Case of the Month – August 2018

This is not just brave Spot’s story, who ended up in a whole load of trouble after miscalculating a jump over a wall, but also Shelley the labrador and her fantastic blood cells that she donated to save Spot’s life. +++ Warning surgical photographs in main article!  You have been warned!  +++

Spot is an athletic young Pointer cross, having recently moved to the UK, he was learning how to live a happy life since being rescued.  Unfortunately though in his new found exuberance for life, he completely miscalculated jumping over a garden wall and landed on it heavily.

Normally this would result in some bruising and respond well to some rest and pain relief.  However, his owners rapidly realised the next morning, that Spot was not in a good way at all and rushed him to the Barn as an emergency.

Unbelievably, Spot had managed to rupture his bladder in the fall.  The bladder is a muscular sac that holds urine created by the kidneys, until such a time that it is full and then by urinating the body excretes it’s waste.  However if the bladder is very full and suddenly experiences a lot of pressure, it can pop, just like a balloon.

If you have ever seen a baby with nappy rash, you can completely appreciate how urine can ‘burn’ tissues.  Free urine within the abdomen (otherwise known as a uroperitoneum) is a life threatening condition that needs emergency treatment.  As you can imagine abdominal organs are incredibly delicate and don’t take too kindly to being bathed in urine.  This scalding creates a very aggressive peritonitis and the body goes into shock.

This is where life saver Shelly comes in!  At the Barn we have a small number of dogs who have been blood typed and fantastic owners and co-operative dogs that will allow us to harvest blood for emergency cases.   If you are interested in offering your dog as a donor then please get in touch!  They must be over 25kg in weight, born and lived their entire lives in the UK and not be on any long term medication.  Classically we would take a small blood sample to find out their blood type and then get in touch as and when an emergency comes in that requires a blood transfusion as ‘fresh is best’!  Interestingly our Feline friends are a lot more complicated with blood donation and commonly in general practice we use plasma expanders and intravenous colloids for cat emergencies.

With some heroic efforts from the Oak Barn team and Shelly’s blood donation, Spot was stabilised and rushed to surgery for repair of his bladder.  The good news is that he only had one tear and it was not near the bladder neck.   Long term the bladder would heal and should not cause any further problems.

As you can see from the images below during surgery, the biggest issue was the horrendous peritonitis and severely inflamed abdominal organs. Although it took over a week of intensive care to get him back on his feet, Spot has gone from strength to strength and has made a full recovery.