Our dogs’ diet can often be a source of worry – and amusement. We go to great effort to choose the right food for them; we want to ensure they get the best nutrition and we worry about palatability and whether they enjoy their food. This is all very important and the concern is understandable but it may seem strange at times that we worry so much about what our dogs ‘like’ to eat. So often we see them eat things that are unpalatable, such as other animals’ poo, or even stones or toys that really shouldn’t be eaten. In fact, the latter does them no good at all and at times can certainly be life-threatening – something Baise the Dobermann found out.
Two year old Baise was brought to see us when he developed a sudden bought of vomiting. After vomiting 9 times in a short space of time Baise looked rather sorry for himself but otherwise seemed fine. Anti-sickness medications were tried and initially caused an improvement but within a day the vomited recurred and he was back to see us again. At this point we were concerned about a possible obstruction and so Baise was admitted to the surgery, for his first night away from his owners since he was a puppy.
Baise was placed on intravenous fluids which replenished his hydration levels and made him much brighter but an abdominal X-ray again raised concern as to whether he could have a blockage within his gut. This, along with his obvious discomfort when his belly was examined, meant the only logical course of action was to perform surgery to investigate things further.
The surgery was conclusive. In the middle of Baise’s small intestine was a large piece of chewed up green rubber ball. The ball had gone as far as it could but had become wedged, dilating the intestine and starting to limit the blood flow to the gut tissue. The only option was to surgically open the intestine, remove the ball and close his gut with sutures.
Baise recovered very well and the following day was largely back to his normal self. However, he had undergone a considerable surgery that can have complications and so it was imperative he was monitored carefully, both with us and by his owners once at home. His care plan was explained and Baise seemed pleased to get home and resume normality.
Baise was very happy for several days but that Sunday evening Baise’s abdomen started to look very distended. Knowing the complexity of his case Baise’s owners were straight on the phone and he was brought into the surgery straight away.
It appeared that Baise had an abnormal collection of fluid both within his abdomen and under his skin. In view of his recent surgery the most likely cause was a complication to his surgery site and so it was advised that Baise was taken back to surgery to investigate things further. The owners had no hesitation in agreeing to anything needed and so within a short space of time Baise found himself back in theatre.
At surgery the fluid appeared to suggest an infection. It immediately made us concerned that the wound to his gut had broken down causing intestinal contents to leak into his abdomen and within minutes this was exactly what we had found. This is one of the most common complications of this type of surgery and can unfortunately occur even if the surgery has gone well, as the tissue has already become damaged and the wound in the intestine may not heal properly. So the plan was to remove the infected fluid and flush his abdomen clean, and then to repair the intestinal wound.
The surgery took several hours and went late into the night. Meanwhile, Baise’s owners rushed to a veterinary hospital in Bristol that had a supply of canine plasma – the protein rich component of blood. They rushed this back to the surgery and as soon as Baise was in recovery he started this plasma infusion that would help supply clotting factors and also proteins to help his healing.
Baise was in a critical condition and his life hung in the balance. He was placed onto multiple intravenous antibiotics and managed with medications to protect his intestines. He would not eat voluntarily and was instead fed via a feeding tube that was placed during surgery. He was understandably very subdued and then next few days would be critical for him.
Day by day Baise started to improve and every day that passed meant his prognosis improved. He was hospitalised in the surgery for over a week and after 5 days Baise started to eat for himself – a situation that meant we could start to give him oral medication and consider getting him home.
Once home Baise still gave us cause for concern as firstly his appetite reduced again, only to recover. In general however his mood improved day by day and eventually everything healed and a monitoring blood sample showed that everything had returned to normal.
Baise was a very lucky boy in the end and his fighting spirit pulled him through. Equally his owners’ dedication to his treatment meant he was given every opportunity to recover and any treatment necessary was given. Baise is now back to normal but his owners still worry about what he eats – every time he now picks up a ball there are several sets of eyes on him!
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