NAME: Bobbie Lee
DOB: July 8, 2001
BREED: Jack Russell


 

Spaying

Bobbie Lee was spayed when she was just at 6 months old. Lucky for us that we did it when we did because our vet said that one more week and she would have gone into heat. The surgery was uneventful and she had absolutely no complications. The only problem was that since I was the one to take her in to be spayed I was the bad ‘guy’. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with me after the procedure. As matter of fact two friends were with me to pick her up and they will attest to the fact that she would not even look at me, much less come to me. She went immediately to them and curled up in their laps. Of course I was devastated. Then at home the same thing happened when it came to my husband – loved him – hated me (it didn't help that he hand feed her!). Since I was the one who took her to that place and the one to pick her up – in her eyes I must be evil. Happily, this little ‘snit’ only lasted till the next morning when I was wonder woman again in her eyes.

To see more on spaying and neutering see Fix Your Pet under Your Dog's Health.
Consider that there are upwards of 10 million ‘excess’ dogs and cats being killed in the shelters this year and then consider the millions of homeless animals that live a short, hungry existence on the streets and end up dying miserably of disease or injury. Then consider that on average 1/3 of the animals in the shelters are purebred (either intentionally or accidentally). Why then, if you are a responsible caring dog owner, would you not spay or neuter your pet?

All of our pets have been spayed or neutered PERIOD! Of all the animals that we have had in our lives, both as children or adults, have been ‘fixed’ and not one of them have experienced any adverse effects of the procedure. We always hear the same old lines: ‘I couldn't’t do that to another guy’, why risk surgery of any type if it is not necessary (see our list below), I want my children to experience the miracle of birth (our suggestion - get a video or better yet ever hear of The Animal Planet on cable?), and another excuse is the belief that the animal will get fat. It's true that spaying and neutering does change an animal's metabolism but just keep in mind that a spayed or neutered animal requires fewer calories for maintenance than an intact one. Also, animals, just like people, need exercise and physical activity to maintain their ideal weight. We are responsible for keeping our cats and dogs active.

Another thing to think about, is that, if you do breed your pet and you do find good homes for the entire litter, each of those babies takes the place of another puppy or kitten that could have been adopted or it went to a home with someone else who does not believe in spaying or neutering – then the cycle continues, or worse, those puppies or kittens take the place of other animals that will then have to die. Do not think that kittens and puppies all get to be adopted. Some shelters are just too overcrowded and the kids will go straight to be euthanized. Even if you take an unwanted animal to a ‘no kill’ shelter -- they may not have space. Even if they do accept your litter, it could mean that other animals will be turned away, and taken to a shelter that may indeed kill them.

Dogs and cats should be surgically sterilized to prevent unwanted pregnancies as well as undesirable mating-related characteristics and behaviors. In females, this operation is called "spaying" and involves removal of the ovaries and uterus through an abdominal incision. For males, "neutering" involves surgically removing the testicles. In most cases, your animal companion will be able to go home either the same day or the next day, and within a few days will be fully recovered. Young animals bounce back much quicker from these surgeries than older ones. In the past, veterinarians recommended that a cat or dog be at least six months of age before they were sterilized. However, many cats and dogs reach sexual maturity before they are six months old, and many unplanned litters have resulted from this standard. Today, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends "early spay/neuter," which is the sterilization of puppies and kittens between 8 and 16 weeks of age. This has proven to be very safe, with rapid recovery. Many shelters now require adopted animals to be spayed or neutered before they can go home. This policy has begun to make a noticeable difference in the number of unwanted litters, but overpopulation is still a very serious problem.

Following is a number of reasons why you should spay and or neuter you pet:

  • Neutered male dogs are less apt to develop prostate cancer, and the risk of testicular cancers is eliminated. Up to 60% of older, intact dogs will get enlarged, painful prostates.
  • Prevents Pyometra, a serious and potentially fatal infection of the uterus, most commonly seen in unspayed females 6+ years of age.
  • Spayed females are not susceptible to life-threatening uterine infections and reproductive tract cancers that can occur in breeding females, as well as mastitis, ovarian cysts, miscarriages and delivery complications.
  • Almost half of unspayed female dogs will develop breast cancer, while spaying before first heat reduces the incidence to almost zero. Spaying also decreases the risk of developing breast cancer in cats, for whom it is usually fatal.
  • Reduces inter-male aggression (dogs).
  • Reduces dominance aggression towards people (dogs).
  • Reduces urinary "marking" (of vertical objects such as furniture.)
  • Reduces "mounting" behavior, and sexual frustration.
  • Reduces roaming.
  • Prevents false pregnancies (females).
  • Prevents unwanted litters. (It is truly amazing what some dogs will do in order to mate with a female dog who comes into "season". Some dogs will dig under fences to get to another dog, while some have even managed to mate through chain link fences!).
  • Prevents neighborhood dogs from camping outside your home waiting for the opportunity to mate with your female dog.

