In November 2014, Rex, a nine year old Chihuahua mix, was rushed by his family into the Los Angeles ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital after collapsing at home. “Triage to the front, STAT!” rang out over the intercom as his lifeless body was brought up to our front desk. Veterinary technicians and assistants promptly dashed to the lobby to get the little guy back to the emergency room, as our triage team prepped the area so that the doctor, Dr. Nicole Skilling, was able to immediately begin chest compressions.
Dr. Skilling and her team were able to revive Rex, though suction was needed to clear the airway and due to low oxygen levels, he was intubated, which means his breathing could be done for him. Now safely on oxygen, Rex was given cardiac medication to help stabilize him. Things started to look better for the pup but when he went into cardiac arrest for the second time Dr. Skilling and her team leapt to his side once again to begin chest compressions. They were able to revive and stabilize Rex, keeping him comfortable until he was able to see our specialists the following day for further work up.
The following morning, Rex was transferred to the care of Dr. Tina Son, one of our board-certified Critical Care specialists, who kept Rex intubated on full oxygen support and medications. Board-certified veterinary cardiologist, Dr. Steven Cole then saw Rex to check his heart.
Eventually he was weaned out of the oxygen unit and allowed to eat on his own, with as much vigor as his “big heart” could muster!
Although Rex’s prognosis remained guarded and his care critical, his owners remained hopeful that their boy would make it. Slowly and almost as if by will, Rex began to recover. He was able to be extubated, which means the breathing tube was removed from his trachea, and Rex was doing well in his oxygen unit. He was sitting up, and even able to drink water on his own! Despite Rex’s exuberance, his owners and doctors insisted on taking things slowly. Eventually he was weaned out of the oxygen unit and allowed to eat on his own, with as much vigor as his “big heart” could muster!
Miraculously, Rex was discharged just three days after entering the emergency room dead on arrival; with what some may have thought was little chance of survival. No one was happier to have Rex reunited with his family more than our wonderful team of doctors and support staff….except maybe Rex and his parents.
Although Rex’s story is inspiring and resulted in a happy ending, it is important to remember that not all pets are this fortunate. That’s why it is important for pet owners to plan for emergencies. Simply knowing where the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital is can mean all the difference; because every second counts.
We wish Rex and his family all the best and look forward to following his recovery progress.
Marketing Coordinator | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals