Shai’s un-neighbourly dog attack
Attacked through a fence by a neighbours dog
It wasn’t unusual for Shai the adventurous 6 year old kelpie x border collie to escape his backyard and wander into the neighbours property for a play with their dog, Sasha.
Often he would wander, and Sasha and Shai had always got along and spent their days together playing – until Shai was attacked through the fence of the neighbouring property’s rottweiler.
When his owner arrived home to their acreage property to find Shai lying on the kitchen floor bleeding profusely along with her neighbours who had found him on their property, she rushed him to Animal Emergency Service Underwood.
Bleeding and rushed to emergency
Vets at Animal Emergency Service immediately examined Shai, who although was bright and alert, and responsive – was in obvious pain and had multiple grazes and puncture wounds around his neck.
Shai received pain relief and blood samples were collected as he was showing signs of dehydration from lying in the backyard before he was found by the neighbours.
Vets are especially vigilant when treating dog attack wounds, as often the surface looks much less worse than the damage done underneath (a common phenomenon known as ‘the iceberg affect’).
X-rays showed the damage went much deeper and was far more dangerous than anyone had originally thought – Harris had several broken ribs and his lungs were visible through the wound.
Harris was breathing through this wound in his chest and as a result he was unable to get enough oxygen into his blood.
At high risk of going into respiratory failure, Harris was stabilised with oxygen and intravenous fluids before being rushed into life saving surgery.
Dr Danielle Huston found significant damage to the muscles overlaying the ribs, along with several broken ribs.
These ribs had penetrated the diaphragm (a thin muscle layer that separates the lungs and heart from the abdominal organs).
Harris’ stomach was visible through this hole, which Dr Danielle repaired.
Harris’ lungs were checked for damage and his chest cavity was thoroughly cleaned to reduce the chance of infection.
Harris underwent an exploratory laparotomy to ensure the ribs did not puncture a hole in the stomach or liver, and thankfully there was no further damage to Harris’ abdominal organs.
All other small puncture wounds were cleaned and sutured closed, and Harris began his recovery.
Harris’ x-ray showed several broken ribs after a vicious dog attack at the park.
When Harris awoke from surgery he was kept in hospital for monitoring during his recovery.
Within a day Harris was able to breathe well on his own, and vets found no fluid build-up in his chest, meaning his chest tube could be removed earlier than expected.
After three days Harris was able to go home with his dedicated and loving owners.
Learn about dog attacks
‘The iceberg affect’ is something vets are extremely aware of, but that dog owners know little about. Animal Emergency Service vets recommend finding out more about the iceberg affect to be aware of the dangers lurking underneath dog attack wounds.
Reading more about dog attacks or download the free chapter from the Animal Emergency Service First Aid Book – a guide to common pet emergencies.