Wow!

Dr. Wright and I both have over 10 years of experience being vets.  We’ve both worked in emergency hospitals, and we’ve both seen our fair share of crazy things.  It takes quite a bit to rile us up.  Usually, when a receptionist or technician lets us know that there’s an emergency coming in, we’ve dealt with the problem before.  Sometimes, what’s coming in is a new experience or a big twist on an old theme.  In the past 2 weeks, we’ve had that happen twice.

The first case was a dog with a fishhook.  That’s nothing special — happens all the time.   The hook usually ends up in the lip or the tongue, which is easy to deal with.  A quick pop of anesthesia, push the hook through, cut it off, and you’re done.

This one?  Not so easy!  We had a bit of line coming out of the dog’s mouth with no hook in sight.  I decided it must be partway down the throat, which is still reasonably easy to retrieve.  We took an x-ray to confirm.  I was wrong.  The hook and swivel attachment were in the stomach.

After discussing the possibility for using an endoscope to retrieve the hook, the owner opted to have us retrieve it from the stomach surgically.  As it turns out, this was the right way to go.  Though I didn’t know it at the time we started surgery, this dog had swallowed the hook, then tried to run on the dock.  The line and fishing pole were enough weight to set the hook in the stomach.  What should have been a simple hook retrieval turned into quite an ordeal.  Definitely not one of the simpler surgeries that I’ve completed.

We did all right, though!  The dog has made a good recovery and shouldn’t be any worse for the wear.  Moral of the story:  keep your dog away from fishing tackle.

The second case is quite a bit more shocking.  We’re all familiar with the usual risks for small dogs.  They have problems with dental disease, heart disease, back injuries, and higher risk for injuries from jumps and so on.  What doesn’t always occur to us is the risk of a dog becoming prey for a larger wild species.  Hawks are a prime example of this kind of risk.

A very small dog was outside in the yard with the owner.  He heard a scream and turned to see a large hawk standing on his dog.  He managed to scare the hawk away, scooped up his dog and raced to the hospital.

Dr. Wright was able to stabilize the poor little dog.  He didn’t have any immediately life-threatening injuries, but one eye had been badly damaged by a claw or beak.  We sent him to the emergency hospital for overnight monitoring and aggressive pain control.  Even if the eye can’t be saved, this little dog should recover fully.  Moral of the story:  Keep a -close- watch on your small dogs when you’re out in the yard.  Even in the suburbs, there are potentially dangerous predators nearby.

See you in two weeks!

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3 Comments

Filed under case report, emergency, practice

3 responses to “Wow!

  1. Chris Miner

    Holy cow, you’ve had quite a week! Those poor dogs!! Glad everyone will come through; albeit, a little worse for wear.
    – Looking forward to pix from your California trip, as always. Have a safe trip. And really excited to see the aquarium with fish in it 🙂

  2. David Hughes

    I have a question which, as everybody will agree, is of paramount and fundamental importance to our paraphysiosociological understanding of our own society and Weltanschauung:

    Do cats ever get into such mind-boggling medical conundrums as dogs?

    Also: the Kirschner Foundation, wow! I visited that place once when I was in California many years ago! Got given a tour by this tall long-haired dude who obviously had this amazing caring bond with the animals. It was kinda humbling. And you work there too. So cool. 🙂

  3. Cats have a whole different set of issues, ranging from being trapped in a car’s engine compartment to ingesting string and having it scrunch up and perforate the intestinal tract. Fight wounds leading to abscesses are also extremely common.

    One of the wildest cat cases I ever had was a farm cat that limped home with a broken leg. We put a splint on it and sent the cat home. The cat again escaped the house, which the owner discovered when he came home and found the cat hanging out happily in the tree in the front yard. The splint didn’t slow him down one bit. That leg healed and now, several years later, the cat’s doing great.

    They’re far more independent and crafty, in my experience. I guess that being far closer to their normal predatory ancestors has kept cats more universally aware of the laws of the wild.

    That same long-haired gentleman is who introduced me to the Foundation, too. Now I’m hooked! 😉

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