Schedule? What schedule?

Tonight I was scheduled to leave at 5:00 PM, as I was to moderate the monthly District Committee meeting for the Cherokee District of the Boy Scouts.  I"m the District Commissioner (a fancy title for my volunteer job.  How can you tell if a job is a voluntary position?  There is not enough money in the world to pay someone to do it.)

Normally we stay open until 7:00 PM on Tuesdays.  There are some folks whose work hours even include Saturday mornings (like ours) and it’s a real convenience for them. Tonight, though, I was going to leave early.  Two emergencies right at five o’clock pretty well made that impossible.  At least I can say that one of them was interesting.

We generally consider Canine Parvovirus Enteritis to be a disease of puppies.  This patient was a three-years old female Miniature Pinscher, house-dog, no other pets in the household.  She had not had any booster vaccinations since puppyhood, but Parvo was still pretty low on the list for an adult dog with vomiting (and no diarrhea yet).  We started with X-rays to look for foreign objects (like this one), but just found some gas in the colon.  Then we started some routine blood tests.  The first red flag popped up when I looked at the blood smear under the microscope: no white blood cells.  Okay, that’s bad, since the white cells are your first line of defense.   Parvovirus attacks the bone marrow, so (unlike most infections) the white count falls dramatically.  When the blood chemistries came back pretty normal (i.e. no liver or kidney trouble), I start thinking, "Hey, what if…". 

Next thing was to run a test for the presence of Parvovirus in the dog’s stool.  Despite a normal-looking poop, the test was a strong positive.  We began supportive care and were not very surprised when she later exploded with her first bout of bloody diarrhea.  Diagnosis confirmed.

Adult dogs usually don’t get Parvovirus.  I don’t think I’m ready to quit giving booster vaccinations.

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