Showing posts with label Leah 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leah 2013. Show all posts

Monday, September 23, 2013

Leah's story

On Friday morning a one year old, eleven-pound Yorkie mix named Leah was rushed to Friendship in shock and near death.  She had been attacked by three large dogs while her owners were walking her in their neighborhood in Northeast DC.  The dogs had broken out of their fenced yard and were savagely attacking Leah as her owners and the dogs’ owner stood by unable to break up the fight.  A passing police officer stopped to help and unfortunately was forced to shoot one of the dogs in order to stop the attack.

Leah presented to us with severe wounds to her chest, abdomen and left rear leg.  Her owners expressed significant financial concerns when they learned how serious her condition was.  We initially thought that the bite wounds penetrated her abdomen and she would need an emergency exploratory surgery.  One of our amazing and generous clients happened to be in the lobby when the owners arrived and offered to donate money to help with Leah’s care.  Friendship stepped in and matched the donation with money from our Brudder-Sullivan fund.

She was started on intravenous fluids to address the shock, pain medication to make her more comfortable and antibiotics to prevent infection.  Luckily after multiple x-rays we determined the wounds did not enter her abdomen and emergency surgery was not needed.  She would need an extensive wound explore of her left leg and belly once she was stable for anesthesia.

Leah responded well to initial treatment and we put her under general anesthesia Friday afternoon to assess the extent of her wounds.  She had a small puncture wound on her abdomen where the left leg meets the belly surrounded by a large dark purple bruise that extended down her left leg.  The puncture was opened up to better allow us to visualize what was going on under the skin.  Underneath there was extensive damage to the muscles of her inner thigh and the surrounding connective tissue.  Additionally the femoral vein, which is the main blood supply to the leg, had a small tear and was leaking. 

 Given how close the femoral artery and vein were to the wounds Leah was a lucky dog indeed.  If either of these important vessels had been torn during the attack she would have died almost instantly.  We cleaned her wound thoroughly and packed them with an antimicrobial dressing.  She will need daily bandages changes done under sedation while we wait to see what tissue is going die before we can move to surgically closing the wound.  This can take up to a few weeks and will be very expensive.

For her bandage changes on Saturday and Sunday we were very happy with how her wounds are looking.  The leak in the femoral vein stopped thanks to a special material we applied called Vetspon that helped to seal over the vessel.  We removed some muscle tissue that had started to die and replaced her bandage.  Her red blood cell count and blood protein levels dropped due to loss through her wounds but she is eating well and seems comfortable on her intravenous pain medications.  It is heartwarming to see her perk up when her owners come to visit.

Monday we removed more dead muscle and switched to a dressing called Calcium Alginate that will stay in the wound for the next 48 hours.  We are trying to wean her off of the IV medications and switch her to oral medications so she can go home.  We will then have her owners bring her back and forth for the bandage changes.  On Wednesday we will reevaluate the health of the tissue and see where we need to go.  Please check back in for more updates and keep sending Leah good thoughts to help with her healing!