I have posted before on this very subject before. Today's case is just too much for words (unless, like myself, you've got a way with words). Little miss Backtrack here is in a pretty precarious situation today due to several serious medical problems. I didn't get to ride my motorcycle on this beautiful day, as I've had to spend most of my so-called "afternoon off" riding herd on her condition.
She came in this morning with a history of being sick for two days, and a bloody, nasty vaginal discharge for two days. Nine years old and never been spayed. My receptionist suspected pyometra just from that description over the telephone, and she was not wrong. [Here are your review articles on Pyometra and Pyometra with gross pictures.] Backtrack also won't eat, and has been vomiting, as well.
Physical exam shows her to be between 5% and 10% dehydrated… and a little thin. "Wow! She's really lost weight if she just weighs 12 pounds. She weighed 16&1/2 pounds two months ago when she got her shots." [Somewhere else – the same somewhere else that told her not to worry about the breast tumor one year ago, which has doubled in size since then.]
Ultrasound shows an empty bladder (bad, but not too surprising since she is approaching the hydration status of a raisin), and more importantly, the uterus is not enlarged with a ton of pus. This is good, because the pus has mostly been draining out her cervix. So, even though it's making her sick, it's not about to explode inside her. That's good.
All the experts say, "Don't let the sun set on a pyometra." In other words, do surgery to take it out, as soon as possible. In this case, though, we need to get her hydrated. Also, it wouldn't be bad to check out a chest X-ray and some blood-work before we anesthetize her. She doesn't look too great, and she might have some other problems. This was the biggest understatement since Noah said, "It looks like rain."
Her kidney waste levels were three times normal, and her blood sugar was 620 (110 is about tops for a normal dog). So, she has sugar diabetes (Diabetes mellitus) and her kidneys aren't working worth a flip. The kidneys could be ruined, but maybe they are just sick (and have a chance to get better).
Having a terrible uterine infection will make your kidneys sick. So will a totally out-of-control case of diabetes that's been going on long enough for you to lose one fourth of your body weight. One fourth of your body weight — alarm bells ought be going off. This is not the Fat-Fairy coming in the night to make you into a super-model. Something is wrong.
So now we have three serious medical problems — pyometra, kidney failure, advanced diabetes — any one of which could kill you in the next little bit, because they are all way over the edge. This dog has three feet in the grave and one on a banana peel. The amazing thing is that she has only been obviously ill to her owner for the last two days. It's not like her owner doesn't care about her — they sleep together, and she's beside herself with guilt for not realizing things sooner. We are treating her intensively to try to get her stabilized.
After the first ten hours, she is better hydrated, levels of kidney wastes in her blood have dropped by 30%, and her sugar is about half what it was. If we can keep progressing like that for the next twelve hours, she may be stable enough to have surgery tomorrow. At least her chest X-rays looked good.
The heck of it is, if she had been spayed when she was young, she wouldn't have the pyometra, and she wouldn't have the breast tumor, and she probably wouldn't be in kidney failure. We'd still be dealing with the diabetes, but it would be SO much less complicated.
SO, spay your dog while she's young and healthy. I needed that motorcyle ride I didn't get today.