I have an 8-year old intact female German Shepherd who was just diagnosed with pyometria today. As I live on a fixed income and don't have the 1200.00 immediately to pay for her surgery, the office sent us home with cipro to start getting her ready. My question, since I am really concerned and want her to be as comfortable as possible for the next day or two, is what kinds of palliative measures can I take to help her in the short-term?For further background, she presented with a temp of 103 and a raging thirst accompanied by frequent, urgent urination. She also has, I understand fortunately, a significant amount of vaginal discharge.Nothing is going to REALLY improve until that infection can come out, but I am just so desperate to help her feel as comfortable as possible!! Please help me!Sarah
Type of Animal: German Shepherd Dog
Pet's Gender: Female
Pet's Age: 8 years, 4 months
I have been making sure she has plenty of fresh water, a comfortable place inside to rest and small, but frequent bites of food and treats that she will tolerate. She is refusing her regular large meals. I am also making sure to let her outside to relieve herself as she is very unhappy when she goes in the house. I want to preserve her dignity as much as possible.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael SalkinSarah, do you happen to have a narcotic at home that I might be able to give a dose for? Pain relief is important in these dogs as is allowing unlimited water intake and feeding her anything she wants. Thank goodness she has an open pyometra. Her being able to drain out the uterine exudate buys her time. Please note that you do have an alternative to surgery. We've had success in treating open pyometra with prostaglandin F-2alpha (Lutalyse). It's not a walk in the park to be treated in this manner but should be considered when financial constraints will delay surgery and put her at risk. Side effects of this treatment include hypersalivation, emesis, diarrhea, tremor, ataxia, tachypnea (increased respiratory rate) tachycardia (increased heart rate) and even hypovolemic shock (blood pressure drops due to dehydration) but these side effects can be avoided if treatment is extended over many days in which lower doses of the prostaglandin are administered. I'll await your response.
Thank you Dr. Salkin. I do NOT have a narcotic for animals. Can we use a human narcotic? I am actually disabled myself and I use methodone (10 mg) for pain relief. I have oxycodone/apap for break-through pain but that won't work because of the additive. I HAVE given her baby aspirin, but I am fairly certain I haven't given her enough to make any difference in her level of pain.I am committed to the surgery, largely because I clearly don't intend to breed her and I need to minimize any upkeep I have in my home. When she is in heat it's pretty messy as you can imagine. I am aware of the prostaglandin therapy, but I honestly do NOT trust the local vet with the treatment. It's a bit of an involved story, but suffice it to say I am outside of any major metropolitan area at present. I refer to my town as "Mayberry."Before my physical condition deteriorated I did a good amount of my animal's care myself, as I trained as a paramedic and worked closely with the vet who provided my animal's care at the time. I am fairly comfortable providing medications and more specific care. If it's possible to use my methodone or more 81 mg aspirin I would like to do so. And I realize I am doing so at my own risk, and my usage implies informed consent. THANK YOU!!
Also, Vivi is 87 pounds. I forgot to include that information.
Yes, a human narcotic is OK but neither oxycodone nor methodone are commonly used in dogs. I found a dose of 0.05mg/lb (4.35mg for an 87lb dog but check the acetaminophen dose!) for oxycodone upon an internet search and doses up to 4X that appear to be safe. Acetaminophen is OK at a dose of 7mg/lb (609mg for an 87lb dog) for no more than 5 days, so dose your oxycodone/apap based upon the safe acetaminophen dose. It can be administered every 8-12 hours if necessary. Methodone is dosed at 0.15-0.5mg/lb safely (13-43mg for an 87lb dog). Aspirin can be given concomitantly with a narcotic at a dose of 7mg/lb twice daily. I'm pleased that you're committed to surgery. It certainly is the best option. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
UC Davis graduate veterinarian with 41 years of experience
Thank you very much for this information. I will use it, and hope that it gives my best-friend-with-paws some relief tonight. I don't really have any further questions as your responses have been very thorough. I'm really fascinated with this process and I'm very glad it was available tonight! It makes a lot of sense to allow for willing experts to be 'on-call' after practice hours and while it doesn't seem to be much in terms of remuneration I suppose every little bit helps. I hope I DON'T need your services again any time soon, but I do have two dogs so you never know. I've had long-coated GSDs for some years and these two were a gift to me after my diagnosis of ovarian cancer eight years ago. The feeling was that I would HAVE to stay alive to take care of puppies. It worked! Gives a new meaning to the concept of therapy dogs. I am young to be on the disabled list, but life is good when you have dogs and friends.Thank you again for your help tonight. I believe the whole pack will be able to get some rest now.Mahalo!Sarah Mason
You're quite welcome, Sarah. By best to your dogs as well as to you.