Vet generosity saves dog’s life twice
A young German shepherd dog who speared himself on a splinter of broken fencing, is thanking his lucky stars for the generosity and expertise of a specialist vets.
Big-hearted vets at Davies Vet Specialists (DVS) practice launched an emergency mission, free of charge, to save dog Apollo’s life and then responded again just two weeks later when Apollo suffered an unrelated twisted gut. The bill, which ran in to thousands of pounds, was waived by DVS in light of Apollo’s owner’s circumstances.
Apollo, an 18 month old male German shepherd dog, had accidentally impaled himself on some broken fence panels when he was playing. The splinter of wood, which was around 5cm long and 1.5cm wide, had become precariously lodged between his heart and his lungs but, because Apollo initially had no symptoms and there was no obvious puncture wound, his owner Sam Russell from Leighton, wasn’t aware that anything was wrong. It was a week later when the dog suddenly became very anxious, uncomfortable and was struggling to breathe, that Sam rushed him to her local vets practice in Heath and Reach. Vet Hannah Johnston’s initial diagnosis was that the dog had some foreign material lodged internally that was causing an infection. Without an urgent CT scan and surgery his chances of survival were minimal but his disconsolate owner was uninsured and had no means of affording the treatment. Hannah had recently read about a pro bono scheme introduced by the Hertfordshire-based, leading multi-specialist veterinary referral centre Davies Veterinary Specialists and believed that Apollo’s case fitted the criteria.
She explains: “It was heart wrenching to think that a young dog, with such a caring owner, was very likely to lose his life and I was determined to do anything I could to help. I couldn’t help shedding a tear when DVS agreed to treat him, as I knew Apollo now had a chance. His owner had recently had an awful spate of bad luck and was so deserving of DVS’s help.”
Manuel Jiménez Peláez, European Veterinary Specialist in Surgery at DVS, who operated on Apollo, takes up the story: “A CT scan showed a large, fluid-filled cavity, a partially collapsed lung and a sharp, thin, elongated structure, lodged between Apollo’s lungs and his heart. We drained the cavity and successfully removed the foreign body. We also had to remove most of the irreparably damaged left lung.”
Apollo was in hospital for two weeks, five days of which were spent in intensive care in a critical condition. Sam was thrilled when she was eventually able to take him home but just two days later disaster struck again. Apollo was diagnosed with gastric dilation volvulus, commonly known as bloat or twisted gut. He needed surgery within six hours to survive the condition and DVS once again stepped in to operate as an emergency, free of charge.
Apollo has made a full recovery is now back at home with the Russell family. Sam Russell said: “Apollo has always been so determined and full of life. Even when he was dangerously ill and in intensive care he wouldn’t give up and tried to rouse himself to come home with me. For Davies Vet Specialists to save my dog once is nothing short of amazing but for them to save him twice makes me speechless with gratitude. To be shown such kindness after a dreadful run of bad luck would leave anyone stuck for words.”
All first opinion practices are eligible to apply for the DVS pro bono scheme, which will allow an average of one patient per month to receive free treatment. Requests will be based on advocacy from the clinical head of the referring practice and on genuine need. To find out more visit www.vetspecialists.co.uk
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North