Acupuncture is a technique that allows the practitioner to interface with the nervous system and tap into the body’s own mechanisms for modulating main perception, inflammation, endocrine and metabolic functions as well as healing. This complementary therapy is used to treat pain and other conditions in humans and animals. Dr. Monaco integrates traditional and non-traditional approaches to medicine to provide high quality evidence based veterinary care.
Acupuncture is administered by strategically placing very thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body, commonly referred to as “meridians.” There are 150 main acupuncture points on the animal that serve to treat different illnesses and ailments. By stimulating these points the doctor can alleviate a host of health-related conditions in your pet.
The body naturally makes its own narcotics to manage pain sensation. Acupuncture works by changing the way that the brain perceives pain signals, by discharging pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters in to the body. Neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins modify and lessen pain felt by patients.
There are 150 Acupuncture points on the animal that serve to on the animal that serve to treat different illnesses and ailments.
Veterinarians use this therapy in conjunction with modern medicine to help decrease inflammation in their patients, promote healing, stimulate neuro retraining, and break chronic pain cycles. Clinical studies that have been conducted show progressive results in both human and animal trials.
According to research conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center” The practice of acupuncture blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of blood hormones and peptides secreted by the sympathetic nervous system.”
The hair-like needles used in acupuncture are so tiny that they activate different nerve receptors than those triggered by painful stimuli. These needles are designed not to cause tissue trauma but rather go between tissue fibers to elicit nerve responses. A licensed veterinarian, who has completed formal training in the practice of veterinary acupuncture, is the best person to recognize and properly diagnose an animal’s health related problems to determine if the pet will benefit from the treatment.
These needles are designed not to cause tissue trauma but rather go between tissue fibers to elicit nerve responses.
Acupuncture can be beneficial for neurologic and pain conditions as well as sports injuries in agility dogs. Pets that experience muscle and or joint pain should be seen to discuss a trial round of acupuncture with a veterinary acupuncturist. If your pet is currently undergoing chemo therapy for cancer or post-operative rehabilitation you should talk to your veterinarian about beginning an acupuncture regimen as it will aid in the speed of the recovery process.
Acupuncture session times vary depending on the animal’s specific needs. First time sessions are scheduled for 60 minutes while subsequent sessions are between 20 -30 minutes. As certain points on the body that produce a calming effect on the patient, after your session, it is not uncommon for your pet to sleep for several hours after returning home. Pain relief from acupuncture can take place as quickly as 20 minutes to a few hours or days depending on your pet’s response to treatment.
Pets that experience muscle and or joint pain should be seen to discuss a trial round of acupuncture with a veterinary acupuncturist
There are three types of acupuncture that we may choose to administer to your cat or dog.
Traditional: The needles are strategically placed into the skin at named acupuncture points.
Electro-acupuncture: Electrodes are hooked onto the needles and low levels of electricity are slowly released to help stimulate nerves an increase neurotransmitter release.
Dry Needling: Needles are placed into muscle bellies where there is increased tension or knots
To determine how your pet will respond to acupuncture, we ask that you commit to an initial three visit trial period performed on a flexible schedule. Acupuncture therapy can provide relief of a wide variety of ailments, the list below provides examples of some conditions commonly treated.
1.Neurological disorders including paralysis, seizures, and anxiety.
2.Musculoskeletal problems including, arthritis, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), sports injury, hip dysplasia, and generalized pain.
4.Skin conditions and allergies.
5.Gastrointestinal problems such as IBD, motility disorders, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and appetite stimulation.
6.Post-operative healing and pain relief.
7.Urogenital problems including incontinence and reproductive dysfunction.
We’re excited to introduce Jennifer, our latest D.V.M extern at Craig Road Animal Hospital. Growing up in Sacramento, California, Jennifer had a wide variety of pets, including birds, bunnies, rats, fish, cats, and dogs. “I’ve always wanted to be a vet, I took a nontraditional route experimenting with engineering but ultimately I came back to my love of animals.”
