Here’s a cute story with a happy ending from Dr. Danielle Sawyer at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital–South Bay.
Mr. Pickles is a high energy, playful, and very handsome one-year-old Bengal cat who presented to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital—South Bay after 36 hours of profuse vomiting.
Presenting somewhat dehydrated with abdominal pain, our emergency and critical care department got to work determining the problem. Abdominal x-rays revealed extremely distended loops of bowel with fluid and gas, which pointed to obstruction. The ER team worked closely with the internal medicine department to perform an ultrasound and diagnose a definite obstruction in the mid-intestines.
Board-certified surgeon, Dr. Tammy DaCosta Gomez, was called in and more than happy to come in on her day off to remove the item causing the obstruction. To her surprise, she found a toy dinosaur!
Mr. Pickles did beautifully in the hospital and was able to return home the following day. Luckily for Mr. Pickles, our teamwork saved his life, and he will live another day to play with his toys, but no more tiny dinosaurs! Instead, we recommend watching Little Foot on TV rather than eating him!
Astro is a six-year-old Husky who came in contact with the business end of a stick.
He went out in the yard to use the bathroom and when he came back inside, his owners were shocked to see a stick lodged in his left eye! Our emergency doctors were able to remove the stick successfully while Astro was under anesthesia and found that the stick had caused an ulcer on his eye. He didn’t need any stiches, but he will be on medication for the next few days to prevent any further injury or infection. Astro was back to being himself and unsurprisingly was very relieved once the stick was removed.
No foul play is suspected, other than that of a dog who played a little too hard outside.
Tipper, a young male cat, was found by ABC7 Reporter, Veronica Miracle, during the Woolsey Fire. According to Veronica, firefighters pulled Tipper from his burning home. Veronica then called around trying to find somewhere that could help him—that’s when she found ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital at Woodland Hills in the San Fernando Valley.
Tipper was admitted to the ICU on November 9th to be treated for severe burns and smoke inhalation. He had significant burns on his paws, belly, and chest, and had a wound over his right hip, which was surgically repaired. He had a feeding tube placed to ensure he was getting all the nutrients he needed to get better.
Thankfully, Tipper is microchipped, which made it possible for us to find his owners and reunite them while he was being treated!
After almost three weeks in the hospital, Tipper went home to be with his family on November 27th. He’s going to need regular bandage changes and he’s continuing his antibiotics and pain medication at home to keep him comfortable and continue the healing process.
If only pets could talk! Even if pets can’t necessarily voice their problems, there are signs that you should watch out for that can point to injury or illness:
Bleeding: Even minor cuts, bleeding masses, or bite wounds have the potential of getting infected.
Difficulty breathing: Increased respiratory rate or effort while your pet is at rest could indicate major problems within the thorax, such as issues with the heart and/or lungs
Vomiting/Diarrhea: Because both of these signs can cause dehydration, it is always better to bring your pet in for evaluation rather than let the illness persist
Seizures: These may present as full body convulsions, or even just a “fly-biting” facial twitch. Although the brain is commonly the culprit for this, there are other disease processes that could cause this type of behavior.
Lameness: A limping/lame pet is a painful pet. It is always warranted to have a veterinarian evaluate if this sign is noted.
By catching the signs early and getting your pet evaluated as soon as possible, you are being the best advocate for your pet that you can be! Although we’re showcasing these five signs, please also keep in mind that there are many other signs that may indicate need for a veterinarian’s evaluation. Pets that have hives, possible toxin ingestion, cats or dogs that are straining to urinate, or any animal who is severely lethargic or not eating may also be in danger. If you are considering whether or not to bring your pet to the emergency room, it is always best to just take him or her and know that you are doing all you can to “speak” for your pet.
Hermes is a lovable, energetic two-year-old Pitbull who came to us after he went hiking with his doting mom in the morning on one of the first days of a heatwave in Southern California. After the hike, they returned home and Hermes seemed perfectly normal, so mom went out for about one hour. When she returned home however, she found Hermes in distress.
Within the span of a 45 minute hike, Hermes suffered severe heat stroke and burns to his paw pads and toes. Heat stroke happens when your body can no longer get rid of the extra heat inside of it. Your body then begins to become affected by the heat, resulting in organ damage and eventually death.
