Vet Diary - Sue's Happy Birthday!
One of the best things about being a veterinary surgeon is that you never know what is going to come through the door next. When an emaciated Saluki lurcher was brought to Stray Aid’s Animal Welfare Centre recently with “something pink sticking through a cut under his front leg” I assumed it would be a piece of muscle. However, a closer look revealed something that I had never seen before in over 30 years of veterinary practice. The pink object turned out to be part of his lung!
So after a quick phone call to the restaurant where I had booked my birthday lunch, to say I was going to be late, the poor dog was taken straight to our operating theatre. He was so thin that in an ideal world we would not have even considered giving him an anaesthetic, however some things just can’t wait. The lung tissue was fresh and healthy, and had to be replaced before it became damaged. Once he was under anaesthetic, I cautiously started to explore the 1-inch gash in his armpit, to reveal a tear in the muscle between 2 of his ribs. As I started to extend my incision, it became clear that the muscle tear disappeared quite a distance along his chest wall – in the end a 4-inch tear was exposed. It could only be assumed that the dog had run unto some sort of sharp metal spike, and if the angle of entry had been slightly steeper he would not have escaped with his life.
27 stitches later, he was put into a recovery kennel, on a drip. I met up with family for my birthday meal, then rushed back to see if he was still alive. Not only was he still alive, he had pulled his drip out and was barking to be let out!!
He was transferred to one of our isolation kennels, under a heat lamp, where he could be more closely monitored. He tried to climb out, up the mesh side of his kennel, 24 hours after life-saving surgery!! So we had no alternative but to put him back into our stray kennels and monitor him constantly, but he has never stopped eating and (still touching wood) he has never looked back!
This dog, who we now call Jimmy, undoubtedly owes his life to the care of Stray Aid’s Animal Welfare Team. It is an honour to work with such caring people, without their on-going vigilance and care the outcome could have been very different.
If you would like to help Stray Aid help dogs like Jimmy, and support the amazing work of the Animal Welfare Centre, please visit the Support Us page of our website www.strayaid.org.uk for further details.