Jennifer completed her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Biology at The University of California, Davis. Jennifer is currently attending Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona where she is pursuing her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.
Jennifer has an active interest in “ One Health Initiative,” this organization is a coalition dedicated to the health of humans, animals, and the environment. She currently serves as President of Midwestern University’s One Health Initiative Club.
Jennifer expects to learn as much as possible, complete more “Hands on training” and come away with unique experiences from Craig Road Animal Hospital’s Externship Program. She’s most excited for the diversity of career opportunities that becoming a veterinarian will afford her.
Although she doesn’t currently have pets, her parents still care for their 13- year-old golden retriever named Gabby. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys spending lots of time outdoors. She most enjoys activities such as hiking, golfing, soccer and recently learned Argentine tango dancing.
Craig Road Animal Hospital welcomes Andrea, our newest D.V.M. extern. Andrea comes to us from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Andrea’s love for animal’s dates to her childhood. Growing up she owned two golden retrievers, rabbits and various birds.
She loved working with animals so much that she volunteered with the humane society at the age of ten. “Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always loved animals and when I realized that I could be both a doctor and work with animals I decided that’s where I want to be.” After four years of volunteering, she began her first job at an animal hospital as a kennel attendant. She worked her way up and soon became an exam room assistant, taking x-rays, drawing blood and getting more actively involved in the hospital.
Andrea obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Coastal Carolina University in the spring of 2013. She is currently pursuing her D.V.M. degree at the University of Georgia. Working in general practice to treat larger animals is her goal, “I want to be able to treat whatever comes through the door.”
Andrea’s hobbies include hiking and going to the beach, her favorite activity is water skiing. She wants to work in emergency medicine as she feels that type of setting will help keep her skills sharp and make her a better doctor in the future. She believes that by being able to think on her feet and problem solve she’ll be better prepared to handle situations that arise in the hospital.
Here at Craig Road Animal Hospital our goal is to provide great pets with great care. In order to serve you more efficiently we have upgraded our online services to include:
* Access to a new, easier to use, Pet Portal.
* Ability to schedule appointments online in real time.
* Mobile access through the MyPetsWellness app.
Pet Portal and Online Scheduling:
The online pet portal allows you to have quick and easy access to see upcoming appointments, upcoming reminders and lets you request refills for prescriptions.
In addition, you have the ability to schedule appointments online, in real time, through the pet portal. Utilizing our online scheduling allows you to schedule your pet(s) next visit with us no matter what time of day it is and see actual availability of your pet’s doctor.
That is right, you can book an appointment for your pet(s) without having to pick up the phone!
To access your record online or schedule an appointment online:
MyPetsWellness Mobile App:
MyPetsWellness, is now available in the App Store for iOS devices and in the Google Play store for Android devices. The app gives you access to all of your vital pet health information at any time, from anywhere. You’ll be able to see each pet’s upcoming appointments, vaccine reminders, and prescriptions. You can even book an appointment, request boarding for your pet, or refill a prescription. And you can upload your favorite pet photos.
To view the Android version of the app, click here.
Or, from either the App Store or Google Play store, simply search “MyPetsWellness” and you should find it.
The username and password for the MyPetsWellness app is the same one you use for your online pet portal. If you have been using our existing pet portal please switch over to the new system as the old system will be going away soon.
If you would like to see a little more about our new system you can watch our video below.
We hope you enjoy these new tools and find them useful. If you have any questions you can, of course, call us on 702 645 0331, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org , or ask any of our staff next time you are in the hospital.
Rikki joins the team at Craig Road Animal Hospital as part of our extern program. Currently, Rikki is pursuing her D.V.M. degree at Colorado State but her journey to becoming a veterinarian started here in her hometown of Las Vegas, NV.
