Patching up Patches

Patching up Patches

UF veterinarians help pregnant dachshund with pancreatitis

By Sarah Carey

Dachshund breeder Dale Flowers has weathered many a journey with her dogs, shepherding them through pregnancies, even letting them sleep in her bed at night just weeks before their due date. But the medical odyssey she recently went through with Patches, named for her unique dappled marking, was unlike any other.

Thanks to treatment at UF’s Pet Emergency Treatment Services in Ocala and follow-up at the Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville, a very-pregnant Patches survived a near-fatal bout with pancreatitis. And not only did she survive; she gave birth within days of her discharge to three puppies, two of which survived and are healthy.

“Patches and the pups are doing fine,” Flowers said on April 1, when the puppies were 6-and-a-half weeks old. “I am very pleased with Patches’ progress and thank UF again for saving her and her babies.”

But the happy ending to Patches’ saga could have easily gone the other way. UF veterinarians came close to spaying Patches due to the severity of her illness, which would have meant sacrificing the babies to save her life, with uncertain impact on Patches. Veterinarians wrestled with the best way to proceed, involving specialists from three different services, said Leo Londoño, D.V.M., a resident in emergency and critical care.

Londoño first saw Patches when she was admitted at the PETS after-hours emergency clinic and continued to work with the dog after her transfer to Gainesville for specialty treatment.

Ultimately, veterinarians’ decision to administer aggressive therapy and give Patches more time to respond to it resulted in Patches’ and her puppies’ survival. In addition, the relationship between the two UF clinics involved in her care allowed for a seamless transfer to Gainesville and access to the full house of experts available at the main Small Animal Hospital.

Patches’ ordeal started on Jan. 30, when Flowers found her prized 5-year-old dog on the ground and obviously in pain. Patches was hyperventilating and would not eat, Flowers said. When her condition didn’t improve after a few days of treatment, Flowers’ local veterinarian referred the dog to UF.

Veterinary specialists from UF’s emergency and critical care, small animal surgery and theriogenology services were involved in Patches’ case, illustrating UF’s multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and case management, Londoño said.

Flowers said the ordeal was an emotional roller coaster and one she hoped to never have to go through again.

“UF’s care of Patches was very good,” she said. “Everyone from the front desk to teams in the ICU knew Patches and had nice things to say about her. I received daily reports, sometimes twice daily, from Dr. Londoño, and I greatly appreciated that.”