Patch is a 5 year old Cavoodle who is very lucky to be alive, thanks to his quick thinking owner. He has never had any health problems before, but one night when his owner came home from work she knew something wasn’t right and called Vet HQ’s after-hours number and rushed him into the clinic.
He was so weak when he arrived at the clinic that he could hardly stand up and was barely responsive. His temperature was just 32 degrees (normal for a dog is at least 37.8 degrees), his gums were bright red, his blood pressure was extremely low and his heart was beating twice as fast as it should have been. Patch was in shock and his body was starting to shut down. When his owner told me, “I’m no vet but I’m pretty sure he is dying”, I couldn’t help but agree.
Within 10 minutes he was on an intravenous drip, had methadone pain relief and was started on IV antibiotics. We began warming him up using heat mats, blankets, a hairdryer and hot water bottles. Blood and urine samples were taken and multiple tests were run in-house to try to work out the cause of Patch’s severe illness.
Patch’s blood and urine tests showed numerous abnormalities. In fact, not one parameter was normal. We knew something very serious was going on but more tests were needed to determine the cause.
Radiographs and ultrasound were performed but revealed no major pathological abnormalities. They did however show us that Patch’s stomach was full of contents which would not usually be abnormal, but was in this case, as Patch hadn’t been fed for 24 hours. Had Patch eaten something he shouldn’t have while his owners were at work?
In most cases of presumed toxin ingestion we either make the dog vomit or we put them under general anaesthetic and pump their stomach. In Patch’s case, he was too unstable for either of these. So instead, we continued to warm him up, increase his hydration and blood pressure with intravenous fluids, kept him comfortable with pain relief and gave him supportive care against any toxic effects on his body.
By 2am all of Patch’s blood test results had improved significantly and by 10am he was bright, wagging his tail, running around and his blood and urine levels were all back to normal. It was an extraordinary difference to the state he was in just 12 hours previously.
We never found the real cause for Patch’s near-death experience. We can only assume it was some toxin ingestion from the garden. If only he could tell us!
We have continued to monitor Patch and he is doing really well. He was as close to death as they come and had his owner not called our after-hours number as soon as she found him he would have certainly not survived.
Please keep all human medications/drugs, toxic plants, fertilizers, toxic foods (e.g. chocolate), cleaning agents and baits out of reach of your pet and save our after-hours number in your phone in case of emergency – 0434 635 226. We run this service from 7pm-11pm weeknights.