His paws were bleeding, he had diarrhea, and was lethargic. His owner had to act quickly, so she did the right thing and rushed him to their local vet where he was bathed to reduce his temperature and was then referred to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles.
Here, he was taken in right away and diagnosed with bruised skin, an irregular heartbeat, a blood clotting disorder, GI bleeding, kidney injuries, lameness, and severe paw pad abrasions. Hermes was started on fluids, and IV medications to stabilize him and reduce his pain, and had his paws cleaned and bandaged. He continued his medication and fluids, as well as a plasma transfusion to help reverse the damage caused by the heat. He will continue to be monitored for changes and treated for his condition.
Unfortunately, Hermes is not alone. Heatstroke can affect humans and animals within a matter of minutes with symptoms sometimes being very subtle.
The International Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Symposium, or IVECCS, was held in Texas this year, and boy did we have a blast!
For those who are unfamiliar with the event, IVECCS is a lot like Comic-Con, only instead of movies, comics, and pop culture, thousands of people attend to learn more about and celebrate emergency and critical care for animals!
Our doctors and staff enjoyed attending lectures and hands-on labs, while our Marketing and Admin teams rocked the job fair in an effort to recruit some stellar doctors, specialists, RVTs, and VTS’s to join our team. We all loved being able to meet new people and see old friends.
We had a great time and can’t wait until next year!
Hermes came to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital on emergency with heat stroke and was diagnosed with bruised skin, an irregular heartbeat, a blood clotting disorder, GI bleeding, kidney injuries, lameness, and severe paw pad abrasions. Hermes was started on fluids, and IV medications to stabilize him and reduce his pain, and had his paws cleaned and bandaged. He continued his medication and fluids, as well as a plasma transfusion to help reverse the damage caused by the heat.
Hermes is now more alert, eating, and drinking water. He is still being treated for all of the injuries from his heat stroke as well as the burns to his paws. Most of his day is spent quietly resting while being monitored and snuggled by doctors and staff. Hermes will continue to be monitored for changes and treated for his condition.
Although summer is winding down, here in Southern California the heat can still cause problems for our furry friends. It is a common misconception that the pads of a dog’s feet don’t feel pain or heat. Au contraire! The pads are very sensitive and important organs. When we walk our dogs on hot pavement the pads heat up and blistering can occur under the pad. This is especially common when walking on blacktops. If the dog walks on these hot surfaces frequently, the blister forming under the pad will separate the outer pad from the underlying tissues and one day part of the pad may rip off. These cases often take a long time to heal with multiple bandage changes. In general, if the pavement is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s probably too hot for your dog. Grass is a MUCH safer alternative.
Another interesting point about dog feet is that they not only provide cushioning during walking, but they can dissipate a very small amount of heat from the body. There are specialized sweat glands around the pads of the feet and on the nose. Compare these two small areas with the 4 million pores all over the human body and you’ll realize that dogs heat up MUCH quicker than we do. Because of this, dogs heavily rely on panting to cool themselves and it takes longer for them to cool than it takes us. It’s very important to protect your dog from overheating by not going on long walks in the heat of the day, always having water available and not over exerting him or her. Next time you go out with Fido, try to run, hike and play outside in the cooler morning or evening and stay away from the middle of the day. By doing this you are not only protecting the foot pads from injury, but also protecting from overheating and deadly heat stroke.
Danielle Sawyer, DVM
Emergency and Critical Care Resident
ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles
Meet Lucas! He’s a very unique six-year-old cat who is polydactyl on his front and hind limbs, meaning he has extra digits, or thumbs, on each paw!
Lucas was acting strange when his mom Christy, an ACCESS Los Angeles employee noticed his symptoms and suspected he was blocked. A blocked cat is one with a urinary obstruction which is dangerous and can lead to a ruptured bladder or even death.
Luckily, Lucas was examined by emergency doctor, Dr. Danielle Sawyer, who determined he simply had an inflamed bladder. He was treated with antibiotics and fluids and was able to go home the same day. Lucas is now resting comfortably at home with his feline and canine brothers and sisters.
Signs of blocking can include straining to urinate, crying out, urinating outside of the litter box, blood in the urine, and frequent urination. If you suspect your cat may be blocked, call your veterinarian immediately.