You can’t imagine what delight it brought us to see sweet Shiloh bounding into the clinic for his post-op check-up appointment… it’s days like this that we truly live for what we do as veterinary professionals.
This 4-year old male Bernese Mountain Dog was brought into the clinic by his concerned owner, Ken; he wasn’t acting like himself, and he had blood in his urine. Furthermore, he was vomiting and had lost interest in his food.
During his exam, Shiloh was experiencing a fever and was feeling discomfort around his belly and hind end. His blood pressure had dropped below normal levels, and his heart rate had increased. He was given sedation to help manage his pain, allowing us to run some more tests to gather the information we needed. We did find that he had fluid in his belly, so we collected a sample with a small needle for evaluation.
His owner reported that Shiloh had a disorder that affects his clotting ability, called Von Willebrand Disease. We collected a blood sample to send out to a special laboratory to check Shiloh’s clotting ability as well as to check for Von Willebrand Disease. This test takes several days to process, so in the meantime, we gave Shiloh a transfusion of plasma that had clotting factors to make Shiloh feel better, in case this was part of his medical condition.
The radiographs showed that Shiloh did have an intact bladder and there were no visual stones present. The fluid from his belly was evaluated and found to show an infection was present so Shiloh was put on several antibiotics. His blood work supported an infection being present as well as low red blood cell (anemia) present. Some of his liver values were also elevated. We also tested for pancreatitis, and it was positive.
Shiloh was receiving fluids, antibiotics and pain medication but was not improving. The next step was to have a specialist perform an ultrasound that allowed for more detailed imagery of his abdominal organs and health. The results revealed that Shiloh had a Splenic Torsion (which is a twisted spleen). This is a very serious condition, and treatment involves removing the spleen surgically. The spleen filters the blood and is a reservoir for blood storage. It is not a vital organ and pets can live without a spleen. When it twists it prevents proper blood flow through the spleen resulting in pain and swelling and the organ needs to be removed.
We collected blood from a blood donor and administered a blood transfusion to Shiloh prior to surgery to help with his anemia. During surgery we monitored Shiloh’s heart to make sure it was beating normally. We also gave him a medication that helps with pain and heart rhythm during surgery for supportive care. His blood pressure was stable, and the doctor was able to remove Shiloh’s enlarged spleen successfully. After the spleen was removed the doctor inspected his other organs before closing up his incision area and noticed that a part of the pancreas had also been affected by the twist, and so the unhealthy piece was removed.
Shiloh recovered well after his surgery and was able to go home with his family the following day. We stayed in close touch with his owner, and Shiloh progressively regained his appetite and energy level.
Needless to say, when Shiloh came cruising in the front doors of Sunrise Veterinary Clinic after his post-op – there were smiles and high fives all around! Thanks Ken for allowing us to share Shiloh's pawsitive recovery story.