Dog bed causes life-threatening problem

Meet Mikey, a 1-year-old Belgium Shepherd who came to us at our Hagley practice on October 6th  because of being very lethargic and struggling to breathe for a few hours. By the time he got to the practice, Mikey was very unwell with extreme lethargy, abdominal pain, very high temperature and bilateral nasal discharge.

After full bloodwork, an abdominal ultrasound and x-rays, our vet Joao (JT) called Mikey's mum. Joao explained that Mikey had most likely vomited during the night and aspirated some of that content into his lungs - and he now had aspiration pneumonia (a life-threatening bacterial chest infection). More concerningly, his stomach was very dilated, which indicated that the reason for his vomiting could well have been a gastro-intestinal obstruction due to a foreign body (something undigestible that Mikey had eaten).

Despite Mikey being a high-risk patient for anaesthesia, the obstruction was so severe that it had to be dealt with right away so Mikey was taken for surgery the same day.

During surgery it became apparent that Mikey had ingested a large volume of his bed stuffing that was obviously not digested, creating a gastric obstruction. Mikey underwent a surgery called gastrotomy to remove all of this material.

Mikey was so poorly that at some point during surgery, he suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest. Fortunately, after an immense team effort from the whole clinical team at Clent Hills Vets in Hagley, Mikey was successfully resuscitated after around 9 minutes.

The surgery was rapidly completed and Mikey was recovered from the anaesthesia and transferred over to the Bromsgrove branch for close monitoring and intensive care treatment.

Mikey remained in intensive care at Bromsgrove for the next 5 days, at which point he was able to continue his recovery at home. On October 20th, he came for his final post-op care appointment at Hagley and we are delighted to say Mikey has made a full recovery.

Take home points:

Watch your dog - Check they are breathing normally and not suffering from extreme lethargy – both of these are emergencies.

Alternative bedding - If your dog is a ‘destroyer of beds’, look for safe bedding materials.

CPR - Unfortunately, CPR doesn’t have a high success rate, in animals or humans, so Mikey was incredibly fortunate. It’s thanks to the dedication and experience of vets, nurses, and doctors, that patients survive and make a full recovery.

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