Archie, a 4 year old Labrador, came to the Clayton Le Dale Veterinary Hospital as an emergency on the 19th May. He had gone off his food and had been vomiting every 30 minutes for more than 6 hours.
He was weak, extremely feverish (his temperature was almost 42C) and he had a very painful abdomen. He could barely walk a few steps without wanting to lie down. A blood test showed very high liver enzymes and white blood cells. He was given strong pain relief and underwent an ultrasound scan of his abdomen; particularly focusing on his liver.
Archie had a peritonitis; a large amount of infected fluid around his internal organs which is an extremely painful condition. Unfortunately for Archie, it appeared his gall bladder had burst open and so he was rushed into surgery. Surgery confirmed his gall bladder was full of gall stones, and had indeed ruptured causing a bile peritonitis, which is fatal if not caught in time. His gall bladder was surgically removed with part of his liver, as this was also very infected and damaged. The infected material in his abdomen was flushed out, and a drain was placed into his abdomen to clear his peritonitis. He remained in hospital for a few days until he started eating on his own. He was then sent home to recover and be looked after by his lovely family, including his brother Mac.
Archie has since been back to see the vet for his post operative checks and repeat blood tests and we are absolutely delighted to report that he is doing really well. He is back to playing (and more importantly eating) happily with his brother.
Archie’s condition would have been fatal without rapid intervention. He was extremely brave the whole way through his time with us, and has been the most perfectly handsome inpatient and a pleasure to look after. We are all so pleased he has recovered and can’t wait to hear how he continues to do well, gall bladder or no gall bladder!
Why did Archie get this? Could it have been prevented?
The gall bladder is an organ found next to a dog’s liver. Within the gall bladder is bile, a product which is normally released into the intestine to help breakdown fats. Gall bladder disease is not particularly common in dogs, especially in young dogs. It can be associated with underlying diseases such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an excessive steroid hormone production (Cushings disease) but Archie did not have these problems. Archie did have gall bladder stones (gallstones) which we think caused an obstruction leading to its rupture. However gall stones do not always cause a problem and a lot of dogs will have them and be absolutely fine. There is nothing particular the owner could have done to prevent this. If you would like any more information on gall stones, please speak to one of our vets who will be happy to discuss with you.
The Myerscough Vet Team.
Top left – black area is fluid (the fatal bile peritonitis) surrounding the liver lobes
Top right – infected gall bladder with gall stones
Bottom left – the gall bladder with a hole in it and the gall stones
Bottom right – Archie feeling better after surgery