Monday, May 17, 2010

Poor Loni Lou...

As a breeder of Golden Retrievers for 27 years, we are quite accustomed to having sick dogs.  It comes with the territory.  However, this week we were very lucky.  There is a lesson here and I want to share it because we could have lost one of our babies.  Trust your instincts.

One of our Golden Retrievers, Loni, was acting odd.  She was still eating but seemed quieter then normal...with four dogs in the house, we are normally delighted to have a "quiet" house, but she was clearly lethargic.  She had a great appetite, but let's face it, Goldens are garbage cans - step on their foot and their mouths open.  She was doing everything the others were but she just looked "off".  I whipped her up to the vet but she could find nothing outrageously wrong with her.  We took her temperature (normal) and drew blood.  To be on the safe side, the vet started her on antibiotics with the idea that she might have a bit of a vaginal infection since she had just finished her heat.

Blood work in the morning confirmed Loni was fighting a huge infection.  As pyometria (a uterine infection) was a strong possibility, it was decided that a spay was necessary.  As she didn't look in distress and was still wagging her tail and grinning at everybody, the vet  booked her for a Friday am surgery spot.

Over the next three days, Loni continued to look grim, despite the antibiotics.  Friday morning I dropped her off to be spayed and waited impatiently for the results.  A part of me wasn't convinced that she wasn't sicker then we had been told but I was thinking cancer.  I know this dog and she was so acting very odd.

The vet called me at noon to tell me that it was a harrowing spay. Loni's uterus was completely riddled with infection and she had been in grave danger of having the uterus explode.  It was what is called "a closed pyometria" which is far worse then an "open pyometria".  With an open pyo, the infection (pus) can be discharged.  With a closed one, there is no where for the pus to go.  Loni's damaged uterus weighed almost 4 1/2 lbs!!!  A typically healthy uterus and ovaries of a Golden Retriever is about 9-11 ounces.  We were very lucky to have made the decision to spay her and not opt for another round of antibiotics to treat the "infection".

Lesson learned: trust your instincts!  You know your pet best (let's face it, the same applies to our children too!).  If you think there's something wrong, then there probably is.  I hate to think of the pain I put Loni through waiting the three days for the surgery but given the signs she was exhibiting, the vet felt she wasn't in distress.   She was more stoic then any dog has the right to be.  I will be very careful with her from now on - she obviously has a very high pain threshold.   The vet said this must have been excruciating for her and feels just as bad as I do.  We will both benefit from this experience.   

I love this photo of Loni - taken in August last year in the motorhome when we were in Florida.  I was reading a book and she decided that I needed a blanket.  Frankly, I think she just wanted a softer bed then the floor!
She is such a cool dog!!


  1. I'm glad she's back to her old self. I feel like I haven't seen this "happy loser' for a long time. She's certainly feeling better!!

  2. I'm SO glad Loni Loser is getting back to her old self. WHEW!