As the holiday season approaches, thoughts of pumpkin pies, gingerbread houses and sugar plum ferries occupy a lot of our free time. I’ve heard many people joke about going into a diabetic coma after taking in too much sugar. You may not realize that, although it’s not quite as straightforward as that, our canine and feline family members too can have serious consequences from an imbalance in blood sugar levels.
As the fall sets in, I always feel that I really want to eat more. The colder weather means we are inside, closer to the kitchen. I find I’m baking more and thinking about desserts for upcoming holidays. As we eat more, and spend more time in the kitchen, our furry companions tend to join us and they know just how to meet our eyes, do tricks and convince us, that they too need a little extra something yummy.
Zoonotic diseases are defined as those that can pass between humans and animals (domestic or wildlife). Intestinal parasites are extremely prevalent in the pet population, and therefore pet owners as well as the general public, can be at risk for infection.
Andy, an eleven-year old Labrador retriever, was brought to ACCES after vomiting and having diarrhea for four days. Andy’s owners indicated he had stopped eating the day before and had dark stools. The morning he was brought to ACCES he had severe, blood diarrhea. At ACCES, he was found to be weak, dehydrated, and very anemic. An increased dose of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for a painful hip had recently been prescribed, and it was presumed that it had led to a bleeding ulcer.
Scratch, a six-year-old cat, transferred to ACCES for surgical removal of an obstructing gallstone. He had initially been seen by his regular veterinarian for lethargy, lack of appetite, and heavy breathing. They did an ultrasound, which showed that a gallstone was blocking the bile duct and his gallbladder was quite distended. Scratch also had an enlarged liver, which can sometimes occur with a blocked bile duct or when a cat has not been eating for longer periods of time. ACCES’ board-certified surgeon removed the gallbladder and a biopsy of the liver was taken.
Rosie, a six-month old Boston Terrier, was fine one morning, but when her owner came home, Rosie was found to have very pale gums and a distended abdomen. She was taken to her regular veterinarian who took radiographs, which were concerning for a dangerous hernia. Upon presentation to ACCES, Rosie was in shock so she was given fluids, her stomach was decompressed, and she was taken to surgery. A congenital hiatal hernia was found with part of her stomach stuck in her chest. The stomach was placed into proper position and the hernia was repaired.
Pooka, a four-year old cat, was brought to ACCES for trouble breathing and a decreased appetite. Upon exam, she was found to be weak and pale. Blood work revealed that she was pancytopenic, meaning her red and white blood cells and her platelets were low. Pancytopenia occurs when the activity of the bone marrow is suppressed due to a toxin, disease process, or virus. Pooka’s struggle to breath and her weakness were a result of the anemia (low number of red blood cells).
Oly, a six-year old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, was brought to ACCES after several days of lethargy. On presentation, he was drooling, inappetant, had abdominal pain and was weak. Radiographs and an ultrasound were performed which showed that his spleen had twisted upon itself. Splenic torsion can occur in some large breed or barrel-chested dogs. This condition is a life-threatening emergency. Oly was taken to surgery by an ACCES Emergency Veterinarian, where it was found that his spleen had rotated 720 degrees and much of his omentum had torn.
Mime, a retired ACCES blood donor, presented to ACCES for decreased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Radiographs revealed a metallic object in the stomach, which was removed via endoscopy. The object was a corroded 1988 penny, containing zinc which can be toxic. Late stage zinc toxicity can cause destruction of red blood cells and anemia. Mime was discharged with stomach protectants and instructed to return if he continued to have diarrhea, vomiting, or inappetance.
Meatball was diagnosed with pure red cell aplasiain late November 2009. Pure red cell aplasia is an anemiacaused by a rare disorder in which red blood cells do not mature in the bone marrow. He was treated with two packed red blood cell transfusions, a steroid, and an immunosuppressant and had a good recovery. After several months on these medications they were tapered and he continued to do very well.