Bella, a 5-year-old Chihuahua, came to our Racine ER because she had vomited several times, had bloody diarrhea, stopped eating, was lethargic, and started to have neck pain.

Upon examination, Dr. Karch found that Bella was in critical condition. She had pyometra, an infection in the uterus that is extremely serious and life threatening, and needed to be treated quickly and aggressively. Bella was admitted to the hospital for an ovariohysterectomy and supportive care. In addition, Bella had sepsis, low blood pressure, low body temperature, low blood sugar, and an abnormally low level of neutrophils (a common type of white blood cell important to fighting off infections), which significantly decreased her prognosis of a successful recovery.

Due to these factors, Bella was not stable enough for surgery and her owners had to make the difficult decision of waiting to see if she would get well enough to proceed or to end her suffering. A plasma transfusion helped to stabilize Bella enough to proceed with surgery. Although she was not an ideal surgical or anesthetic candidate (omit), her condition would definitely worsen rapidly without it.

Surgery with Dr. Reed went well and no additional concerns were found, however Bella was still in very critical condition, in danger of multiple organ dysfunction due to her extremely low blood pressure. After 24-hours there was a small improvement in her condition and Bella even had a slight tail wag and moved her legs when her owners visited, but was unable to stand. Later that day she was able to lift her head to look at them, however, the fact that she still was not moving or standing was a serious concern.

Because it was very hard for Bella to keep her body temperature up, Dr. Wiedmeyer knitted her a sweater to keep her warm.

Bella continued to fight and made great progress. Throughout the third and fourth day she started to be able to go outside to potty, her spirits were much brighter, she started to walk around more – even jumped in her owner’s lap when they visited, and was getting back to her normal sassy self according to her owner.

By the fifth day her blood work showed tremendous improvement. She was switched to oral medications and was able to go home that evening. Although it took a while longer for her to get back to her normal self, at her two week recheck Bella was playing with her owners, eating well, and gained nearly a pound. Bella even wore the sweater Dr. Wiedmeyer had knit for her when she came back for her rechecks at WVRC! We are so proud of how hard Bella fought to get back home with her family and we wish them all the best.