At first, Rikki was torn between caring for humans or animals, “I was really interested in the science of medicine, but when I was shadowing doctors in hospitals it never really clicked with me that this is what I want to do.” A few weeks later, she had visited an animal hospital for a tour and immediately realized that veterinary medicine was what she had been looking for all along.
Rikki aspires to gain more experience with surgery and emergencies as she shadows Dr. Koenitzer during her externship. While at Craig Road, she is most excited to see her book learning turn in to hands on practice. Ultimately, she would like to gain the experience in order to care for large breeds and exotic animals.
Throughout her life Rikki had plenty of pets to care for ranging from ferrets and snakes to common household pets like gerbils and dogs. However, she now focuses her efforts on her only pet, a Siberian-Husky named Jade. In her spare time Rikki enjoys hiking, golfing, climbing, and pretty much everything involving the outdoors, she says she plans on making sure to visit Mt. Charleston during her externship.
We’re excited to introduce Elspeth, our newest D.V.M. extern at Craig Road Animal Hospital! In her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, Elspeth always had a love for animals, she says, “When I think about why I went into this profession, I just thought to myself ‘What made me happy as a kid?’, right away I knew the answer to that question was animals.” But Elspeth’s story doesn’t begin with animal welfare. In fact, she attended Williams College in Massachusetts pursuing a career as a lawyer, but after working for a law practice, she soon realized that pursuing a ‘life of arguing’ was not for her.
Elspeth had later returned to school at Cleveland State to finish two years of science courses, but now attends Ohio State as she works to finish her D.V.M. degree. Now, her ultimate goal is to gain experience from all the different facets of veterinary medicine through her externships and use that experience as a series of stepping stones to becoming a veterinarian. As far as her specific interests, she enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine which allow her to be hands on with patients.
“It’s a challenging profession that really keeps you on your toes and your always learning new things which is what I’m attracted to the most.”
Elspeth’s personal interests include traveling, the outdoors, yoga, and rock climbing. She says she’s making sure to visit Red Rock National Park before the end of her externship at Craig Road. Elspeth lived in Taiwan for a year but that didn’t stop her from caring about the welfare of other animals. On her way back to the states she brought ‘Betty’, a native Taiwanese dog she found wondering on the streets.
With the continuing dog flu outbreak in multiple states, dog owners are concerned about what they can do to mitigate the risk posed to their pets. To date, over two thousand dogs have become sick with the highly contagious Canine Influenza virus and at least six have died.
Currently there are two known strains of canine influenza, also known as The Dog Flu, which have now been identified in the United States. The original influenza virus identified in 2004 and was typed as H3N8. Dogs involved the most recent outbreak were originally thought to have H3N8, but testing identified a new subtype, H3N2.
Strains of canine influenza often cause a loss of appetite, fever, coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy. About 50-80% of infected dogs have symptoms of mild kennel cough, this includes sneezing, a runny nose, eye discharge, and a cough-like sound made by some dogs, especially small ones, which is called a reverse sneeze. What’s more worrisome is that some dogs who are exposed to the virus never actually develop symptoms but can still infect others.
The typical recovery period for dogs is like a mild form of kennel cough; between 10 to 30 days after symptoms develop. Dogs with an acute form rapidly fall ill within 4 – 6 hours and have fevers which run between 104 to 106 degrees. Currently, there isn’t any evidence that canine influenza is contagious to humans. However, the H3N2 form could potentially be transmitted to cats.
If you suspect your dog of having canine influenza, make sure to remove them from any dog related activities. Isolation is the only way to make sure the virus isn’t spread to other pets. Mild cases are treated with cough suppressants, rest, and supportive care. If a secondary bacterial infection is suspected, antibiotics are used to mitigate the contamination. However, severe cases may require hospitalization, IV fluids, and oxygen support.
Just this year, the dog influenza virus was spotted in California for the first time. Pet owners in Las Vegas can have the “it doesn’t happen here” mentality. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and think we live in a bubble void of infectious diseases for our pets. Unfortunately, all it takes is one dog infected with canine influenza to bring the virus to an area. It is not a case of if there will be an outbreak of canine influenza in Las Vegas, but when.
