We never expect the worst with our Pets and often think it will never happen to us… But accidents can happen in the most unlikely of places and its times like this that highlight the importance of insurance and fast acting Veterinary care… RVN Laura Hawkins explains how a lovely dog walk turned quickly into a nightmare.It was the beginning of the New Year and gorgeous 4 year old Victor a Labrador cross was out for his usually daily walk with his owner. Victor weighs 34kg and is quite a playful, happy chap.
Around 4pm we received a call at our Veterinary surgery from Victors owner saying that he had been playing with another dog, screamed out in pain and was now laying on his side and the owner described that his rib was broken and sticking out. For a large dog we obviously thought this must have been an massive impact in order for this injury to take place so we talked the owner through getting Victor onto a blanket, carrying him to the car and driving straight to our 24hr Veterinary Hospital.
On arrival Victor was immediately examined by a Vet and it was quickly became apparent that he had a serious injury. Somehow Victor had impaled himself on a stick which had entered from his axilla across the left thorax. Victor was given Methadone on arrival and options were discussed with his owners as if the stick was perforating the chest the best would be emergency referral for a CT scan.
Chest X-rays were taken and confirmed no injury to chest wall but showed a 30cm long stick under one layer of muscle.
Victor was taken straight into emergency surgery where Dr Elena Barnes B.Sc BVM&S MRCVS spent around an hour to remove the stick carefully including a lot of hair and dirt in the wound which was debribed and flushed with 1.5 litres of saline. The wound was stitched and a Jackson pratt drain placed. The surgery was uneventful and Victor was maintained on fluids throughout and started on intravenus antibiotics.
On recovery a Net Vest was placed on Victor to keep the drain against the body and not pull out as he moved around.
Victor was kept in hospital on strong antibiotics and pain relief for a further 3 days and was relectant to walk out, but he was eating well and comfortable. Fluid was drained daily and getting less every day which was a positive sign.
After 4 days in the hospital the Veterinary staff and Victors owners were happy to send him home but Victor would have to return daily for wound and drain management.
Victor visited daily for the next 8 days to ensure the drain was in place and working well and that there were no signs of infection present, although he was on constant oral antibiotic and pain medication.
On Saturday 20th
January I am pleased to say Victor visited to have his stitches removed. Having been so brave throughout, removing the stitches was effortless and the wound has healed beautifully just 11 days post-accident.
Victor will continue on Antibiotic and Anti-inflammatory for a further few days but should have no ongoing problems.
This incident just shows the resilience of our dogs to pain and how fast they recover from such injury. Victor defiantly had youth and fitness on his side but had the stick of entered a centimetre either way we may be dealing with a very different outcome.
I think it is safe to say if Victor was a cat, one of those nine lives has defiantly just been lost.