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How Dedicated Ownership Impacts Patient Healing

Posted 10.03.17 by Melanie Barnett-Fisher, DVM

Titan is 3 year old Chihuahua that presented to The Pet Hospitals- Midtown after being attacked by a large breed dog.  The dog was aggressive and before anyone could intervene, Titan was suffering severe trauma to his neck.  When Titan presented to our hospital, he was found to have scleral hemorrhage in both eyes (ruptured blood vessels) and severe trauma and lacerations on the

back of his neck.  Several of his neck muscles were severed beneath the skin preventing Titan from being able to lift his head. He also had a puncture wound to his trachea causing him to have subcutaneous emphysema (air leaking from the trachea underneath his skin). His hyoid apparatus (the bones the supporting his tongue and trachea) was fractured. This was a scary situation and due to the severity of his injuries we could not guarantee that Titan would pull through.

Titan was stabilized with medications and IV fluid therapy before going to surgery for a drain placement and surgical wound closure. Titan did great throughout the procedure and recovery was uneventful. Titan was doing so well after surgery and was able to eat and drink on his own so he was able to go home to his loving family. Six days later he presented again. The approximately 5 cm laceration now was necrotic (dead) leaving an area approximately 15 cm long and 7 cm wide of dead tissue. This complication is a common occurrence that we see with severe shearing trauma. The wound was bandaged daily for 11 days before wound closure was possible. Ten days later, Titan was back for suture removal and was doing great due to his wonderful committed family not giving up on him during his lengthy recovery.

An important take home message from Titan’s incident is that it is always important to spay and neuter your dogs (when they reach an appropriate age). Intact male dogs tend to be more aggressive than neutered dogs.  Spaying and

neutering is also better for your pets to help decrease or even eliminating the risk of several types of cancer.  It is also important to keep your pets up to date on vaccines.  A pet that is not up to date on vaccines that bites another pet must go through a rigorous quarantine period and also puts your family at risk for zoonotic diseases such as rabies. Lastly, Titan is a great example of how dedicated ownership and lack of discouragement can lead to a positive outcome in even the most traumatic situations.

Dr. Melanie Fisher

The Pet Hospitals- Midtown

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