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Posted By: Ellen - Vet

Billie, the gentle giant needs surgery

Billie is a lovely Dogue de Bordeaux who came to visit us one Monday afternoon. She was not quite right and had a bloody fluid coming from her rear end. This rang some alarm bells with us as it is often a sign of a pyometra. This is an infection of the womb and can be very serious. It can become very enlarged, and filled with pus and cause them to become are unwell very quickly. She is a lovely gentle giant, and we were able to ultrasound scanned her abdomen without any sedation. We could not see any sign of a pyometra. She was started on a course of antibiotics for a mild infection suspected to be causing the problem.

Initially things improved, however the discharge returned apart from this time it was more like pus and she wasn’t feeling too well. She came back and we scanned her again, this time we could see an enlarged womb which showed us she had a pyometra. The first option for Billie was to undergo surgery to remove her uterus completely; this has the potential to resolve the problem but is a big surgery to undertake. The other option was to manage with medications, which should help to temporarily resolve the problem but it is likely to recur. The plan would have the been to spay her once the pyometra had resolved. Her owners decided to go ahead with the surgery as this had the potential for the best long term outcome for Billie.

We performed the surgery here and found, as we expected an enlarged uterus which we removed. The surgery was a little more challenging in Billie than in other smaller breeds, as she weighed nearly 60kilograms so had a very deep abdomen! What we did not expect to find was a mass in one of her ovaries. We managed to remove this as well at the time of surgery. It was sent away to a laboratory to determine what it was and whether it was a cancerous mass that was likely to spread to other places. Fortunately when the results came back they showed it was something called a granulosa cell tumour which had been removed completely. This kind of tumour produces hormones. This means that dogs with these kind of tumours are prone to getting infections of their uterus; sometimes they can be mild as Billie’s initially were. Other times they can develop into a pyometra. Fortunately for Billie her owners chose to pursue surgery which meant that we removed this tumour. Otherwise there is a very high chance the problem would have kept coming back.

Billie was initially doing very well. However a few days later her owner found her leaking small amounts of urine on her bed with some spots of blood. We were all a little worried about her, but we tested a urine sample and found that she had then developed a urinary tract infection. We started her on a course of antibiotics and within a few days of starting these she was feeling a lot better. Poor Billie had a tough few weeks, but we are very glad to have seen her back to her normal happy self again now. Seeing her look like this again has made it all worthwhile. 

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