Meet Penny, a 7-year old spayed female mixed breed dog. She presentedHappy Monday! Meet Penny, a 7-year old spayed female mixed breed dog. She presented to Miami Veterinary Specialists during emergency hours with an acute abdomen, fever, bloody diarrhea, bloody vomit and severely depressed mentation.
Penny was seen by Dr. Sarah Evans, one of our Board-Certified Surgeons. During her examination, the owners mentioned that Penny has a history of being fed beef neck bones occasionally. Radiographs obtained at her primary care veterinarian and those repeated at MVS were suspicious of a gastrointestinal obstruction and/or severe enteritis resulting in ileus (stasis or nonmoving intestine). Medical stabilization was immediately started and additional options were discussed with Penny’s owners. An exploratory laparotomy and plasma transfusion were recommended and performed successfully.
An exploratory laparotomy is the medical term for surgically exploring the abdomen or belly. One of the goals of this surgical procedure is to obtain clear information that may not be available through other less invasive diagnostic methods (such as radiographs or abdominal ultrasound). It is often performed on patients like Penny, who have an acute or painful abdomen. Severe enteritis (severe inflammation of the intestines) and ileus (minimal to no peristalsis/movement of the intestines) were confirmed at surgery; however, no obstruction was present.
It is not uncommon to take a patient like Penny to surgery to explore the abdomen with the suspicion of finding an foreign object causing an obstruction, but not find an obstruction.
Penny took several days to recover from her enteritis, but was able to go home several days after surgery. She went home with strict orders of cage rest, a controlled diet and medication (GI protectants and pain meds). Penny and her owners did not leave MVS without posing next to our Christmas tree. Each of them was wearing a Christmas item to bring in the Holiday cheer!