The good news is that now there is now a vaccine for both H3N8 & H3N2 strains of canine influenza. This immunization should be considered for dogs who visit dog shows, grooming salons, boarding facilities, doggie day care, or those that participate in group dog activities. It is also recommended for dogs who are considered ‘at risk’. These include puppies, aging dogs, and those who are known to have a weak resilience to infections.
Outbreaks of dog flu occur when the virus infects naïve dogs. A naïve dog is one who hasn’t ever been exposed to the virus, or that hasn’t been vaccinated against virus. By vaccinating more dogs in our area for canine influenza, we can in essence “protect the herd”.
There are a few other common sense tips to prevent your dog from acquiring dog flu, these include: washing your hands after petting or contacting other dogs, avoiding contact with unknown dogs, and avoiding shared water bowls or items in public areas.
There is always some inherent risk of infectious disease in any group dog activity. By participating in these activities you offer your dog the benefits of physical exercise, mental stimulation, confidence, and decrease their boredom as well as their destructive behaviors. Therefore, there is little basis for limiting your dog’s activities unless an outbreak is reported in your area.
Vaccination for canine influenza doesn’t prevent dogs from becoming infected, but rather decreases the severity and duration of illness. The immunization also causes an infected dog to shed less virus that could infect other dogs.
Starting in January 2017 at Craig Road Animal Hospital we will start recommending that dogs are who are boarding are vaccinated for both strains of canine influenza. On June 1st, 2017, it will become mandatory for all boarding dogs to be vaccinated for both strains for the protection of all boarding pets as well as our patients. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult your veterinarian.
November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Like most diseases, the earlier it is detected and treated, the better chances of a positive outcome. Here’s an infographic we’ve put together of the things every pet owner should know.
Nalu, a Labrador Retriever Mix, came in to Craig Road Animal Hospital after a weekend camping trip with his owners. Nalu was vomiting and did not want to eat. Dr. Courtney Daniels suspected that Nalu had eaten something that he shouldn’t have, in other words, a foreign body.
According to Dr. Daniels, the symptoms that a pet has ingested foreign body can vary widely, “From nothing early on to vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and pain.” Dr. Daniels continues, “Sometimes the foreign body doesn’t cause symptoms related to an obstruction, but more from the toxins leeching from the object itself. For example, an animal could eat a penny and all the owner notices at first is the dog’s gums and whites of the eyes turning yellow as a result of the toxins from the penny being absorbed.”
Dr. Courtney Daniels & Blaze
When the owner of Blaze, a Pitbull Terrier Mix, noticed that half of his belt missing he quickly brought him to Craig Road Animal Hospital before any symptoms could occur. With foreign bodies, the prognosis worsens when symptoms start.
X-Ray of Nalu with apparent foreign material.
Pieces of belt visible in Blaze’s X-Ray
To find the foreign bodies, Dr. Daniels decided to take X-Rays of both Nalu and Blaze. Radiographs (X-Rays) are a way of looking at structures inside of our pets’ bodies. After reviewing the X-Rays, foreign material was found in both patients. In Nalu, there was an intestinal blockage and a stomach full of foreign material was noted in blaze. Also known as a bowel obstruction, or blocked bowel, an intestinal blockage is often caused by a pet swallowing something they shouldn’t have.
Dr. Daniels retrieving foreign bodies from Blaze.
Things like rocks aren’t something you’d normally associate with being appetizing, but for Nalu this turned out to be the case. There are several reasons why dogs would exhibit this behavior, but one of the most common ones is simply boredom. It’s also possible for dogs to be lacking certain nutrients, which can lead to them trying to find these nutrients by eating non-food items. If your dog exhibits this behavior you can try things like rotating chew toys every few days to keep your dog occupied and entertained.
Gravel removed from Nalu during surgery.
