Shasta Mae is a beautiful 4-year-old Golden Retriever and has always had an abundance of energy. She, unlike any of her family’s other Retrievers, will actually retrieve a ball. When she was a puppy, the seasons changed, and it would get dark earlier, so her family bought a glow-in-the-dark rubber ball which made it easier for her to continue to chase. To this day, this is still her favorite toy.

In August of 2021, Shasta Mae underwent surgery to repair a torn cranial cruciate ligament, so surgery wasn’t new to her. But in August 2022, almost exactly a year later, she was diagnosed by her regular veterinarian with a diaphragmatic hernia and was referred to the Animal Medical Center of Seattle for emergency surgery. A diaphragmatic hernia is a life-threatening condition in which a tear in the diaphragm allows organs in the abdomen to migrate into the chest cavity. Shasta Mae’s diaphragmatic hernia was close to her left lumbar region, and her spleen, omentum, and half of her stomach were within the chest cavity. Her spleen was necrotic and had to be removed (splenectomy). Her omentum, which is a vascularized, fatty tissue that covers and supports the intestines in the lower abdomen, had adhered to some of the organs in her chest cavity and had to be carefully ligated free.

Shasta Mae post-surgery

Shasta Mae lost some blood during the extraction of the abdominal contents from her chest and had to have a blood transfusion during her surgery. Her family thought they were going to lose her, and her prognosis was grim, but she kept fighting and pulled through her surgery. Then, she made it through the night. We realized she was still fighting and going to get better! During her time recovering here, she made a few friends, including one of our veterinary technicians, Heather. Heather sent pictures to the family of Shasta Mae getting snuggled and loved and covering her with long, white Shasta Mae fur.

Shasta Mae with veterinary technician, Heather
Shasta Mae lying her head on Heather's lap.

Shasta Mae stayed in our hospital for a couple of days before she was strong enough to continue her recovery at home. Her family is forever grateful to everyone at the Animal Medical Center of Seattle that played a part in making this outcome possible. Her family reports that she is currently doing amazingly well, and within a week of being home, she wasn’t quite sure why they wouldn’t throw her glow-in-the-dark rubber ball for her.

Shasta Mae back at her home, lying down on her bed.