Have a Question? Click on "Ask the Vet"

June 17, 2009

Canine C-section

Meet Bailey. She is a 4 year old Blue Heeler. She is a miracle dog. About 3 weeks ago she was involved in an accident with a 4-wheeler and presented to us with paralysis of her hind legs. She was unable to move her legs and could feel no pain when we pinched her toes. We referred her on to WSU-CVM for possible surgery on her back. However, a few hours later, she was able to use her hind legs and proceeded to return to normal over the course of a few days. We have no answer as to her miraculous recovery, and neither does the veterinary college.

But that is not why Bailey is here today. Bailey has been in active labor for approximately 12 hrs now and has produced no puppies. It is time to make a decision. Considering the last time she whelped she had to have a c-section, the decision to cut again is unanimous. An ultrasound done at the veterinary college showed that the pups were doing well. We don't want to lose them by waiting longer.

Bailey was hooked to an EKG machine so she could be monitored for the duration of the procedure, anesthetized, and prepped for surgery. A dog's EKG looks similar to the picture you always see of a human pattern. The pattern you see in the above picture looks a little different because we are using an esophageal probe and not clip-on leads to measure the EKG. The dips in the pattern correspond with her respiration.

Bailey is covered with a sterile drape and an incision is made into the abdomen.

Bailey's owner has elected to go ahead and have her spayed during the process. You can see both horns of the uterus above --one puppy is in each horn. There can be many puppies in each horn, but Bailey only has two this time. The uterus with the puppies inside is clamped off and removed and the puppies are quickly taken out of the uterus.

The pups are cleaned up, evaluated, and stimulated to encourage breathing. They are a little sleepy because the anesthesia given to Bailey is also effecting them.

Bailey's abdomen is closed as quickly as possible so Bailey can begin to take care of her new family.

The pups get weighed-13oz each-- big girls! These are not small puppies, no wonder Baily was having troubles.

Within 10 minutes after being removed from the surgery table Bailey is sitting up proudly showing off her girls. All's well that ends well.

(All photos courtesy of J. Meek)

June 05, 2009

Tick Season is Upon Us

Tick season is in full swing on the Palouse. If you live in an area with lots of brush or tall grass, or you have visited such a place, you already know that. We have seen quite a few ticks at the clinic and have been dispensing tick products like crazy. So, why would you want to spend good, hard earned money on a tick product when you can remove the ticks yourself? Well, because it is summer and you are busy. You have good intentions to check your dogs and cats for ticks, but life just gets in the way.

Why is tick control important? Because ticks can cause systemic and localized diseases in your pet. If a tick is allowed to attach to a pet or person, at the very least a localized infection can occur, and at the very worst, systemic diseases such as Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, or Tick Paralysis could be the result. By controlling ticks on our pets, we can help to keep ticks out of our homes and off ourselves as well (good hygiene is still important ;). Here is a {good link} from Washington State Department of Health to find out about the health aspects of tick bites in humans. Much of what they have to say is applicable to dogs as well.

We recommend Frontline Topspot for ticks. We don't have a flea problem in most of our county, so Frontline Plus is not really needed. We like the ease of application, the quality of protection, and the price. You can find a coupon for Frontline on their website linked above.

Here is another {good link} from Cornell University that talks about tick species, life cycle, and behavior. The common ticks that we have around here are the American Dog Tick and the Brown Dog Tick. We occasionally get a Spinous Ear Tick found mostly down by the Snake River. When we get another one in, I will be sure to get a picture to show you. They sound scary, but are just mostly interesting (unless you have it in your ear!).

So why does it seem that dogs get more ticks than cats? I think the main reason is that most cats are fastidious groomers, so they would likely remove a tick before it has a chance to get attached. But, it does happen--cats can have ticks -- so be sure and check your cats for ticks as well.