Pet of the Month: March 2012: “Shelby” Miracle, Maltese

Shelby Miracle“Shelby” Miracle – Maltese

Shelby is a mature Maltese dog who is lucky to have an incredibly devoted owner who recognized Shelby’s friendship at an early age. Shelby has been an insulin dependent diabetic and suffers from hypertension (high blood pressure). Due to her diabetes, Shelby developed cataracts, which were successively removed improving her vision. In 2011 Shelby required surgery to remove her left external and middle ear due to chronic infections. Shelby presented to our emergency department after experiencing several seizures and progressive mental and behavioral change.

Shelby was transferred to the Neurology Service under the care of Dr. Lane. Her seizures were controlled with the use of intravenous anticonvulsants. Shelby demonstrated severe brainstem deficit, which placed her life in jeopardy. Dr. Lane instituted aggressive intracranial pressor management in the face of her declining neurological status. With successful medical management, Shelby was stabilized and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of her brain was scheduled. This occurred 3 days after admission and aggressive intracranial therapy was instituted.

MRI revealed the presence of a pocket of fluid within the surgical field of the removed middle ear canal with destruction of the bone between the middle ear and the brain. The infection had spread inward to involve the brain. Meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) was present. Aggressive antibiotic and immunomodulant therapy was instituted to stabilize Shelby. Once stable, surgery was scheduled to remove as much of the infected middle ear cavity as possible and establish a channel for continued drainage of infectious material away from the brain. Following surgery, the surgery site was left open to allow for drainage and healing from the inside outward, during the healing process.

Shelby’s mother has been the perfect owner; she is incredibly diligent about monitoring the incision and ensuring that it remained clean at all times. Shelby spent a significant amount of time in the hospital, and once she was released, there were days that she was only released to spend an afternoon at home on the couch with her mom. She then had to come back and spend the night in the hospital. Shelby is now at home enjoying an outgoing and energetic lifestyle. Shelby comes back for outpatient rechecks on a regular basis.

Shelby Miracle is truly a success story for all pets and a testament to all pet owners who allow their companion animal to become a part of the family! Shelby’s mom never complained and was always willing to do whatever was going to be best for Shelby, as long as quality of life was met.

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