My parents are in town this weekend, which means that we actually Go Out and Do Things instead of our normal weekend of bumming around. I was pretty excited to learn that the Sculpture Garden is dog-friendly, so we headed over there.
Obligatory shot with the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.
It was shaping up to be a pretty nice afternoon, strolling among the art, when Maisy squatted and peed red. That's right- several ounces of rust-colored urine came out of my dog's bladder. A few minutes later, she squatted again, and this time, there were four or five drops of blood. Thick, bright red blood.
Our Facebook followers already know that we went to the emergency vet.
I'm lucky enough to live in a large urban area with an abundance of emergency vets, so there are many options for us. We ended up going to the the U of M both because it was closest and because Maisy's been there before for her veterinary behaviorist appointments. I hoped that meant she'd feel comfortable.
I think she was.
I felt kind of silly when they were taking Maisy's history. She was being her new-found outgoing self, and I was telling them that she's followed by the behavior clinic as an aggressive dog. I denied any pain, lethargy, or behavior changes, and she was being super calm. (Okay, so yes, she took a nap at the clinic, but then she came home and played ball with my dad for like three hours. Despite appearances to the contrary, her energy level has been completely normal.)
The vet took me seriously when I said that she was almost literally peeing blood, and decided to get some urine and do a culture. Unfortunately, in order to do a culture, the urine has to be sterile. And to be sterile, it needs to be obtained via cystocentesis, where they poke a needle through the abdomen, into the bladder, and draw out the urine. Not only is this more invasive than I like to be, but it needs to be done under the guidance of an ultrasound (to ensure they're in the right spot), and the machine is in the dreaded back. I asked to go back with Maisy, but there was another dog in the back with a life-threatening emergency, so they didn't want anyone extra getting in the way. Reluctantly, I handed over Maisy's leash and a fistful of treats and sent her off.
By all accounts, Maisy did well. They ended up muzzling her, which they were extremely apologetic about, but given her history at the U, I completely understood. I'm glad we've been playing around with muzzle training in class, but I wish we'd been more serious about it. I've shaped her to stick her nose in a (greyhound sized) muzzle, and last week I was putting pressure on her nose with it, but since it's hard to find a Maisy-sized muzzle, she'd never actually worn one before. Still, they said she let them put it on with no complaint, and that, aside from a drama-queen yelp when they stuck her with the needle, she laid very still and was a good patient.
Photo by Robin Sallie.
The urine they removed from her bladder was red and thick with sediment, and the results from the urinalysis and culture will be available tomorrow. In the meantime, they sent us home on a broad-spectrum antibiotic, because that much blood is pretty indicative of a UTI. Unfortunately, that's not the worst of it; both the emergency doctor and the critical care specialist saw some abnormal thickening of her bladder wall on the ultrasound (actually more like a lump), as well as some weird spots/dots in the bladder cavity. Since those spots are typically indicative of bladder stones, we ended up taking some x-rays to see if there were any (there weren't), so we're not really sure what's going on. It could be nothing- just an artifact of an older, unsophisticated ultrasound machine, or some inflammation from the raging UTI she apparently has. Or it could be more serious, like some crystals or stones that just didn't show up on the x-ray, or worse, a polyp or tumor. We just don't know.
The vet recommended we see an internal medicine specialist next week to discuss further diagnostics- either an in-depth ultrasound with a specialist and a better machine, or a contrast dye study to illuminate the structures better- and so we have an appointment back there on Wednesday. Add today's (expensive) visit, and an already scheduled follow-up with the veterinary behaviorist at the end of the month, and I'm thinking this is going to be one expensive month.
Oh well. She's worth it. Even if she does give me a gray hair between now and then as I worry about what that mysterious lump in her bladder might be.