Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Abby's Survived Being Run Over By Car But Sucumbed To A Mammary Tumor

by  Krista Magnifico, DVM

Abby was an Australian Cattle Dog. She was a strong, solid, short and stocky powerhouse. Her grey merle coat was short and flat and impenetrable except for a ridge of wavy hair that ran down her spine. She had a broad wide face that set her kind gentle eyes as far apart as possible. As solid and formidable as she looked she was always docile and loving. She was never an overtly affectionate dog, but she was sweet and gentle and for as much pain, suffering, and struggling as we put her through she never became curse or angry.

That day she came in because her dad had noticed a “lump on her belly.”

It “lump” turned out to be a mammary mass. Mammary tumors, or pyometra (uterine infection), occur in almost every older intact female.

I spayed Abby and removed her mammary masses.

The biopsy results came back as an Adenocarcimona and her prognosis from the pathologist was listed as “guarded.” In typical Abby fashion she healed very well from her radical mastectomy and ovariohysterectomy.

Five months later her dad backed over her in the driveway. 

I would say that the most common “hit by car accident” I see is an owner backing over their own dog.

The accident ripped all of her skin off her belly. It looked like someone had sliced her skin from armpit to hip and peeled it to the opposite side.

I immediately put her under anesthesia to see if her abdominal wall had been jeopardized because that would require immediate surgical intervention.

I had to clean and explore this massive wound before I could even give her dad any kind of estimate as to what her care would entail. I brought him back to see her once she was under anesthesia and I had figured out what tissue-was-what.

I needed him to understand the severity if her injuries, and I also needed him to sign on for the very long, painful, intense road ahead. 

He was shocked to see the full extent of the damage he had caused. He asked me if I thought she would survive? I told him that I was encouraged by Abby’s determined arrival. When Abby arrived with that terribly atrocious looking wound she was standing up on all four legs in the back of his pickup truck. I thought that if she arrived looking that good, then as long as I could minimize her bleeding I expected her to leave here standing back up in the back of his truck (although I do cringe and beg every owner not to transport their pet this way, so dangerous!).

After three hours of surgery I had her roughly sewn up Frankenstein style. 

Not pretty, but functional. I knew that this was not going to be a single surgery fix, because I knew I was going to see some of this tissue die off over the next few weeks. I also knew my biggest immediate challenge was to first control her hemorrhage, then try to beat the massive infection that getting cheese grated on asphalt causes.

Abby came off the table looking like a corseted, girdled, 18th century call girl. She was shaved, bloody, bruised and barely able to move. She needed daily sedation to change the voluminous blood soaked bandages, and mega doses of morphine to control her severe pain. Her dad visited everyday.

It took 1 week of constant bandage changes, very careful blood monitoring, (because she lost so much blood and valuable protein). Even after the wound was pseudo-closed there was still seepage of blood and protein. It is the same seepage as you get when you skin your knees.

We had to keep her bandaged for weeks.

Those bandages, though, turned out to be incubators for more infection.

Abby returned smelling like rotten fish. It was powerful enough to make you blink and run away. The funny thing was that he dad brought Abby in because she wasn’t eating, I still don’t know how he missed the make-you-want-to-puke smell.

Her whole belly was one huge festering swamp of infection. 

It was so severe that we had to re-hospitalize her.

When the infection was under control I had to put her back under anesthesia to close her wounds and cut away the dead skin.

It took two more surgeries and a whole lot of TLC to get all of her parts back together again. 

But Abby met every obstacle head on. She was a valiant strong-willed determined dog.

Almost two years after her mammary tumor removal, Abby returned for “not eating well.”  

On her examination my associate found that her pink color to her gums was gone. They were now white, and her x-rays revealed multiple masses in her chest.

Her mammary tumors had finally caught up with her. 

As sad as it is to say to such an old dear friend I know that 1 year and 9 months is a very long time to have when your prognosis is considered “grave.”

Two days later Abby was set free.

If you have a question, concerns, or just want to share your pet knowledge with our pet enthusiasts please visit Pawbly.com. We are a free pet community with a big heart.


Krista Magnifico, DVM owns a small animal hospital in northern Maryland, where she practices everyday. She wants to make quality veterinary care available to everyone, everywhere at any time; trying to save the world 1 wet nose @ a time.  Her blog is a diary of he day-to-day life & the animals and people she meets. 

Dr. Krista is also the founder of pawbly.com, free pet advice and assistance.

To contact her, you may leave a comment on her blog, email her or catch her on Twitter or Facebook.

Articles by Dr. Magnifico:
Don't Make This Mistake: Ruby's Death To Heat Stroke 
Parvo: Cora's Story 
Jake's Laryngeal Paralysis
The Tip Of The Iceberg: The Unexpected Dental Dilemma
The Ear Ache That Wasn't Going Away: Tottsie's Story
Cody's Eyelid Tumor
Ruger's Mysterious Illness
The Day The Heart Stood Still: Timber's Story 
Different Definition Of Comfort Food: Levi's Story 
Savannah's Pancreatitis  
Histiocytoma: Rio's Mysterious Bump
Von Willebrand's Disease: Greta's Story 
Alice's Heart Murmur  
Jekyll Loses His Tail Mo-Jo 
Pale Gums Are An Emergency: Bailey's Story 
To Amputate Or Not To Amputate: Heidi's Story
Lessons From A Real-Life Veterinarian 
Charlie's Life Saving Lipoma Surgery  
Understanding and Diagnosing The Limping Dog, Why To Probe The Paw 
Angus' Dog Fight And The Consequences
When To Induce Vomiting And When It's Not A Good Idea 

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Adoption Monday: Cookie, Labrador Retriever Mix, Deerfield, NH

Check out this lovely girl at Mary's Dogs Rescue and Adoption!

