At Animal Emergency we treated a critically injured pet: ‘Bully’ a nine year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Bully was riding in the back of his owner’s utility when his harness broke: he fell out of the utility and his chest was crushed by the back tyre.
Bully was immediately taken to his regular veterinarian who referred him to Animal Emergency Service (AES) for emergency treatment.
When Bully arrived he had respiratory distress. His gums were blue coloured because he could not get enough oxygen into his blood stream through his compromised lungs. To stabilise Bully’s breathing, the vets and nurses commenced a drip, administering fluids to improve his blood pressure. An oxygen mask was used to help Bully’s breathing, and morphine was given for pain relief.
X-rays of Bully’s chest showed a traumatic injury called diaphragmatic hernia. The diaphragm is the tough sheet of muscle which separates the chest and abdominal cavities allowing us to breathe. Bully’s diaphragm had been torn and some of his abdominal organs had shifted into the chest, compressing his lungs.
The only treatment for this condition is emergency surgery. The surgery and anaesthetic is difficult because an artificial ventilator is needed to breathe for the patient while the chest is open. Bully went into surgery within 90 minutes of arrival at AES. His hernia was of the worst type, because his stomach had moved into his chest. The stomach and spleen were successfully replaced in the abdomen and the diaphragm was repaired. The artificial ventilator was needed for about four hours until Bully was strong enough to breathe on his own. He had lost a lot of blood so he also received two blood transfusions during recuperation.
Fortunately, Bully recovered from his accident, but many animals do not. You cannot be too careful with pets around cars!
The RSPCA provides some interesting information regarding legislation relevant to transporting pets. To view this click here