! Brought out my drill and got it (and some pretty gross abcess material) out in short order.

The next radiograph showed..... the blue arrow pointing at the second root that was left behind (that means the vet only took out one root of three). The red arrow shows a tooth root abcess starting in the tooth in front so it had to be extracted as well.

After taking a final radiograph to make absolute sure there was nothing left, we sutured her up and let her have a well deserved, pain free nap!

So folks, should your dog or cat need to have dental surgery, make sure the facility has the ability to take radiographs so this sort of thing does not happen. Thank you for putting up with my rant!!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Quality of Life

I was having a fairly routine afternoon of annual physical exams, vaccines, ear infections when I entered Toby's room. This sweet gentleman of a dog was a dream to work with. His Mom told me that he'd been having some issues with his hind end and his right hip tended to bother him the most. Toby was certainly uncomfortable when I palpated his right hip but all he did was give me a look of "well, if you have to". At that point I was simply thinking he had arthritis.

It wasn't until I checked his proprioception in his legs that I started to get quite concerned. When we check for proprioception, what we are actually doing is checking to see if the animal knows where their legs are in space. It is a very easy test in that all we have to do is turn the foot upside down and wait to see how long it takes them to right it. A dog with normal reflexes won't even want you to do that. Toby didn't move his right hind limb until I moved it back to normal for him.

In this picture, Cardinal is my foot model and he is demonstrating the upside look with his foot.

Now, it isn't common for our dogs to get proprioceptive deficits from hip dysplasia. I've only ever seen it twice in my past thirteen years of practice. Generally, there is something else going on. I proceeded to do a rectal exam. Its not the glamorous part of my job, but important. I was not expecting to feel a mass the size of a very large kiwi on the right side of the pelvis!!! The poor boy has cancer that is putting pressure on his nerves.

Our main goal is to make sure we can make him comfortable in the time he has left with his Mom. Quality of life is something that both his Mom and I agreed on immediately. Due to his age, he is not a good candidate for the invasive surgery and chemo that would be required to buy him some extra time.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Barking mad can be good!

I have gotten into the habit of leaving my patio door open at night for a couple of reasons. One is that my five year old yellow Lab, Cardinal, likes to go scope things out at odd times and won't hesitate to get me up to open the door. The other is that my 14 year old black Lab, Reason, is a senior who needs to go out on an irregular basis.

Last night, I got everyone settled in for the night and we all fell asleep. That is until I leaped out of bed because Cardinal was making such a ruckus outside. I was sure that someone had attempted to get in and he now had them cornered. I ran to the back door to find a very satisfied looking Cardinal standing beside Reason. Apparently she needed help getting up the patio stairs in the dark. The moment I got her back inside, he raced up and took my place on the bed.

Not going to lie, I was pretty proud of Cardinal getting me up to help Reason, but it did take some time for my heart rate to go back to normal so I could get back to sleep!