Avatar universal

Help! Spay complications for a one year old shih tzu!

I had my year old shih tzu, River,  spayed over two weeks ago. At first I thought she was having a bad pain reaction (ie low pain tolerance) and just taking longer than most dogs to heal. However, it's now been two weeks with little to no improvement. River barely eats or drinks and has lost 10% of her body weight since the spay. She's depressed, and not interested in anything. She refuses to climb stairs or walk very far. She now runs from me if she thinks I'm going to pick her up (like for the stairs), and she'll make is low cry when I do pick her up. Her back legs shake almost always now, and she'll randomly start panting or breathing heavily. Her incision site looks perfect and has healed almost entirely.

I went back to the vet yesterday and they preformed a blood test and an xray. Both came back normal. The vet said he had no idea why she's still sick and that they should do exploratory surgery because they might have left SURGICAL GAUZE INSIDE OF HER. He didn't offer any other possibilities.

Today, I took River to a second vet for another opinion. This vet couldn't find anything wrong with her either apart from a small fever. She prescribed antibiotics and a pain killer.

The first vet still wants to do surgery on Monday morning to see if there is anything wrong inside of her. I don't want to put her through another surgery if she doesn't need it.

Does anyone have any information about this? Anything helps right now because I have no idea what to do. I absolutely hate seeing my puppy in pain and I can't imagine losing her. She's my therapy dog and my reason for living at this point. I can feel her shaking against my legs as I write this post.

Please help!!
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Oh my, what a dilemma. I feel for you,  what a tough spot.
Myself, I would go with the anti biotics in case there is some infection, although, I believe that an infection should have shown up in the blood work. If it is from an infection, you should see some improvement, but it takes a couple days for them to 'start' taking effect.
Personally, I would go light on the pain meds. They could mask her reaction and give you a false sense of improvement.  Your only judgement of her condition is by her actions. If she were mine, I would do only half the prescribed amount. Even that should give some relief, but you don't want her to become used to, or addicted to, those, or to be 'acting' normal even if she isn't.
You want to CURE the cause, not cover it up.

Did the second vet have an opinion on the possibility of the gauze?  What problem it could cause, if any?

My heart goes out to you, I wish I had an answer as to which path to take. Please keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I feel terrible for you. What a tough decision.

Myself, I would give the antibiotics a shot. If there is an infection, you should see improvement in a few days. Although I would think an infection would have shown up in the blood work, unless they weren't looking for it.

If she were mine, I would only do half doses on the pain med. You really don't want pain killers covering up the symptoms and make you think she's doing better, when really she isn't.  You yourself can only judge how she is doing by how she acts. And you don't want her 'acting' better when she really isn't.  Plus you do not want her to get even slightly addicted to the pain med.

You want to cure the CAUSE of her discomfort, not cover it up.

Did the second vet offer any opinion on the possibility of the gauze being left in?  What problems it could cause if any?
I don't blame you a bit about another surgery.  Only if you absolutely have to.

You might inquire about 'ultra sound' as to whether or not it could detect any gauze. I don't know. I believe an MRI would, but they are expensive. But if someone thinks THEY might have left gauze in her, I would expect them to foot the bill.

Please keep us informed.  
To any moderator, feel free to delete this post. It is a duplicate, as I thought my first reply got deleted. Obviously it did not.
The second vet said it was unlikely that the first vet had messed up so badly. She knows him professionally and said that he's a good vet. River isn't showing any other signs that she has a foreign body inside of her; her belly is fine, and she doesn't exhibit pain when touching the area. There isn't blood in her stool, etc. The second vet said we could get an ultrasound but that's also not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, it could miss something.
The first vet said the second surgery would be free if they found something wrong that they had done.
Thanks for your help, like I said everything is appreciated.
974371 tn?1424653129
I am so sorry your little girl is having these problems.  The Vet didn't say her white count was elevated?  Any idea why the low grade fever? At least you have seen two Vets.  Was thinkng maybe the ureter was nicked.  I would try the antibiotics too and see if that might help in case there is some infection.  Not sure what you are feeding but you might try cooking up some chicken and rice and feed smaller amounts more often.  You could add some low sodium chicken broth.  I woukd not want her to have another surgery either but you may have no choice.  Hope she improves.  Please come back and update.
Her white blood cell count was slightly elevated, but not enough to be alarming. Her temperature was 40 degrees C, slightly elevated from normal. The second vet gave me some hill's a/d urgent care food and River scarfed down an entire can yesterday (today she isn't as interested).  She still isn't interested in real food like ham or chicken. Her mood seems to have picked up since taking the tramadol. She's taking baytril as the antibiotic.

I think at this point I'll go ahead with the surgery on Monday morning. The first vet seemed very intent on it, so it's easy enough to understand that they messed up. Suffice it to say, I will never be going back to that vet after this.  

Thanks for your input.
974371 tn?1424653129
The Tramadol is going to help with the pain, thus her better mood probably.  If there are internal stitches, maybe there is a oribkem with those.  Maybe the Baytril will help if there is some underlying infection.  If a second surgery will be necessarily, I hope he wouldn't charge you!!  
Please keep us updated.
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