Monday, October 16, 2017

Canine Pyometra. The Dog Edition. What You Need To Know To Get Your Dog Out Alive. Cost, Options, Advice. (warning surgery photos included)

Shyyann,, this is her pyo story
This is Shyyann. She came to see me on a Sunday afternoon. She had left the ER about an hour before where it was determined by an ultrasound that she had an infection in her uterus. She is 10 plus years old, the light of her dads life, and about the sweetest, kindest, gentlest girl you have ever met.

As with every single appointment, I get a brief synopsis from the technician who takes the vitals, documents the history and provides me a brief description of all of this along with the presenting concern. This day, it was Laura reporting Shyyann's story to me.

"They saw your video. She has a pyo. Everyone in the room is crying. She's a pittie. A really nice pittie. They are afraid you are going to tell them to put her to sleep. I don't know if they are here for a second opinion or to euthanize?"

She knows me as well as I know her. Laura dropped every hint she knew was important. She was smitten by this dog, and had great hope for Shyyann. She is my calm to the storms I too often find myself lost in. She is a big part of the reason I still hope and always try. I walk in the room.. as I always do.. ready to fight a war and looking for troops to enlist.

Thick hemorrhagic purulent (blood and puss) discharge.

Shyyann's estimate for her pyometra surgery was $2500. (Based on this estimate I know where she came from. Lately I am seeing pyo referral estimates ranging from $2,000 to $5,500). Through tears from her mom, (who just had a baby a few weeks ago), she said "we just don't have that kind of money. We don't have half of that."

What they did have, that one special thing that they all have, is a story. A story of a family who loved their dog. If you have that, if you can start there, you can make miracles happen. It is not about how much money, it is about how deep the love lies. It is where Laura and I, and the rest of the staff at JVC, reside.

Shyyann was sick. There was no doubt. She was depressed, weak, and tired. She hadn't eaten in two days, had been sick for weeks, and had been given a diagnosis devoid of one stitch of any kind of treatment to help her. I find that one simple act of omission an all too common theme. Don't use resources on anything before a mutually acceptable AND affordable treatment plan is in place! Especially when the diagnosis is acutely obvious. In the new age of "standard of care" we are forgetting to be resourceful. We are forgetting that our patients are OURS to be collectively responsible for. I hope we get ourselves back to the foundations of care. I also hope people can get drive-thru fluid therapy clinics if the primary care vets don't give them at least that. That one little act of $80 bucks (subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics) at my clinic can buy precious time and countless lives.

We cannot forget to treat while we collect scant resources and diagnose.

Shyyann, her family, and I had a long hard talk. Here's how I see it; she needs help immediately. The soonest I can get her this help is tomorrow morning. It will cost about $1,000. She is not the best surgical candidate. But that is the best I can do. I can give her fluids and antibiotics to try to help get her through the night. We talked payment plans, options, and faith.

Everyone left with a plan, and Shyyann's family left with hope. You can never steal that from someone. It will break them. It will ripple forward in ways you cannot imagine.

Here is Shyyann's surgery.

Distended angry uterus.

Think it didn't look big in the photo above?
50 pound Shyyann minus her 4.5 pound uterus

The surgery is done.

Waking up

Resting after recovery

The video of a prior pyometra surgery.. the message is always the same. Spay now, avoid the pyo later. 

So why don't people spay?

  • They cannot afford it. Please ask your vet, shelter, rescues for assistance in finding low cost options. Or, start saving. At Jarrettsville Vet we have Pre-Payment Plans to help.
  • They are afraid of anesthesia. Pre-existing conditions like heart murmurs, small pets, prior anesthetic adverse events, the list of reasons to be afraid shouldn't put your pets health in jeopardy.
  • You didn't realize that a pyometra could happen. (I hear this every single day!)

Here is what Shyyann's bill looked like at JVC is about saving lives, and providing options with data. Let the data set the standard of care and integrity via transparency be the guide.

If you care about pets, believe in making happy endings happen, and want to help others please join me on our Jarrettsville Vet Facebook page, our Pawbly Facebook page,and also on Twitter and YouTube.

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