The Story of Mama
Mama is a 13 year old spayed female Labrador Retriever that has an illustrious life story and also came very close to death. She came to our hospital after her owners found her suddenly collapsed at home. After calling and speaking to one of our receptionists on the phone, her owners were told to come in immediately. The triage nurse in our Emergency Department found Mama to be in shock and rushed her to the treatment area where she was found to have a low blood pressure and a distended, fluid filled abdomen.
After a careful and quick assessment of her condition by Dr. Schlesinger, she was treated with aggressive fluid therapy while monitoring closely her heart rate, breathing, gum color, blood pressure, and lab work. It was after fluid therapy and her follow-up lab work, and radiographs that we found she had massive internal blood loss.
We then had to work to find why she was losing blood and also continue to stabilize her with multiple blood and plasma transfusions from our in-house blood bank. Mama was also kept on a continuous electrocardiogram which was watched by nurses 24 hrs a day as she had abnormalities in her heart rate and rhythm from the blood loss.
Within hours of her presentation to VESCONE, she was taken to surgery where it was confirmed that her intra-abdominal hemorrhage was due to a very large tumor on her spleen. Her spleen was removed and sent for biopsy and she recovered from anesthesia without event.
Over the next two days, she went from being recumbent, poorly responsive and extremely critical to standing at the front her cage, barking for attention and accepting pats from all of her new admirers. It was clear that Mama was a true fighter and a very brave dog.
On later discussions with her owners, we realized just how much of a survivor Mama was. She started out life in Belgium but then moved with her previous family to Rwanda. During the conflict there, her previous family was forced to flee the country, leaving Mama and her son, Puppy, to fend for themselves. They survived on their own in the compound where they lived with their previous owners for 3-4 months and were found by a social worker, who happened to be friends with her current family. He took care of Mama and Puppy for a little while until her new family made their acquaintance. They then left for Zimbabwe and finally moved to the Boston area. Since coming here, her life had been fairly uneventful until she arrived at VESCONE. We are glad to be able to say that she is doing well and continuing to spread joy to all that meet her.
Mama was a true hero as she has survived against all odds many times over.
She has given nothing but love and sweetness to all who have known her –she is one of VESCONE’s VSPs, Very Special Patients!