When a four-year-old poodle mix named Fluffy arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, doctors knew they were dealing with a very sick dog. Vomiting and straining to urinate, Fluffy was unhappy and visibly depressed. Surgeons decided to operate the following day—a decision that would prove more critical than they even realized.
Fluffy underwent a cystotomy, a procedure during which an incision is made into the urinary bladder to remove bladder stones. But what surgeons found was no ordinary stone: 2 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, the stone was “like a jumbo chicken egg,” said Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery.
As Fluffy’s surgery was underway, doctors also discovered that pressure from the stone had caused her ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder) to rupture. Infected urine had spilled into her belly and formed an abscess, which Dr. Maren Krafchik had to clear out before the dog’s kidney could be removed. No wonder the poor pooch was vomiting and feeling so ill! Despite the surgical trauma that Fluffy had been through, Dr. Janice Fenichel, who saw Fluffy on her arrival, said “she looked 100 percent better” as soon as she awoke.
While Fluffy is recovering nicely, we hope that her story serves as a reminder to all pet parents. “It is so important to get any medical problems checked out right away,” says Dr. Amy Fox, Fluffy’s operating surgeon. “The sooner we treat these problems, the better chance the animals have of making a full recovery.”
Early signs of bladder stones include straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and frequent need to urinate. A pet owner noticing any of these things should take their pet to the vet immediately.
Fluffy’s cystotomy and additional procedures were made possible in part by the ASPCA’s Trooper Fund, a program in place to cover medical costs for animals whose guardians need assistance with veterinary expenses.
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