Foreign material removed from Blaze.
The effect of a foreign body in the digestive tract can prove devastating to the body. The pressure of the foreign body against the intestinal wall can result in poor blood circulation to the tissues which can cause the necrosis (dying off) of those tissues. Eventually, the intestinal wall may break down and even perforate. Once this occurs, the contaminated intestinal contents leak into the abdomen. In addition to being extremely painful, this results in peritonitis (infection of the abdominal space) and sepsis (infection of the blood stream).
Blaze feeling relieved after surgery.
Fortunately for Nalu and Blaze, after exploratory procedures were preformed and a couple of days of hospitalization, both came out of these worrisome situations feeling happy and healthy. A week or so after the foreign bodies were removed, Nalu and Blaze returned to have their sutures taken out with Dr. Daniels. We’re happy to report both of these pups made a full recovery.
It’s our pleasure to introduce the newest DVM extern at Craig Road, Jennifer! Growing up in Boca Raton, Florida, Jennifer knew at an early age what it meant to take care of our four legged friends. “Whether it’s now or when I was a kid, the welfare of other animals is something that I’ve always been interested in.” After researching the profession, Veterinary medicine offered Jennifer a challenge that she couldn’t refuse.
During her time at Craig Road, Jennifer looks forward to gaining hands on experience and becoming comfortable with the pace of a busy hospital. Jennifer is currently in the process of pursuing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Ross University after completing her clinical study at Louisiana State University.
Jennifer found out about Craig Road’s externship program from Dr. Ashman during her previous externship in Thailand. Currently, Jennifer has experience with small animal practices and shelter medicine because of her travels, but plans to become more familiar with ultrasound during her externship.
In her spare time Jennifer enjoys all aspects of the outdoors from boating, to fishing, bonfires, and even four-wheeling. At home Jennifer has two cats, Tigger and Mambo, as well as three dogs; Mo, Max, and Cruise.
We’re excited to introduce Morgan, our newest DVM extern at Craig Road Animal Hospital! Growing up as an only child in Syracuse, New York, Morgan spent most of her time with animals while her parents worked. Knowing that the experience would either make or break it for her, she started her veterinary career working at a veterinary clinic back in high school.
Fortunately for Morgan, the challenge offered by Veterinary medicine was very appealing. “That’s when I realized how much I loved the science behind the medicine, the opportunity for continual learning, and working with clients and patients,” she said.
Currently Morgan is pursing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University. Morgan says she decided to extern at Craig Road because of the recommendation she received from one of her classmates, Austin, a previous extern at Craig Road.
She says her goal during her externship is to, “Gain experience outside of academia, work with doctors who have different perspectives, and be exposed to the fast pace of the hospital.” Of the many veterinary interests she has, Morgan is most involved with diagnostic imaging.
When she isn’t caring for animals, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, and hiking on her days off. At home Morgan has one cat, a domestic medium-hair named Athena.
Craig Road Animal Hospital has an extern program for currently enrolled 3rd and 4th year veterinary medical students.
Craig Road Animal Hospital is a large multi – doctor, AAHA accredited, practice located in Northwest Las Vegas that provides high-quality veterinary care for dogs and cats with a focus on customer service.
An innovative Veterinary Hospital that places value in company culture.
On-site housing and a weekly stipend are part of our program in addition to professional mentoring and working in a busy, progressive hospital. Additional opportunities to work with specialists in soft tissue/orthopedic surgery, cardiology, oncology, and rehabilitation are available to those in the program.
In addition to the benefits of working at Craig Road Animal Hospital, and living in Las Vegas, Southern Nevada offers hiking and camping at Red Rock National Park, the Mt. Charleston Ski area, and Lake Mead. Las Vegas is just a short drive away from popular attractions in California, Phoenix, and Utah.
Striking scenery in a modern attractive city.