Intestinal Obstruction

On April 4, 2002 our 9-month-old Jack Russell Terrier, Bobbie Lee, began vomiting. Initially, I was not concerned however the vomiting continued. The first couple of times she vomited she vomited up her last meal. Then she started to vomit up bile (yellow ‘stuff’). Then the vomit turned to a brown substance that smelled like stool. THIS we have never experienced before. We have a basic rule of thumb when it comes to vomiting – call the vet after your dog has vomited 5 times within as many hours. Bobbie Lee did this, wouldn’t eat, vomited whatever water we cold get her to drink, was exhibiting obvious signs of pain and she was starting to get dehydrated. We called our family veterinarian. After describing Bobbie Lee’s symptoms she recommended that we go immediately to All-Care Animal Referral Center in Fountain Valley. The reason for this was that our vet was near the end of its workday (doctors were heading out) and she felt that Bobbie Lee needed to be observed closely and or she needed emergency surgery for an intestinal obstruction. I called down to All-Care and notified them that I was coming for a possible intestinal obstruction.

At All-Care Animal Referral Center I was greeted by Dr. Howard Fisher. Dr. Fisher did a thorough examination of Bobbie Lee and discussed the symptoms I had observed. He then took an x-ray. The x-ray showed that her stomach and intestines were inflamed and there looked to be some kind of blockage and he recommended immediate surgery to get it out. Dr. Fisher performed the surgery and upon completion came out to inform me that there indeed was an obstruction and that he had removed pieces of red rubber from her intestines – part of a chew toy. She did fine during the surgery and she was coming out of anesthesia. She would need to stay for at least another 24 hours. Once she was able to eat and drink and not vomit she would be able to go home.

There are three different kinds of dogs, barkers, diggers and chewers. Bobbie Lee is a chewer. For a little dog she is tenacious. Even the toughest of all chew toys – the “Kong” – Bobbie Lee can get through. Since the surgery we have been extremely careful as too what kind of toys that she can play with. However, on September 10th of this year vomiting recurred. The same sequence of vomiting occurred – food, bile and the most disgusting smelling stuff came out of her mouth (it was like the Exorcist just no head turning). Off we went to All-Care Animal Referral Center. Again, Dr. Howard Fisher greeted us. However, this time surgery was not required but she needed to stay at All-Care for at least 24 hours. They kept her off food and water for those 24 hours and put her on I.V. fluids, antibiotics, zantic and Baytril. Two days later we found part of a sock toy in her stool. We spoke to our vet and they said that that was what probably caused her last problems. Sometimes they are able to work the obstruction out – but note that your vet is the best judge!

Note that after both instances Bobbie Lee’s was on a restricted bland diet baby food. Another option would be boneless/skinless chicken breast (that I microwave cut up into bite-sized pieces, chilled and then gave her) with rice. I started out with 2/3 rice and 1/3 chicken and gradually increased the chicken proportion till she was ready for her regular food. Check with your vet to determine what diet would be best for your pet.

Bottom line, if your dog is a chewer – exercise caution when choosing their toys. We no longer allow Bobbie Lee to have chew toys unless we are home so that we can monitor her. Once a chew toy looks ready to break apart away it goes to the trash. But remember that dogs will also go after inappropriate items – couches, shoes, dead fish, clothing, rocks, coins, socks, food wrappings, nails, needles, part of or whole tennis balls, bones, plant material – the list is endless!

Lastly, if you KNOW that your pet has ingested something they shouldn't, and you know that it is not overly large and is not poisonous, feed them canned pumpkin. The pumpkin will coat the object and help 'grease' its way thru their system. Then keep an eye on them for any discomfort which may be a sign that the object is 'stuck'. And if you know that your pet has ingested something that you think is too large or poisonous call your vet or the poison hot line and they may instruct you to induce vomiting. Vomiting can be induced using either Hydrogen Peroxide (refer to bottle) or Ipecac Syrup (1cc per 2 to 4 pounds).

