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9-Year-Old Chihuahua Suffers Cystic Endometriosis

May 13, 2010
9-year-old black long-haired Chihuahua with big belly waits for her abdominal sonogram

Chihuahua Waiting for her abdominal sonogram

“We Think Our Chihuahua is Pregnant!”

Okay.  Veterinarians hear this often.  Here’s the checklist in Doc Truli’s mind of questions to go through before we decide if a nine-year-old Chihuahua is pregnant or not:

Girl?  Check.

Unspayed? Check.

In heat in the past 2 months?  “Well, she’s looked big in the back under her tail, and there have been strange male dogs camping out on the front lawn.” Hmmm…could be.

In heat for the past two months? “Yes!” That’s not normal…most Chihuahuas go into heat for 1-2 weeks at most.

Tied, or bred with a male dog? “We don’t know.” Veterinarians hear that a lot, too…

“So, you’re saying your 9-year-old female intact Chihuahua who has never had puppies before and only lives in the house has been in heat for 2 months, with bloody vaginal discharge, and now her belly is so big and tight, you are sure she must be pregnant because you can’t think of anything else that would cause the belly to get that big?” asked Doc Truli.  “Yeah!” said mom.

Eating well?  Feeling fine? No vomiting?  No diarrhea?  No coughing?  Check, check, check,check, check.

Chihuahua With Swollen Belly Undergoes Diagnostic Tests

Complete Blood Count, 25 Blood Chemistries, Heartworm Test

Laboratory bloodwork? Normal.  Hmmmm…..totally normal.  What are the odds of that in a nine-year old dog?  Well, according to Antech Diagnostic Laboratories, about 70%  This is distracting.

Let’s Go to Ultrasound and Take a Look!

Chihauhua lays on her back and has her grey belly fur clipped for the ultrasound examination

Chihuahua Belly Prep for Ultrasound Examination

The ultrasound exam uses sound wave technology to image inside the body.  Sound waves do not travel well through air (even though that’s how we hear), so the insulating fur must be clipped from the area of interest before the sonogram can begin.

The ultrasound revealed a large, fluid-filled structure above the bladder and filling the abdomen.  The structure pushed the intestines out to the sides of the abdomen.

“The only organ in the body that can stretch that much and not make you feel sick is the uterus,” said the ultrasonographer.  He went on to say, “Usually, if the uterus is full of infection, the ultrasound picks up a white-reflecting, flecked fluid.  This fluid is clear, and there are bubble-looking structures lining the large uterus.”

Surgery was scheduled for the next morning.

Ovariohysterectomy Reveals Cystic Endometriosis

2-pounds of uterus in a 9 1/2 pound chihuahua!

2-pounds of uterus in a 9 1/2 pound chihuahua!

Normally, the uterus in a Chihuahua is pencil-thin, maybe slightly larger if she has had earlier litters of puppies.  In this case, the uterus had twisted at its base, trapping clear cystic fluid inside.  Over time, the uterus grew to weigh 2 pounds (approx 0.75 kg)!  No wonder the little Chihuahua looked pregnant!

Fluid-filled round, clear bubbles cover the red lining of the uterus.

See the cysts on the inner lining of the uterus!

Cystic Endometriosis might be hormonally driven.  The clear fluid-filled cysts are non-painful.  The fluid build-up, however stretched the uterus and was compressing the other abdominal organs uncomfortably.  After the ovariohysterectomy, our little patient will be back to normal.

She recovered well from surgery.  Never even a moment of low blood pressure.  She’s looking thin and happy these days!

Spay ’em Young: Prevent Breast Cancer

Have your Chihuahua spayed when she is 6 months old to 99% prevent breast cancer when she’s older (Breast cancer is the #1 cancer in older female dogs.)  If your Chihuahua has had a heat cycle, have her spayed before a second heat.  This will 50% decrease the incidence of breast cancer.

After two heats, spaying does not decrease the odds of Chihuahua breast cancer.  However, if you find breast lumps, spaying can shrink or eliminate them, and spaying can also cure diabetes mellitus in some older female dogs!

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