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How Ginger’s Senior Exam Saved Her Life

Posted 08.31.17 by Drew McWatters, DVM

Ginger is a 9 year old spayed female German Short Haired Pointer who came to The Pet Hospitals- Germantown for a routine Senior Wellness Exam. Everything had been normal at her Annual Wellness Exam 6 months prior, but since she is older than 7 years old, her owners followed the recommended guidelines of biannual exams for dogs over 7. She had been doing well at home, but her owners noticed she may have “slowed down a little” recently which they were attributing to her getting older. Her exam was unremarkable and her blood was sent to the lab to have a comprehensive lab panel run that screens her internal organs, red and white blood cells, thyroid, and urine for signs of disease. She was also administered her Proheart 6 injection to protect her from heartworms.

The next evening, around 5:00 p.m., her owners called concerned that she had been fairly lethargic all day and was having trouble walking. They wanted to know if it could be attributed to her Proheart 6 inj. I checked to see if her lab results were in and her results showed a very mild anemia. I had them immediately bring her in so we could retest her red blood cell count for anemia. Overnight, her mild anemia had become a more severe anemia that was bordering on needing a blood transfusion. We highly suspected internal bleeding as the cause of her anemia and rushed her to ultrasound. During her ultrasound, an 11 cm mass (roughly the size of a large grapefruit!) was identified on the back of the head of her spleen, up under her ribs along with a mild amount of internal bleeding.

With a diagnosis in hand, Ginger went to surgery to have her spleen and the mass removed.  At the time of surgery, the mass had ruptured and she had severe internal bleeding. Without  surgery, Ginger could have bled to death within hours. Despite the amount of bleeding, surgery went well and Ginger was able to go home the day of surgery with oral pain medication and instructions for strict rest. Though everything had gone well up until this point, her ultimate prognosis would be decided by the biopsy report of the mass. If the mass was benign, she would be cured. If the mass was cancerous, it could mean only 1-3 months to live.

Six agonizing days later, the biopsy results came back as BENIGN! Ginger was cured! Four days later she had her surgical staples removed and 4 weeks after surgery she is still doing great! This is a case were time mattered and her Senior Exam and labwork allowed for a swift diagnosis and a happy ending!

Dr. Drew McWatters

The Pet Hospitals– Germantown

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