Friday, September 2, 2011

576. Walk The Talk - parvoviral infection in a Maltese puppy

"It is impossible to collect blood from the Maltese puppy," my assistant Min told me. "The blood just will not flow out from the vein."

The 2-month-old Maltese puppy was warded 18 hours ago for vomiting and diarrhoea by a dog breeder yesterday at 8 pm. Vet 1 gave an antibiotic and anti-vomiting injection.

The young lady turned up at 12 noon today to check out her puppy. There was no diarrhoea. I brought her to see her puppy in the crate. She had got him 5 days ago from the breeder and everything was OK till her mother gave the puppy an egg on the 5th day.

At the crate, he was inactive but standing. Suddenly he vomited yellow froth.

Based on the history of one vaccination, I suspected that this puppy had parvoviral infection. In any case of puppies having vomiting and diarrhoea, the process of examination should include faecal parvoviral test. However since this puppy was billed to the breeder, he had not wanted parvoviral and blood test to be done.

I took over the case since the owner came and would accept responsibility of payment for the treatment had this done today although the puppy was no longer purging. The test was positive.

I phoned the owner to let her know the bad news. I had earlier told her that the puppy had pale gums and was losing blood internally. "Parvoviruses are puppy killers," I said. "Chances of survival are very slim." She had given permission for blood test

So I had the blood test to be collected. As the puppy was dehydrated, the blood was dark blue and thick. So my assistant and another could not suck n blood and came to let me know. The cephalic vein could have had collapsed and this 850-g Maltese and so it was very hard to draw blood.

What to do? Just forget about it?

"Blood can be collected from the jugular vein," I said. "Have you collected blood from the jugular vein in the cow in Myanmar?" My assistant Min who is graduated as a vet in Myanmar said no. I had collected blood from the jugular vein in a few hundred racehorses when I was a horse vet and could apply the same procedure in collecting blood from the puppy. Depress the jugular grove and the base of the neck near the scapula.

I walk the talk. "Use a 1-ml syringe," I coached Min who always uses 2.5 ml syringe as a standard. "Push the piston in and out to ensure it moves freely." As one assistant held the puppy's head, the other pressed the jugular grove. I inserted the orange 25G needle into the distended jugular vein. Thick dark brown blood of near 0.8 ml was sucked out.

This is a very rare occasion I collect blood from the jugular vein of a 850-gram puppy. The blood is important to assess the viral infection of the blood system and the overall health of this puppy. The puppy pressed his head against the crate side. This was not a good sign as it could indicate "headache" or pain as I had seen many of such presentations in puppies with severe distemper viral infections.

Walk the talk is important if one is to lead. Or seek expertise to help.

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