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PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 8735
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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Westie question phlegmona, He had a phlegmona but the vet

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Westie question phlegmona
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the dog?
Customer: He had a phlegmona but the vet didn't cut it open but waited a week before draining it. The dog stopped eating and constantly vomited. Then died with the symptoms of total organ failure like sepsis. Could it be the vet's mistake? Did he have to open it straight away without waiting for a week?
JA: Is your vet's dog bleeding a lot?
Customer: No He vomitted a lot
JA: What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: West highland scottish tarrier 12 years old. When I took him to the vet with a lump (wich grew within 24 hours) on his back, his health was fine and medical tests perfect, blood clean, even the vet said he was in perfect health for his age
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about West?
Customer: No
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The dog's name is***** vet first thought it was a tumor than at the time of operatio said it was na abscess which was drained. When the dog started to vomitt ond stopped eating the vet said it was just an acute gastritis which would go away. He lost almost 2 kg from initial 8 kg. Yet the dog died in horrible pain, in the last 24 hours his breathing was hard, stopped peeing, shake his body, had spasms, and had uncontrolled dhiarea with black liquidy stuff coming out of his bottom. I felt horrible when he stopped breathing and kissed him in the very last second of his life.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Do you have a copy of bloodwork that was performed?

Were any antibiotics utilized during this time? If so, what?

Do you have pictures of the area?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
All his results were fine, I don't have a copy of his blood test but the vet said that he was much younger than his age. He was taking Klavoxil
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The photo was taken when the vet shaved off his fur and sprayed the opening of the phlegmon with a greyish spray. He was then taking antibiotics for a week until the lump decreased and turned into a very soft, baggy lump filled with liquid. The vet drained ti then and he was still taking his antibiotics and corticosteroids but five days latter stopped eating and started vomitting. Do you think the vet should have cut it open straight away and then utilise antibiotics? I have the felling that the bacteria from the phlegmon just entered his bloodstream and damaged everyhting, because when I initially took him to the vet his blood and all organs were in perfect condition.

Differentiating a phlegmon from an abscess can be difficult. That said, a phlegmon is not a drainable so if this were truly a phlegmon and not an abscess then, no, just draining it would not have been an option. It's very possible that bacteria from the phlegmon did enter the blood stream, but your vet did what could have been done in this case by providing antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications to help your companion battle the affliction. Unfortunately, no matter how healthy the pet, there are some condition that will occur and will claim the life of a pet no matter how quickly we act.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you very much for your reply. Maybe even the antibiotics were too weak to fight the infection. I feel really horrible and cannot come to terms with his death especially because the vet had told me that the disease would not be lethal. At the time of his illness the dog just wanted to go out and dig holes and sit in them which was not his normal habit was this his instinct telling him of the end of his life?

Infections can be lethal, but typically are not. That said, we cannot predict how a pet may react to a bacterial infection which makes it even harder.

Digging holes is not a sign for the end of life. Some dogs do this because they feel unwell and want the comfort of a sunken bed, some because they prefer the cool earth against their coat, some dig holes to remedy stress or anxiety. It is, however, noting that is directly attached to impending death.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I have also read in some medical papers that phlegmon must be surgicaly removed as soon as possible and then antibiotics myst be applied. My vet initially thought it was a tumor, she didn't mention either phlegmon or abscess.

For dogs the typical approach is antibiotics and NSAIDs. I have yet to see a resection of tissue required to treat a phlegmon, but I presume the more severe cases might require such an approach. Typically we do try to do all we can before removing large volumes of skin, connective tissue, etc. as this can predispose a pet to other problems, as well.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
You are great! Thank you very much! Do you know why he then stopped eating and started vomitting at the moment when it seemed that everything was getting better the lump was drained, the wound healed an he had been on antibiotics for 12 days. On the 13th day he stopped eating

If he was septic at that point and/or his organs were failing, we would see an avoidance of eating and vomiting may start as well. We see this quite often with dysfunction in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, etc.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The vet claimed it was just acute gastritis because of the tablets that had upset his stomach and then continued with antibiotics in injections instead of tablets, he then even ate one day and went for normal walks and peed normally. The last four days he was taking antibiotics in injections and received infusion. In the last 24 hours he was breathing with difficulty and then everything failed.

It's possible that it could have been, but I think we would have seen that far before the 13th day.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The vet said that he did not have clinic signs of sepsis, just acute gastritis, but the vet did not conduct additional blood tests at that moment.

That certainly makes it quite difficult to know. That said, the black stool and symptoms mentioned could simply have been GI-related. I don't think there's any way to be sure. Antibiotics can be rough on the GI tract though it's a necessary evil for overcoming infection.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you so much! Do you know any resources or books on how to overcome the death of a pet. I am simply devastated, he was a member of my family almost able to talk.

I highly recommend the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement:

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you very, very much!
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Do you know what is the cause of plegmon?

Typically it occurs when there is damage to the skin whereby bacteria is introduced. This could be anything from trauma to just licking.

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