February 14, 2014

It’s a miracle

A few years ago, a patient was brought into the clinic, in a coma, with barely palpable pulse, with its breathing represented by audible gasps every 30 seconds or so.{{more}}

One look at the sorry state in which the pup of about six months was in, told me that he was dying. The smell was unbearable, due to a bloody diarrhea that soaked the distal third of the animal. The eyes were sunken, due to severe dehydration and non-responsive.

The dog appeared to be a mere skeleton covered with skin. Judging from the size of the frame, I could tell that in a healthy state the pup would weigh around 50 lbs. I still could discern that he was a pure bred Rottweiler.

The owner was crying and asked me to please save her dog. She proceeded to tell me how much the pup meant to her. She explained that the pup belonged to her father who had recently passed away and just having him around kept the memory of her father alive.

There was really no time to say much, as I quickly hooked up the pup to an IV line and started to administer the appropriate treatment. In such cases where there is acute dehydration, the veins are virtually collapsed and finding one could be very difficult. In this case, I was lucky, or was I?

To my surprise, the client, started praying with all her might; she even asked her dad to intervene and save her pooch.

All I could say was that if it is God’s will the patient will survive, even though at that moment it really appeared that he wouldn’t last 15 minutes.

I explained that the pup had a particularly virulent strain of Parvo virus infection that is typical to Rottweiler pups, especially if they were not been vaccinated, and in this case he had not been vaccinated. Apart from the common bloody diarrhea and vomiting, in some breeds like the Rottweiler, it could attack the heart muscles, giving rise to a vegetative endocarditis, which more often than not can be deadly. In these susceptible breeds, instead of the regular three initial shots of vaccinations, I give a fourth shot, which I find to be quite effective in preventing the disease.

The client explained to me that the pup was not in contact with other dogs and virtually lived in the house most of the time, so she thought it was not necessary to vaccinate him.

This is a common misconception by some dog owners, who think that by the apparent isolation from the outside world, their pet will not be exposed to common deadly viruses. This is not so, as the mode of transmission varies widely and the virus could be transported on one’s shoes, running water, car tires, clothing etc.

When an animal is as dehydrated as this patient, the blood volume is drastically decreased. The blood becomes thickened due to the loss of fluid, thus severely hampering circulation of oxygen in the body. Within an hour of rehydration with the IV fluid that contains essential minerals that are lost due to the constant vomiting and bloody diarrhea, the breathing was almost back to normal, the patient regained consciousness and was trying to get off the examination table. By this time, the owner had left, only after making me promise to update her on the patient’s condition on a regular basis.

Within four hours, the patient was completely transformed. Within two days, he was eating and ready to go home.

On the day the owner came to collect him, she looked at me and softly said “Doc, it was a miracle; my prayers have been answered”. She confided in me that she knew all along that he was going to survive.

I was, as can be expected in cases like these, quite elated with the outcome, because not all of them have a happy ending.

I still wonder if her prayers helped to determine the outcome of this patient.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd. Tel: 456 4981