The hospital is over 11,000 sq ft., recently renovated and equipped with all digital radiology, digital dental radiology, ultrasound with color flow Doppler, in-house laboratory, two surgical suites, laparoscopic surgery suite, dentistry suite, oxygen cages, and paperless medical records computer system. Craig Road also features telemedicine capabilities, a full up to date library and an excellent close working relationship with a large veterinary specialty center. With a dedicated and professional staff, Craig Road Animal Hospital also provides an excellent and supportive working environment.
13 Doctors, 90 Staff, 200 Patients A Day.
If you are interested in discussing extern opportunities please send us your resume and letter of application marked “Craig Road Animal Hospital Extern Program” or email them to email@example.com.
On-Site Student Housing
Living Room features a home theater system for downtime.
We would like to welcome Kassi, our newest D.V.M. Extern, to Craig Road Animal Hospital! Growing up in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Kassi always felt a connection and sense of belonging when it came to the health and welfare of animals.
Kassi attended Pennsylvania State University for her animal sciences degree, but her interest in Veterinary Medicine didn’t stop there. Her desire to explore lab animal medicine led her to an externship in Houston at the University of Texas’s Health Science Center where her study involved laboratory animals ranging from rodents and monkeys to dogs and cats.
“Lab animal medicine has grown dear to me because I want to be the advocate for the animals to have the best lives possible.”
Kassi is currently a third year student at Iowa State University, she hopes to broaden her knowledge in small animal medicine and further develop her technical skills during her time at Craig Road.
Her personal interests include health & fitness, horror movies, as well as volunteering for the SPCA and various animal wildlife clinics. She appreciates all animals including the very small and not-so-cute, at home Kassi has a bunny named “Puff” and two mice “Tootsie” and “Cricket”.
Kristal joins the team at Craig Road as part of our extern program. Growing up, Kristal had dogs, cats, snakes, and even horses in her hometown of Fredrick, Maryland. She realized at an early age that she not only had a love for science, but an affinity for fixing things as well.
This made her a perfect fit for Veterinary medicine.
At first, she was torn between caring for humans or animals, “When I realized animals didn’t have the same voice humans do to express their concerns, I decided to make the switch.”
Kristal brings three years of experience with small and exotic animals as well as another three years of experience at an emergency clinic. Kristal received her undergrad from University of Maryland College Park and will graduate from the University of Georgia with Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in the Spring of 2017. Her veterinary interests focus primarily on surgery, radiology, and emergency medicine.
In her spare time Kristal enjoys, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, traveling, and rooting for the Washington Redskins.
Please join us in welcoming a new member of the Craig Road team: our new groomer Rebecca!
Her addition to Craig Road means that we will now be offering grooming during the evenings and on weekends.
Rebecca has multiple years of experience grooming dogs & cats of all sizes and understands how to discern the specific grooming needs of each pet.
We are currently accepting appointments for Rebecca for this week and over the weekend. Rebecca will be working alongside Becky who has been grooming at Craig Road since 1996. This now means that we will have significantly more availability for grooming. It also allows us to offer grooming during the day, seven days a week, and on select evenings.
Please note that Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, and Bordetella vaccines as well as intestinal parasite testing are required to be up to date for all pets brought in for grooming.
Austin started caring for a variety of animals at a young age, helping out on his father’s boarding house for horses. Whether it was binding an injured foot or feeding any of the cows, chickens, or sheep on his family property, there was always something to do.
As he got older, his love for education and animal communication grew.
“People learn more about themselves through their animals,” Austin said. “Being able to share that knowledge with others is all I want to do.”
The fourth year Colorado State student is interested in small animal practice. Austin believes that veterinarians play a very important role in the community and is focused on education, engagement, and animal behavior.
“There is a plethora of wrong information out there that people have access to at the tips of their fingertips,” Austin said. “It is important to have a professional that clients feel comfortable with to help guide them on how to care for their pets.”
Austin is from New Mexico and enjoys spending his study breaks with his pointer mix, Jerry.