Sweet. That's what Cookie is.

Cookie is a lab "mix" who is just lovely.

She's looking for a new home and we just know she'll have a family waiting for her when she arrives!

And the best part: this Cookie is CALORIE FREE!!!!!

Cookie is spayed, house trained and current on routine shots. Want more info on Cookie? Call Mary's Dogs: or send along an email: marysdogsrescue@gmail.com

Ready to bring Cookie home? Tell us about yourself and your interest in Cookie in the adoption questionnaire. Check out all the wonderful dogs on Mary's Dogs Facebook Fan Page.


Mary’s Dogs rescues and re-homes dogs and puppies from Aiken County Animal Shelter, a high-kill shelter in South Carolina, USA. They also serve as a resource to communities in Southern New Hampshire and pet owners nationwide by providing education and information on responsible pet ownership, including the importance of spay/neuter, positive behavior training, and good nutrition.

Don't forget to check out Mary's Dogs Shop where you can shop dog and support their work!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Early Winter Safety: Exploring New Territories

To the West of our property there is a large swamp. Well, thanks to busy beavers it's really a lake. Which is great, normally, as it serves as a natural boundary for most part of the year.

Now, with the cold weather, the swamp is frozen.

Frozen enough to appear solid but not enough to trust it.

Before, when Cookie went on her hunting trips, she never got into the swamp, simply because the critters didn't. Now it's a different story. I'm sure that a deer or a moose wouldn't venture across. Something smaller, though ...

The other day, both Cookie and JD went chasing something and ended up on the other side of the swamp.

Fortunately, both the critter and our guys made it safely. But we had to rethink our daily routes.

In order to play it safe we decided to stay as far away from the swamp as possible and had to make trails through parts we've never been to before.

Cookie and JD think it's a great adventure.

Exploring new territories is great fun for them. And we keep safe distance from the swamp. Which has to be pretty far because Cookie can fly through the bush at nineteen miles an hour. I kid you not. She could be on the other side of the swamp before we'd even notice she was gone.

Sometimes she reminds me of Crocodile Dundee. You're looking at her, she's right there. You blink and she's gone. Just like that. Before you'd even know to call her back it could be too late already.

Until the lake freezes solid, we'll be staying away.

After it does, then it'll be a whole new fun, making snowmobile trails for the guys.

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks 
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?  
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone? 
Dog Training And Emotions 
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either 
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear 
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy? 
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT) 
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Who Is In The Wrong?
Your Dog Wants To Follow You. You Just Gotta Be Going Some Place
We Still Have Two Dogs: A "Pilot Study" Part Two  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tremors In A Dog: Snail Bait Or Other Toxin


Dr. Greg Martinez, DVM is a proponent of home cooked diets for dogs. He believes that feeding dogs differently  may prevent or help with chronic medical conditions like obesity, skin issue, ear issues, digestive problems, diabetes, mild seizures, and bladder crystals and stones.

He is the author of Dog Dish Diet, Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog's Health.
You can connect with Dr. Greg on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Veterinary Highlights: Extending Dog's Lives?

It is a fact that keeping your dog slim can add two years to their life. Good diet, healthy lifestyle, all those things contribute. But we can extend our dogs' lives only so much. In fact, we can mostly just strive not to shorten it.

Dogs' life span is just too short.

Could there be something done about that? What if dogs could live longer? Not by prolonging life, but by extending its prime? Giving our dogs a few extra healthy, vibrant years?

I would have loved it so much if Jasmine could have been with us longer, while healthy and enjoying the extra years to the fullest.

Researchers at the University of Washington are raising money and recruiting dogs for a study that might extend dogs’ lives.

They want to test an existing drug, which had been used in humans to prevent organ transplant rejection and to fight cancer.

At low doses, this drugs slows aging in mice. 

Is a drug the answer? I don't know but it would be nice. Should we mess with nature? I don't know but it would be nice.

The study should start in next six month. To find out more, visit Dog Aging Project.

Source article:
Researchers testing drug that might extend dogs’ lives by 15 percent

Further reading:
Dog Aging Project
Rapamycin - the first drug to extend lifespan from yeast to mammals
Rapamycin: Limited anti-aging effects
Resveratrol and rapamycin: are they anti-aging drugs?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Primer On Skin Fold Infections (Pyoderma)

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD
and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS

Skin-fold infections are very common in dogs.  

Folds in the skin create a moist environment that favors the growth of bacteria.  Infection of the skin folds is common especially in wrinkly breeds such as the bulldog, Shar Pei, and pug.

Obese dogs are also at greater risk of pyoderma because of the folds produced by excess fat.  

The skin folds around the face, lips, groin, armpit, and mammary glands are often involved.

When suffering from pyoderma, a dog's infected skin folds appear moist and red.  

Pustules may develop and discharge a thick, whitish material.  The infected skin may have a foul odor.  Dogs with pyoderma may lick or scratch at affected areas.  Diagnosis is based on physical examination.

In mild cases, the hair is usually clipped and the area cleaned with a mild soap.  Topical preparations containing antibiotics and often corticosteroids are used to provide local relief.  In more severe infections, oral antibiotics and other medications may be needed.

Skin-fold infections frequently recur, and diligent home care is the best defense against future problems.

Skin folds should be inspected regularly, and these areas must be kept clean and dry.  

Your veterinarian can recommend a cleaner that can be used on a routine basis.  Weight loss can play an important role in overweight pets. 


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