Almost a year since Ambaa nearly died of cold she suddenly became poorly
again. Over the last few weeks Ambaa has been eating less and less and pooing
less and less too. In the last few days the only thing she would eat was live
mealworms. She stopped being interested in anything else and had stopped eating
any fruit, nuts or veggies. She also started licking every surface she could
find; skirting, walls, carpets and especially radiator valves! Also her poos had
become very small, dry and dark. She was still weeing but again only small
amounts. She also had a bloated tummy, not surprising as she was not passing
much. Her tummy feels quite normal. It wasnt tight or stretched and there
didnt appear to be any lumps or masses in it. She didnt appear to be
in any pain. She was still bright eyed and active and she ran and climbed about,
when Jaali lets her! as normal.
In case it was just the winter blues
the heating and humidity in her house were increased. She seems to enjoy this
but it didnt make her start eating again.
As she wasnt improving she had to go the the vet and after an initial
examination the vet was very concerned and said that he didnt think there
would be a positive outcome. He detected a lot of fluid in Ambaas tummy
and though it was either liver problems, heart problems or a tumour.
Ambaa was booked in the very next day for a range of x-rays and
other tests. The plan was to x-ray her and do a blood test and an ECG. Then
drain the fluid and do another x-ray to compare before and after.
The tests threw up a few surprises and by 11:30 permission was given to open
her up to examine her gut. The operation was only supposed to last about 45
minutes but in the end lasted three hours as Ambaa required some really
complicated surgery. Thankfully she survived this but the post operative period
is a high risk time, especially after such a long operation.
The blood tests, which were done first, didnt show any abnormalities
other than that she hadnt been getting proper nourishment from her food
for a while. Most importantly they didnt show any indication of liver
problems. The suspected fluid on her abdomen turned out to be mostly gas and
only a little fluid. This indicated that the heart was probably OK too and the
ECG confirmed this. With the gas and the fluid drained the vet could get a clear
x-ray of Ambaas abdomen this didnt show an obvious problem but there
was a suggestion of a problem and the vet was able to feel a lump once he know
where to look.
An incredible operation
The only way to investigate further was to open Ambaa up. The vet found that
a section of the upper intestine had folded round on itself and fused causing a
complete blockage. Ambaas stomach was full of food and hugely distended
but the muscle still looked healthy but the section of intestine above the
blockage was 10 times the normal diameter. The vet could easily remove the fused
section but there was no way that he could join the two ends together because of
the damage to the upper section. What he did was to sew up the two ends and make
a new opening in the side of the stomach and a new opening in the side of the
healthy upper intestine and join the two together to make a new exit from the
stomach to the upper intestine. Once the reconstruction was complete they were
able to observe that food was passing from the stomach to the upper intestine
via the new opening and nothing was leaking.
However surviving the surgery is one thing but there is still a long way to
go. Ambaa took a long time to recover from the anaesthetic and was on oxygen for
a while. The vet has warned that theres no guarantee that the
reconstruction will hold up and theres also the risk that the problem
could reoccur. The vet did check the rest of her gut out and everything else
looked completely normal. The bit theyve removed is going off to histology
to see if we can find out what caused it to fuse.
24 hours on from the operation and Ambaa is back at home. Still groggy, very
sore and, so far, not eating or drinking properly. She has eaten a very few
things and been force fed her pain killers and antibiotic. Shes also
passed a small sticky poo.
The vet is hoping that shell be eating and pooing normally in the next