30 March 2012
April's Star Pet is Broc, a five month old male Jack Russell Terrier cross - who is a very lucky dog having survived two problems in one go!
Broc was brought in as an emergency very shortly after being trodden on by his owner's horse that morning at the stables. He had collapsed pretty soon afterwards and his owner feared the worst.
On examination by the veterinary surgeon it was apparent that he was very subdued, pale, shocked and that he had significant spinal pain. His abdomen was also very rigid and this was a cause for concern - he could have sustained injury to his abdominal organs. Fortunately there were no other obvious injuries such as broken limbs or skin wounds. It was decided to admit Broc immediately for hospitalisation to stabilise his shock, provide him with pain relief, monitor him and then reassess him once he was more settled.
Once he was admitted Broc was placed onto intravenous fluids and given strong pain relief. A blood sample was taken to check for any internal problems such as blood loss from a ruptured liver or spleen. He was then moved into a kennel on a heat pad to support body temperature (especially important in a small puppy).
When the results of the blood test came through it showed that Broc had a moderately reduced red blood cell count and packed cell volume which could have been consistent with a bleed from an abdominal organ (most likely liver or spleen). Intravenous fluids, warmth and pain relief improved Broc's demeanour but by later in the day it was obvious he was developing a very bloated abdomen.
Broc was given a light sedation and abdominal and chest x-rays were taken. These revealed no evidence of any bone fractures but he did have a huge food filled stomach - probably as a result of eating hay / sawdust at the stables! The volume of food in his stomach could itself be a cause of collapse - animals that eat large volumes are prone to metabolic and electrolyte abnormalities the important consequence of which can be reduced blood potassium levels, which, if severe enough can cause cardiac arrest. However, there were no signs of significant blood electrolyte abnormalities in Broc's case.
His owner was informed of the results and later that day he was allowed home as he was able to stand and was behaving more normally. His owner was completely unaware that Broc had gorged himself - it was assumed until this point being trodden on by a horse was the only problem! It was advised that if Broc deteriorated he may yet need an exploratory operation to relieve a gastric impaction and check for evidence of trauma from being trodden on.
The following morning and Broc returned for his check-up as planned. His owner reported that he was walking normally and was much brighter than the previous day. He had not passed any faeces and on examination by the vet it was noticed that although his abdomen was less sore and bloated, his mucus membranes were still pale. At this point it was decided to repeat both his blood tests and abdominal x-rays.
The results came through with encouraging news. His blood count had not deteriorated and his x-ray showed that although there was still a large amount of material in his stomach it appeared less than the day before and was passing through his intestine. There was a slight concern as his spleen looked slightly larger than normal and this could have been as a result of a haematoma from being trodden on or vascular congestion caused by his swollen stomach. As he was bright he was allowed home with a bland diet and instructions to keep him rested and monitored.
At a further check up the next day Broc was much brighter and his mucus membranes were now a normal healthy pink colour. He was also passing urine and faeces normally (although it contained lots of sawdust!!).
At a final examination two days later Broc was fully recovered and back to being his usual mad and boisterous self. We are not sure Broc has learnt his lesson, either to not play around the feet of horses or not to eat vast quantities of horse bedding - neither of which is particularly good for him!