Late 2010, my 1-year-old yorkie, Lillie, began to have blood in her urine. I took her to her normal vet, and he put her on different antibiotics thinking it was an infection. He then did an ultrasound to find multiple cysts on her ovaries. We then made the decision to spay her to avoid pain, and possibly death, if they were to rupture or if she were to get pregnant.
Months went by and she was still bleeding when urinating. I took her back in and he, again, put her on different antibiotics. With no change in her behavior, I decided to take her to a new vet, Dr. Carrie Bellinger in South OKC. The next evening (before her scheduled appointment) I gave her a bath. Immediately after she began some very abnormal behavior. She was acting as if she had gone blind. She was walking on her hind legs and using her front paws to guide her along the walls in the hallway (as if she were a mime), and then began a behavior called “head pressing” and was very lethargic and uneasy. I told my mom maybe she got soap in her eyes so I rinsed it out but the behavior didn’t stop. She would randomly stare into space and start drooling. It was very odd and very scary. I just held her and cried.
When we took her in to see Dr. Bellinger, we told her her symptoms and, without even running any tests, she immediately knew just by looking at her she had a portosystemic liver shunt. After explaining to myself and my mother what that was, basically, to shorten it, her food was poisoning her and causing seizure-like behavior. She told us that we had a few options. 1) We could put her down because this WILL kill her if not treated. 2) Maintain it with medications so shes comfortable and she will pass on her own or 3) Surgery… a very expensive (for an 1-year-old girl) surgery. Because my little baby yorkie was only a year old, I could not live with myself if I didn’t do what was best for her… she was my baby. Dr. Bellinger suggested someone she had gone to veterinary college with at OSU, someone very highly recommended, Dr. Brent Newcomb.
We got a consultation that day with him (after Dr. Bellinger took Lillie’s blood and ran some labs to confirm her diagnosis). He was so welcoming and loving, and I could tell right away why he was recommended to us. He told us that he does these surgeries all of the time, and they are very common in Yorkshire terriers. However, with dogs this small, he cannot promise she would make it.
I trusted him. He said we would need to operate ASAP. He did the surgery that day. The next morning, we got to pick up Lillie and she was as good as new. When we were speaking with him after surgery, he said he found kidney stones when he was operating that were HUGE for her size and had SPIKES on them (causing the blood with urination). He said she was probably in excruciating pain. I could not believe it. Immediately after surgery, her behavior was back to normal. We still had a long road of recovery with prescription dog food that Lillie HATED and medicine, but about 6 months post-op she had perfect bile acid tests back and was back to her old self. She has been wonderful since that day. Dr Newcomb saved my babies life, and I could never thank him enough. I would recommend him to ANYONE. As well as Dr. Bellinger (however, sadly, she has since moved to Texas I believe). I could have never lived with myself now, knowing how good of a quality of life she has now after surgery, if I had chosen option 1 or 2. She will be 6-years-old this October and is just as playful and loving as ever. I am so grateful for what Dr. Newcomb did for my family and my baby girl, Lillie.
Shelby Hopkins (Gentry)