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Turtle Mountain Veterinary Service
This is the story of Maggie. Maggie is a spayed female Golden Retriever born in 2002. She is owned by Doug & Deb Milbrath of Bottineau.
Maggie came to visit Dr. Jill and the staff of Turtle Mountain Veterinary Service at the beginning of February 2011. Maggie came in because she hadn't been feeling well for the previous week. Maggie had not been eating and was lethargic. Maggie was so sick that Maggie's dad had to carry her into the vet clinic because she was unable to walk.
When Maggie came to see us, she was still an intact female and had been in heat about 1 month prior to her illness. Her physical exam revealed a very depressed dog. She was running a fever and had a vaginal discharge. Dr. Jill suspected that Maggie had a pyometra, or uterus full of pus. A pyometra is a severe infection of the uterus. Pyometras are not uncommon in older, intact female dogs and are the result of hormone imbalances and bacterial infection. Pyometras will result in systemic illness in the dog and eventual death, if left untreated. To confirm the pyometra, we needed to take x-rays of Maggie's abdomen. Maggie was soon on the x-ray table and the pyometra was confirmed.
Dr. Jill then explained to Maggie's owner the seriousness of her condition. Maggie needed immediate surgery to remove the infected uterus from her abdomen. This surgery carried tremendous risk and expense, and the post-operative recovery period could be long and very tough as well. Despite the risk and cost, Maggie's owners agreed to have the surgery performed.
Dr. Jill and staff first got an IV started on Maggie and she was given fluids and antibiotics. Maggie had some blood work run to be sure that her organs were still functioning okay. The bloodwork showed that Maggie had a high white blood cell count from the infection and slightly low blood proteins, but her organ function was good. This was a good thing because it meant she was more likely to survive surgery.
Dr. Jill performed the pyometra surgery on Maggie, which involved entering the abdomen and removing the uterus and ovaries. This surgery must be performed with great care. Any leaking from the infected uterus into the abdomen could be very dangerous. Dr. Jill was able to remove the uterus without complication and Maggie recovered from anesthesia with flying colors. Maggie was hospitalized and given fluids, pain medications and antibiotics. Both Dr. Jill and Maggie's owners knew that the next few days would be the hardest and everyone hoped that Maggie would do well.
The next day, Maggie was able to get up on her own but was very weak. She was also depressed and not interested in eating. Dr. Jill decided to continue the care and give Maggie more time. Over the next couple of days, Maggie did not improve much. Bloodwork showed that her blood protein levels had dropped dangerously low in the days after surgery. Maggie was now retaining fluid because of the low blood protein levels. Dr. Jill gave Maggie some IV medication to try and combat the fluid retention. She explained to the owner's that the outlook wasn't good if Maggie didn't start eating and if her blood protein levels didn't start increasing. It was the weekend and Maggie's owners decided to give her through the weekend to see if she would improve.
Lo and behold, Maggie did start to improve little by little through the weekend. She was gaining more strength and was much brighter. She was starting to retain less fluid as well. When Maggie was consistently wagging her tail when someone entered the kennel, Dr. Jill knew that Maggie had turned the corner. By Monday, Maggie was well enough to go home. She was still somewhat weak and not eating the best, but Dr. Jill felt that her owner's could provide her care. Maggie continued to improve at home and made a full recovery.
Maggie is now doing well. She is happily living with her 2-legged and 4-legged Milbrath family. Maggie was gravely ill and overcame the odds. Hats off to Maggie and her loving family for providing her the care she needed.