Veterinarian Dr.Tiffany Major of Craig Road Animal Hospital discusses an often fatal infection, pyometra. It is most common in older female dogs that have not been spayed though it can occur in spayed dogs as well. This the story of Blueberry, a female pit bull living in North West Las Vegas.
By Tiffany Major, DVM
Blueberry saying hello!
Blueberry’s parents started to notice she wasn’t acting herself. She was very lethargic, and laying down a lot. They knew something was wrong, but when they couldn’t find anything, they started to worry. Due to her rapidly changing behavior, they decided to bring her to Craig Road for a check-up.
When I met them in the exam room, I asked them about her clinical signs. They told me that Blueberry was having trouble with her hind legs giving out on her, and that she wasn’t as active as she normally is. Also that Blueberry, who was housetrained, suddenly started urinating all around the house uncontrollably.
That was when I asked if Blueberry was spayed, and they told me she wasn’t.
I suspected she had a pyometra but I wanted to be sure. This is a very nasty infection of the uterus, and if left untreated, is usually fatal. Pyometra is something that all unspayed, female dogs are susceptible to and even with aggressive treatment, can still be fatal.
A pyometra typically follows a dog’s most recent heat cycle. When the animal is going through heat (estrus), white blood cells are blocked from entering the uterus, so that sperm can enter without being attacked. White blood cells usually prevent infections. After a heat cycle has ended, the uterus walls thicken and the progesterone hormone levels elevate to prepare the body for pregnancy and fetal development. When the dog has several of these cycles without becoming pregnant, the uterine wall continues to thicken until cysts start to form. These cysts then start to secrete fluid and becomes the ideal environment for bacteria.
While a pyometra can happen to any intact female dog at any age, the infection is most common in older females.
X-rays were recommended, to diagnose this potentially deadly infection. When I looked at Blueberry’ x-rays, the uterus was engorged as if the dog was pregnant. However, these were not puppies, the uterus was completely filled with pus. It was clear that Blueberry had a pyometra. I let her parents know that the best option was to have surgery right away to remove her uterus, or this infection was likely to be fatal.
Blueberry under anesthesia.
We immediately prepped Blueberry for surgery. The removal of the infected uterus is a similar procedure as a regular spay, but with the added complication of a major whole body infection, risk of rupturing the uterus, increased risk of hemorrahage, and a much more complex recovery. After the infected uterus was removed, it was weighed and found to be four pounds! Other patients have been found to have infected uteri up to 10 pounds!!
Removal of the pyometra.
There are two forms of pyometra, open and closed. Blueberry was experiencing a closed pyometra, which is the more deadly form because the pus cannot drain from the body. Pus then builds up within the uterus, causing the abdomen to swell, and eventually the uterus to rupture, killing the patient. Blueberry wasn’t getting up because her uterus was so enlarged that it caused discomfort while moving. Blueberry was lethargic due to the toxins that build up from the infection. She was drinking a lot of water in attempts to flush the infection out of her body. Both of which, leads to the inappropriate urinating around the house.
In an open pyometra, the infection within the uterus is able to drain from the body, resulting in the dog having a foul smelling, vaginal discharge. More often than not, even if the pet has an open pyometra, it quickly turns into a closed pyometra. Either way, chances of a pet surviving an open or closed infection are extremely low without aggressive treatment.
Blueberry showing Dr. Major some love!
Because Blueberry’s parents were so in tune to their dog’s behavior, they were able to notice something was wrong right away, and seek appropriate medical advice. It was for this reason they were able to catch the infection early on. Blueberry’s chances of surviving the surgery was much higher than if they had waited.
We are so happy to see you better, Blueberry!
Blueberry’s procedure went very well, with no major complications. She made a full recovery and a few days post-surgery, was able to go home. Her parents are so happy to have their healthy baby girl back to normal. It was great to see her back to her usual self!
***WARNING*** The image below may be disturbing to viewer
This is what was inside Blueberry’s pyometra and making her ill.