Pancreatitis Panic for Heidi's Owners


Heidi was first seen at Vetwest Ballajura when her owners noticed she wasn’t interested in her food and was vomiting.  When she was seen by Dr Sarah she had jaundiced (yellow) gums and an uncomfortable abdomen.  Heidi had blood tests taken immediately which showed an increase in the parts of the test associated with pancreas, liver and gall bladder disease.  Heidi was booked in for an abdominal ultrasound and this confirmed she had pancreatitis which was causing an obstruction of her bile duct.

Medical treatment was started for her condition, which involved intravenous fluids, anti – vomiting injections, antibiotics and pain relief.  After 3 days of intensive treatment, Heidi was showing no significant improvement in her condition, and follow-up blood tests at this stage were worse than her initial blood tests, indicating that her bile duct had completely blocked.

The following day she was transferred to Vetwest Currambine for a cholecystoduodenotomy, which is a surgery that allows the bile duct to bypass the site of the obstruction.  Although this is a major surgery with a 30% mortality rate there was no other option for Heidi.  The surgery went well but the next day her vomiting worsened so she was transferred to Perth Veterinary Emergency for monitoring.  After a further 24hrs of hospitalization she was doing well enough to be discharged.

3 days after returning home Heidi's condition deteriorated, she was lethargic, not willing to eat and had started vomiting. A repeat ultrasound at Vetwest Currambine showed she had developed inflammation around the surgery site and had lost the normal motility of her small intestine. Heidi was immediately admitted back into hospital, where after 5 days of intensive medical treatment her abdominal inflammation had settled and she had regained some of her intestinal mobility. It was a very happy day for everyone when Heidi started to eat by herself and was well enough to be discharged home. 

From the day of discharge, there has been no looking back for Heidi and five months later Heidi is continuing to do very well, with no signs of her previous illness or the seriousness of her surgery.  According to her owners, she is back to normal, and nothing like the dog who had almost died earlier in the year.

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