Twisted Speen, Splenic Torsion, Splenectomy, Canine Bloat, Canine GDV, Torsion, Gastric Dilation in Dogs, Gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome (GDV), Gastric Torsion, Belgian Shepherd Dog, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Berger Belge, Belgische Schäferhunde, Belgisk Fårehund, Belgische Herdershonde, Belgiske Hyrdehunde, Belgijskih Ovcara, Belgisk Vallhund, Belgianpaimenkoira, Groenendael, Laekenois - Malinois, Tervueren, Pastor Belga

Dylan ~ Belgian Shepherd Groenendael ~ Born 30th June 2007

Splenic Torsion & Splenectomy

What happened leading up to surgery....

Thursday 7th May 2009 I got home from work a litter later than normal, so the dogs were fed approx 8 to 8.30pm, they are usually fed fresh meat - chicken necks/frames etc and sometimes dry food if I was short on fresh meat. Dylan was used to being fed both, but usually one or the other, this night he had chicken and some dry food, not the usual Science Diet or Eagle Pack but a different (cheaper brand) that I have used a couple of times and have on hand to use when the fresh meat is running out (after this I will no longer use this brand, just in case there is a relationship).

Not long after feeding he started whining and was restless and uncomfortable (my dogs all usually settle down for a nap after being fed late). After checking him over I found his stomach was VERY tender and was noticeably enlarged from the feel and from looking down from above), I have never seen bloat before but was concerned that that is what it could be, so called the local after hours vet and he met us at the surgery, the vet examined him, agreed he was tender in stomach (Dylan peed a little when he was feeling his stomach, maybe from pain? urine dark yellow), he didn't think is was bloat as he thought he'd have blown up a lot bigger by then, took x-rays, which he said didn't indicate bloat as gas not in normal bloat area of stomach? (he showed me a diagram in medical textbook to try to describe what he meant). There appeared to be a mass of some sort in the lower intestine/bowel, vet had another feel (externally) and said he could feel something there as well ..... Dylan had not been trying to throw up (but had been eating grass after he had eaten) and he had had bowel movements through the day, as there was evidence in his run.

More info - as well as the sore tummy he was stretching out his back legs one at a time now and then, Temperature was 39.5C, he was drooling, was lethargic and was trying to curl up under the table in the vet surgery (not like him), colour of gums OK. Vet gave him a morphine injection for the pain, rimadyl and something else (can't remember what) while I was there, he then threw up a fair amount of the food and grass he'd had. The vet felt he needed to have surgery to remove what he thought was a blockage from the bowel. So with much deliberation I left him there overnight (well what remained of it anyway as is was after midnight by then) on a drip and the vet was going to check on him every couple of hours and the plan was for him to do surgery as soon as more staff came in to assist him. He was to ring me in the morning to give me an update prior to the surgery and make sure I wanted him to go ahead with it after I spoke with Dylan's co-owner. But, when he rang (approx 10am) he said that he could no longer feel the lump that he'd felt last night, he'd taken him for a walk so he could go to the toilet, which he did (urine normal colour and flow). The vet still wanted to do exploratory surgery but we agreed that he take another x-ray and bloodwork first (which hadn't been done yet).
Bloodwork pretty normal, X-ray showed movement through stomach/intestine, couldn't see mass seen last night, temperature 38.9C, vet concerned gums very red, still VERY tender in tummy, vet still advising exploratory surgery - what to do?, should we go ahead with the surgery (which the vet felt should be done asap), have them monitor him further, take him home and watch him myself or what? At this stage it was about 19 hours since he ate........ After much thought it was decided the best thing was to do the surgery because there was definitely something wrong.

The result, he had a twisted spleen, which was removed, the vet said he'd seen this in horses before but hadn't come across it in dogs. My normal vet (that I'd rung earlier for advise and then to tell him of the result), seemed to think that it probably resulted from a partial torsion (bloat) of the stomach. The surgery went well and he didn't find any dead tissue etc - Dylan spent the night at the vets again and most of the next day, we picked him up at 6.30pm the following day (Saturday).

Update: Sunday 10th May - Dylan is very tender (he is on painkillers and antibiotics and I have added Homeopathic calming medication and he is now resting well and eating small meals.
Saturday night after we got him home he was very unsettled, I was worried he was going to pull the stitches out if not from chewing them, then from racing around and throwing himself down. He was also licking at his tummy and the suture line (which is quite long) was bleeding, I tried an Elizabethan collar on him, which just made him more stressed and he removed it each time anyway, I then tried a T Shirt over him, which he got off within minutes, then had a brain wave (amazing it still worked seeing as I was so stressed) - Homeopathic calming tablets, which seemed to do the trick and keep him settled....


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