Mocha presented to our ER for evaluation of lethargy, anorexia, fever, and developing edema (swelling) in her hind limbs. Bloodwork was done which revealed a low white cell count and a low blood sugar which is suggestive of a septic process. Sepsis is a systemic inflammatory response to a bacterial infection. Mocha was transferred over to our internal medicine department where Dr. Gillespie took on her case. Mocha’s blood glucose continued to drop so she was supplemented with IV fluids and dextrose.
Suspicious of an infection in the bloodstream causing the sepsis, she was also started on IV antibiotics. Mocha also had a low platelet count and started to develop bruising and her swelling was worsening which was likely due to her low level of platelets. The swelling became so painful Mocha was having a hard time walking. Mocha started having an allergic reaction which is most likely due to her sepsis (infection) triggering an immune reaction also known as anaphylactic shock. In dogs this reaction presents as leaky vessels, vasculitis, and swelling of internal organs. As a result, her IV fluids were decreased and IV epinephrine was started which Mocha responded very well to.
Mocha also received a plasma transfusion to help her battle her severe infection. Plasma was used from our life saving donor, Zaha. During her stay bloodwork was repeated which showed Mocha had responded well to her treatment due to the increase in white blood cells and platelets. Upon her discharge her bilirubin levels (jaundice marker) had increased significantly but her liver and kidney values looked very good. The increase was most likely due to the sepsis and recycling of cells through the liver that were being cleaned up from the damage in her rear legs due to swelling. Laser therapy was also performed on Mocha’s rear legs to help with the swelling and inflammation. She had several areas upon discharge that were starting to look necrotic (dead) and we were suspicious would slough off with time. We wanted her body to heal naturally though due to her low platelet count and we wanted her other parameters to normalize as well.
Once she was stabilized and we believed she could complete the rest of her recovery as an outpatient, Mocha was sent home on some antibiotics, pain medications, and gastrointestinal protectants with a recheck every few days. Mocha is now doing much better! Her energy levels are back up, her dead skin has sloughed off and new skin is beginning to grow and she is now able to move around a lot easier on her own!
Here are some more pictures of Mocha and her infection: