Six year old Border collie, Meg, came in to see Catriona one evening with some breathing difficulties. In true Collie style Meg bites at the wheels of vehicles leaving her home and her owner had heard her yelp that morning. She had seemed fine at the time, with no obvious injuries, but went quiet throughout the day and her breathing was giving them cause for concern.
Meg was admitted for an x-ray, ultrasound and to have some bloods taken. Her chest x-ray suggested that she was suffering from a diaphragmatic rupture (tear of the muscle across the bottom of the ribcage separating the chest from the abdomen), internal bleeding and possibly a ruptured spleen. Following discussion with a specialist surgeon and Meg's owner we decided the best course of treatment was to insert chest drains to get rid of some of the blood in the chest cavity and to delay further surgery until she was more stable.
Unfortunately, despite her chest drain, Meg's breathing continued to deteriorate. The best option at this point was emergency surgery to repair any internal damage.
Surgery found extensive trauma to the diaphragm, which needed repairing, and a significant blood loss. Our resident Nottingham University veterinary students were invaluable in helping with Meg's procedure. One scrubbed in to assist Catriona with the surgery, while another performed the assisted breathing required until Meg's diaphragm was closed and she could breathe for herself. This allowed Ellie, our qualified nurse, to focus on Meg's anaesthetic, which was more complex than the surgery itself...the team approach certainly paid off!
Meg was given a blood transfusion post surgery to replace some of the lost blood and raise her blood pressure. Her chest was then drained at regular intervals over the next couple of days and she was monitored carefully to keep her comfortable and make sure she was eating/drinking and toileting. Her breathing settled over the next couple of days and she was allowed to go home on very restricted exercise, where she would be more relaxed.
A couple of weeks later Meg was all signed off at her final check - she is still on controlled exercise while her internal injuries heal completely but has recovered amazingly well from her ordeal - hopefully this has put her off biting wheels in future!