German Shepherd needs surgery to catch his breath

yuengling-faceYuengling, a 7-year-old German Shepherd, had swelling along the left side of his tongue. The mass was so large that Yuengling was having difficulty breathing.

This is called a ranula, or a mucocele. It’s a large pocket of saliva often formed after trauma to a salivary gland. I performed surgery at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center and cut the pocket open and sutured the edges together.

But before I could close the incision, the thick, ropy saliva needed to be aspirated. You can see the mass and part of the surgery in the video below.

 

Jack Russell saved after he snacks on carpet

Sam faceSam is a 12-year-old Jack Russell, who had been vomiting and was lethargic for a few days. X-rays and an ultrasound revealed that he had swallowed a foreign body. There was a suspicion that he chewed pieces of carpet.

Carpet is really made of a very long string, so the risk was that Sam had eaten what is called a “linear” foreign body. Linear foreign bodies can be deadly if they cut into the intestine.

Sam was taken to surgery at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. Two foreign bodies could be felt: one in the stomach and one in the small intestine. You can watch the removal of the string from the stomach and the intestine below. The video does contain graphic footage of a surgical procedure, so you may want to skip it if you’re sensitive to that type of footage!

Although we expect puppies (and kittens) to eat things they shouldn’t, older pets should know better. Most of the time, when an adult swallows a foreign body I suspect there is an underlying medical condition. I always take biopsies of the stomach and the intestine during surgery to check. Sure enough, Sam’s biopsies revealed a common condition called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This disease can and should be treated to make him feel better and to hopefully prevent him from swallowing another foreign body.

Happily, Sam recovered nicely after surgery! Make sure to doggy proof your house to reduce the risk your pet will eat something dangerous. And if your dog or cat is vomiting, don’t wait! Take him to the vet to get it checked out.

Stomach removal picture

Removing the string from the stomach.

Intestine removal picture

Removing the string from the intestine.

Thick and thin intestine

The thin loop is normal, but the thick loop has IBD.

Postop strings

Here’s all the string Sam managed to eat.

Leia: the Havanese that can’t be kept down

Leia faceLeia is a 4 year-old female Havanese who just so happens to be cuter than a button.

She was experiencing back pain and right hind leg weakness, in spite of pain medication and cortisone. An MRI showed a slipped disc in the middle of her back, between T13 and L1.

Leia had spinal surgery at Berks Animal and Emergency Referral Center to remove the slipped disc. This is a delicate surgery, that can paralyze a dog, if only temporarily.

Leia did great! Just a few hours after surgery, she went outside for a little walk. Nothing is going to stop Leia!

Back pain can be treated with pain medications and a slipped disc can be treated with cortisone, but studies show that in 80% of cases, these dogs actually need spinal surgery.

Leia

The arrow is pointing at the slipped disc.

 

Fix your dog’s laryngeal paralysis with tie back surgery

Princess Matches on her royal couchMatches is a 13 year old female Cocker Spaniel who, as you can see, rules the home from her royal couch.

She previously had to have her left eye removed because of glaucoma, but she was referred to me because she had difficulty breathing. Her family vet diagnosed her with an unusual condition in a Cocker: laryngeal paralysis, or lar par.

This was very surprising. It’s a common condition in Labradors, but rare in other breeds such as Cockers.

Lar par is a stressful ailment where the two folds of the larynx (or voice box) do not open and close as the patient breathes in and out. The folds remain closed – paralyzed – and the patient literally suffocates. This can be fixed with “tie back” surgery, which involves placing 2 strands of heavy nylon to open the left side of the larynx.

It’s a delicate surgery, but typically successful as it opens the airway so that the patient can breathe. Matches recovered very nicely and quickly from surgery at Blairstown Animal Hospital in New Jersey. So far, she is doing great.

Below, you can see a preop and postop video of the larynx.

In the “before” section, don’t be fooled by the movement at the bottom of the folds! These  are the vocal cords, which do nothing for breathing. Look at the top of the folds, and you will see that they do not move, even when she tries to breathe in.

In the “after” portion, the left side of the throat (which appears on the right side of the screen!) is open to allow air from going in.

It’s very important for veterinary professionals to never assume! I was surprised to hear from my colleague that he had a Cocker with laryngeal paralysis, but sure enough, that’s what she had.

 

 

Inside-out intestine sends Shar Pei into emergency surgery

Link faceLink is an eight year old male Shar Pei who had an emergency surgery because of intussusception of the small intestine.

Intussusception is a weird disease of the intestine where one bowel loop squeezes inside another, like a sock or a telescope. The inner portion then slowly “dies.”

Younger dogs tend to have an intussusception because of parasites, parvovirus, or foreign bodies. Older dogs usually develop intussusception if they have intestinal cancer. Sure enough, Link’s ultrasound was suggested the worst. In spite of the odds, Link’s owners elected surgery.

One week later, the biopsy revealed that Link did have a tumor in the intussusception, but it was benign leiomyoma! Below, you can see the part of the intestine that was removed.

Three weeks after surgery, Link’s guardians say he is “Doing fabulous. Mom can’t keep him from jumping. He is eating well, has no more vomiting and his skin incision healing well.”Intussusception_