Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kayla's Emergency Vet Surgery

I've had so many things I've been wanting to blog about but this was not one of them :(
Yesterday, Friday (the 13th....but who pays attention to that!) Kayla went to the vet for a routine check-up/vaccines and ended up on the surgical table for a spleen-ectomy. She is home now, one day later but is still very week from blood loss. We are giving here plenty of rest, pain meds and major amounts of TLC!!! The photo above was taken with my iphone right before they whisked her away for a blood transfusion, chest x-ray and surgery. My heart was in my feet for she is old (13 1/2) the vet had a grim outlook and we had decided that if during surgery there was indication of cancer we would not bring her back out of it. I had to say my goodbyes in this sterile room by myself...just in case she didn't return to us. Heart-wrenching to say the least.
But, I'm thrilled to say she did come out of it and if you want to know more details leading up to the surgery, you can read all the details below.
I had noticed for about a week she wasn't herself but she's old, has bad hips and a few other minor issues that come with age so I was concerned but not enough to make a special trip to the vet. I had made her an appt about a week prior (just coincidence) for yesterday (Friday) at 4 for her yearly checkup and shots. Despite seeming a bit under the weather for a week, yesterday(Friday) she was acting stranger than usual when she woke up. I told G she seemed to be acting like she was drunk..really wobbly and wouldn't eat. Rewind to a couple of nights prior she seemed restless in the night so I let her lie on the deck for awhile to cool off. Upon coming in she seemed to lose her footing going up the stairs and was limping a bit the next day. She has terrible arthritis so this is not unusual for her to have days of more pain in her hips so I figured she was just down because of that. I gave her some pain meds on Thursday and she seemed to get better. Back to yesterday morning, I just decided that I would keep an eye on her since she already had an appt set for 4 pm I would mention her behavior to the vet, then.
When I got there they asked how she was doing and I, nonchalantly told them she had been acting lethargic all day. Katie, the tech took one look at her gums saw they were pure white and she said "Ooh, this is a problem, she's bleeding out somewhere". Gulp! She told Dr C and they whisked her into the back to do an ultrasound of her belly. I felt so bad that I didn't take her in earlier in the day :( Long story short he said there was a large mass on her spleen and part of it had ruptured causing blood loss and she was in shock. He said there was a good chance the mass could be malignant but he wouldn't know unless he went in, surgically. He also said it could be as simple as a hematoma(large bruise) but since he is not an x-ray technician and we would be hard pressed to find one nearby that hasn't gone home for the night, he just couldn't be sure. He said there were a few options but none were very good.
1. Euthanize her.
2.Take her home and keep her comfortable until she dies which could be that night or in a week, no way to know for sure.
3. Do a chest x-ray to see if the cancer has spread the lungs and if so, then no point in doing surgery. If lungs are clear, go in and take a look at her spleen. He said he would know right away if there was a problem because there would be lesions everywhere in her abdomen, liver etc. and if that was the case he would not revive her, but if it was localized to her spleen he would just remove her spleen and bring her back to recover.
I was unable to make the decision so I called G at work and handed my phone to the Dr C so he could explain it all again to G who is always more level-headed when it comes to making heart-wrenching decisions like these.
He chose option 3. He simply said he couldn't euthanize Kayla based on what 'might' be cancer and unless he knew for sure he couldn't live with that decision.
I was given some time alone with her to say my goodbyes and take her picture. Then I went home to wait. Dr C held off putting her under anesthesia until G could get there and see her before surgery. Have I mentioned how much I love my vet and his assistant? They are the best and have known Kayla since she was 8 weeks old!
He started with a blood transfusion (from blood donated by one of Dr C's dogs!) Chest x-ray was clear so he proceeded with surgery. We sat at home and waited.....absolutely nerve-wracking! Would we see Kayla again or would she journey to Rainbow Bridge...
We finally got the call and the vet said she was coming out of anesthesia. Other than the masses on her spleen (the small one had ruptured but the large one hadn't yet), he didn't see anything else so he just removed her spleen and said she could come home the next day.
He will still send her spleen off to have it biopsied just so we will know what to expect as far as her health in the coming months but for now, we get to take her home and spoil her for a while longer :) Updates to follow!


Carol said...

Oh Chris, oh oh Chris, my heart was beating so loudly reading this. You poor thing what you were going through, I say that as I look at my old girl here and know I would have made the same decision. Something, anything is better than a possibility.

Kayla looks positively miserable and I'm so glad that that is not the last photograph you'll take of your dear sweet girl.

She's got a fighting spirit much like her human mum! ;-) Positive thoughts for all of you.

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