Overview:

Intestinal obstruction from a foreign object is fairly common in dogs. Dogs seem to like to chew on and even consume odd things at times; and there isn't a veterinarian anywhere that wasn't amazed on occasion at what ends up in the gastro-intestinal tract of dogs. If a dog makes a habit of consuming non-food material it is called PICA. Obstruction of the intestines in dogs is always considered an emergency situation. Intestinal obstruction is the partial or complete blockage of the normal passage of food through the intestine. Obstruction can be due to ingested foreign materials, tumors, part of the intestine telescoping onto itself (intussussception), impaction of fecal material, or paralysis of a portion of the bowel.

Symptoms and Diagnosis
Usually initial symptoms include:

  • vomiting,
  • poor appetite,
  • tense abdomen,
  • possible elevated temperature,
  • possible dehydration and or electrolyte imbalance, and
  • little or no bowel movements (some diarrhea is not unusual).

Severe and projectile vomiting usually means complete intestinal obstruction. Dehydration can develop along with an electrolyte imbalance in some cases. With a physical examination it is often found that the temperature is slightly elevated (over 102 degrees). The abdomen is slightly tense but the veterinarian many times is able to palpate (feel with his/her hands) a firm mass in the central abdomen. The dog will be taken to Radiology and an x-ray taken to see if an intestinal obstruction can be seen. Occasionally, an obstruction will be difficult to visualize even with good X-ray films. Often a contrast medium such as barium will be required for the X-ray study. Some routine laboratory tests were done to make sure the dog was not seriously dehydrated and that organ systems were working well. Surgery is usually required for the management of intestinal obstruction. An untreated obstruction is usually fatal.

Surgery

If an intestinal obstruction is suspected the dog will usually be taken to surgery, an i.v. fluid administration line inserted, antibiotics administered and anesthesia given. Once the doctor is able to get a look inside your dog they can determine/confirm where the obstruction is. It is interesting to note that smooth, rounded objects such as golf balls, marbles, coins and beads have a higher chance of obstructing the intestinal tract than irregularly shaped and sharp objects. If a smooth rounded foreign object gets into the intestinal tract, the intestinal muscles seem to go into a spasm and constrict around the object, thereby creating an obstruction. Usually when a sharp object enters the intestinal tract the sharp or pointed object will stimulate the intestinal wall to "back off" from constricting around it. Eventually such items as wire fragments, bone shards, tacks and nails will make their way to the larger and more spacious colon to be passed out in the stool. However, some sharp objects are also known to penetrate the intestinal wall and can lead to infection. Severe inflammation and swelling is usually present and the blood supply can become blocked. The surgeon, in each case, will make the determination on whether it is best to remove an entire section of the obstructed intestine or if an incision over the obstruction and removal through the incised intestinal wall. Occasionally, if there is severe necrosis (death) of the intestinal tissue over an obstruction, the damaged section needs to be removed entirely and the open ends of the intestine are then sutured back to together at a point where healthy tissue is present. After surgery your dog will continue to receive intravenous fluids until he is able to eat and drink without vomiting. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication for pain as well as antibiotics to prevent infection. Depending upon the severity of the obstruction your dog will need to be hospitalized anywhere from 24 hours to 5 days.

Home Care

Once your dog is able to eat and drink without vomiting, he’ll be able to come home. Be sure to give all medication as prescribed by your veterinarian and periodically check the incision. Sutures are generally removed in 7-10 days. Until then, do not allow your dog to lick or chew at the sutures – an Elizabethan collar may be necessary. You should also watch the incision for swelling or discharge. Your dog will need to be fed a bland diet for 2-3 days and gradually return to a normal diet. Baby food and prescription bland diets are typically recommended. Contact your veterinarian if your dog refuses to eat or begins vomiting.

Preventative Care

The best way to prevent your dog from ingesting foreign bodies is to prevent access to objects that could be swallowed. Keep dangerous objects away from your dog and allow him to chew only on toys that cannot be swallowed. Never let him play with string or clothing.

If you suspect that your dog may have ingested something that may not pass through his intestinal tract, contact your veterinarian. One recommendation that we give out is to feed your dog canned pumpkin. The pumpkin will coat the object and help 'grease' its way thru their gastro intestional tract. Waiting until your pet starts to vomit will make removal of the foreign material more difficult and costly.

If you know your dog has ingested something it shouldn't, call your vet or the Poison Information Hotline. They may suggest that you induce vomiting. To induce vomiting you can use either Hydorgen Peroxide or Ipecac Syrup (1 cc per 2 to 4 pounds).

Do this ONLY under the direction of your vet or the Poison Information Hotline.

Allergies

Coming soon

© copyright My Dog Won't Eat.com 2002. All rights reserved. Updated June 11, 2003 home