Grass seeds carrier of harmful Nocardia bacteria - Lanny's survival story

Lanny is the sweetest natured Border Collie that you can imagine. Her owner had recently lost her husband after a long illness and Lanny had been very close to him and was therefore a very important family member.

Lanny had been sick for a few weeks and was referred to us from a practice in the Adelaide Hills. She had lost a lot of weight and had a swollen tummy, tests suggested she might have peritonitis.

Despite being very unwell she was a model patient and quickly became a favourite with our staff. Further tests showed that she was very anaemic, her abdomen was swollen with fluid and her protein levels were extremely low. An ultrasound examination of her tummy showed that she had a very abnormal spleen and large lymph nodes.

Lanny needed an operation to explore her tummy but her blood count was so low that she needed a blood transfusion first. Her operation went well and showed massive infiltration over her spleen and abdominal lymphatics with an unknown disease process. It could have been cancerous or an infection. Samples were taken to have analysed a the lab and she was treated with high levels of antibiotics.

Lanny's condition was critical for the days following her operation and she needed extra blood to keep her count up. She always tried very hard to get up and move about and always had a wag of her tail.

Her lab tests confirmed a very severe bacterial infection. The bacteria (Nocardia) is notorious for causing serious internal infections and can often be carried into the body by penetrating grass seeds.

Lanny continued to improve with antibiotic treatment. Here blood count and protein levels improved and she went home 5 days after her operation. Gradually she put weight back on, lost the fluid from her tummy and got her energy back. She needed 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment to eliminate the infection but it was not until 8 weeks after her operation that she was acting like her old self again.

Lanny is a great example of how the body can repair itself after a severe infection has caused a lot of internal damage. The lymphatic pathways that drain fluid from the tummy were severely blocked in Lanny but with long term treatment they can repair themselves.

Lanny showed great fighting spirit and it was great to see her get well again.
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