by Dr. Abigail Roeters
Many of you have met our honorary receptionist Lemon who spends most of her days lounging behind the receptionist desk and accepting treats as payment. As some of you may know there is a reason behind her name and here is her story.
Lemon was presented to my previous clinic as a neglect case from the local police department when she was about 12 weeks old. Her right hind leg was extremely swollen, warm to the touch and had green discharge draining from a hole on the inside of her leg. She also had a grade 5/6 heart left-sided heart murmur. Radiographs were taken and revealed she had multiple fractures of her right femur that of which she had not received any medical care. Radiographs of her chest revealed an extremely enlarged heart.
Initially medical management with pain medications, antibiotics as well as laser therapy treatments were started to clear up her infection and decrease the inflammation. The police department had proceeded with legal actions towards her previous owners and so Lemon lived in the clinic for a few weeks while these proceedings were taking place. This was the time that I and everyone who had met her fell in love with her. Her previous owners ended up relinquishing her to our clinic as they could not afford to treat her medically. By the time she was relinquished I had fallen in love with her and decided to adopt her.
Seeing as she had a high grade heart murmur and enlarged heart on radiographs, I pursued a consult with a cardiologist to determine the severity of her heart condition. The cardiologist performed an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) which revealed that Lemon had severe aortic and pulmonic stenosis (narrowing) of her heart. This is a congenital heart condition (birth defect). Unfortunately the prognosis for this condition was not the news I wanted to hear. Approximately 85% of dogs with her condition usually pass away within the first 2 years of life due to an arrhythmia (abnormal beating pattern) of the heart.
After speaking with the cardiologist about Lemon’s fracture, it was decided that amputation would give her the best chance at living a life pain free. Precautions were taken in her anesthetic choices since she was at a higher risk of complication due to her heart condition. Luckily her leg amputation procedure went smoothly and she was also spayed at the same time.
Since her amputation Lemon has been living her best life. Lemon’s long term prognosis with her heart condition is not a good one, but I am focusing on giving her the best life I can for as long as I can. At this point Lemon seems to living life to the fullest and getting spoiled rotten by everyone she meets. She may be a lemon, but when life gives you lemons….it could be the best thing that ever happened to you!