About 2 months ago I saw a wonderful little dog who was just not feeling right. He was moving a little slowly and not eating as vigorously as usual. We found a fever, increased respiratory rate and a worsened heart murmur. Chest x-rays revealed a little area of abnormal lung tissue and blood work showed a very high white blood cell count. This all suggested a bit of pneumonia, and when he got better on antibiotics, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I am one who really likes to recheck my patients, even when they seem to feel okay. Buddy was a very happy guy 30 days after we started treatment, but his follow-up tests showed continued high white cells and still a little funny area in his lungs. He started to slow down again and this time, antibiotics did not help. Buddy was a typical animal patient – no complaining, which means no specific signs or symptoms for me to pursue. Once he vomited, we decided to check into his abdominal organs and there we found a tumor in his right kidney with spread to the liver. We now knew that the fuzzy spot in his lungs was tumor also.
While this story doesn ™t end well for Buddy, it illustrates the importance of following up on abnormal tests – and running screening tests on seemingly well pets. Animals hide disease well and we must be vigilant detectives to find it! The doctors at Animal Care Clinic are dedicated to helping your pets live long and healthy lives. Come visit us.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP