My sheltie, Roxy, was attacked on Thursday night (8/1), by a rottweiler. I was out of town with her and my other dogs, and she was rushed to the local emergency vet, bleeding from her abdomen. She was found dragging her behind, so I anticipated broken bones / spine, but thankfully, the vet took x-rays and found everything to be soft tissue damage. While this sounds "better," she still needed exploratory surgery to determine the amount of damage that was actually done.
I left her at the emergency vet at around 11 pm Thursday evening, and received a phone call from them around 2 am, saying that surgery had gone well. In their surgery, they discovered that all of her abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and muscles down her one back leg were shredded. The vet described the way the muscles looked as "ground hamburger meat" and said there was nothing to sew back together. They closed the wounds and sutured her up, and they put in a drain for any fluid to drain. She got an injectable antibiotic, and was sent home with Tramadol and Metacam for pain. The vet said they weren't able to tell what the long-term extent of the damage was, due to the fact that vascular (blood vessel) damage could not be determined at the time, and that we just had to wait and see. They said if she had a lot of tissue dying off due to severe vascular damage, she would need another surgery later on.
She went home at 8 am later that morning (Friday, 8/2), with the advice to keep her on puppy pads and make sure her wounds stayed clean. Someone local ran out to get puppy pads, and she was given her meds.
^ Roxy in her crate after coming home from the emergency vet
^ Roxy all groggy
She doesn't look all that bad in the photos, since most of the damage was to her belly area, but she was really out of it. I wish I had taken a picture of her belly initially, looking back, just to show progression, because her belly was a dark purple, super bruised and angry looking.
She wasn't really wanting to eat or drink, and she didn't pee or poo. I called the emergency vet, they said not to worry, she would in time.
On Saturday (8/3), I discovered she had another wound on her backside, above her rear, that was oozing. I called the emergency vet that had treated her, and asked what I should do, and whether she should come in. From what I could tell, the actual opening of the wound was small (half dime size), but it felt like there was a larger air pocket, and I didn't want complications to arise. I called the emergency vet and they commented that because she had had the shot of antibiotics, that would work for 2 weeks and the wound wouldn't get infected, so there was no need to bring her in.
They said to keep the wound clean, so later that night, myself and another person trimmed the fur around her wound the best we could. We both felt the wound was larger than what we could see, but the vet said not to worry, and to tell my vet when I saw them at home.
Sunday (8/4), Roxy took her first steps, and I believe she peed and pood for the first time since the incident! She hobbled around like a baby deer, with her hips jutted way out to the side, and her butt really low to the ground, but she WALKED! It was only a few steps, but this was amazing, considering the emergency vet wasn't sure whether or not she would ever get up again.
Monday night (8/5), I got home. I placed Roxy in my yard to go potty, and she walked around some more! She also peed and poo'd again.
^ her belly on Monday evening, you can see the drain on the left side. This is actually an improvement in that a lot of the swelling and bruising had gone down since the incident
Tuesday morning (8/6), Roxy had an appointment with my regular vet, Dr. Jenn at Beecher Veterinary. I explained the situation to the vet there (and actually, they knew about it, as the emergency vet had called them, and then Beecher had called me, to offer support). Dr. Jenn wanted to first see the secondary wound that I had found, and wasn't thrilled about the way the emergency vet had brushed it off. She had clippers there, and was able to clip down the fur around the wound and remove the dead skin that had formed the air pocket that I had told the emergency vet about. Well, the wound that the emergency vet had brushed off was actually a half-dollar-coin+ sized injury, with a lot of tissue that needed to be debrided.
^ before debriding
^ after some debriding (removing some dead tissue)
We set an appointment to come back to the vet on Thursday (8/8) for a re-check and more debridement. Dr. Jenn also sent me home with chlorhexidine (a disinfectant solution to wipe Roxy down with), an ointment for her wounds, and clavamox (an additional, more broad-spectrum antibiotic).
^ Roxy resting at home that evening
Roxy also had her drain removed at that vet appointment, though due to her still significant amount of drainage, the hole was not closed, so drainage could continue.
Dr. Jenn also advised that I should clipper her entire back end, so as to expose any other injuries she might have. Also, this would prevent the drainage fluid from being trapped next to her skin (by her fur) and would allow her less irritation and to be kept cleaner.
Dr. Jenn advised that I seriously consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy at a vet out in Aurora, as this would speed healing and likely improve her overall prognosis. She gave me enough info on the vet that I was able to call, and set up an appointment / consult for Friday morning.
^ Roxy after her first shave session -- you can see additional wounds above her hip
^ Roxy finally sleeping
On Thursday (8/8), I returned to Beecher Veterinary with Roxy, where Dr. Jenn again debrided her wounds and re-checked Roxy. She initially suggested that we schedule a surgery the following week, to repair her belly even further. She wanted to wait a bit (hence mentioning the following week), due to the inflammation that was still present in her belly, and the edema in her injured leg. She said that due to her current state, the tissue would not hold in stitches, so we had to wait for some additional healing before we could move forward. I told her how we had an appointment / consult scheduled for Roxy the following day at VCA Aurora (for the hyperbaric oxygen therapy), and she said that we would wait and see what happened with that, before we move forward with anything reconstructive.
Friday (today - 8/9), I went to VCA Aurora with Roxy, about an hour from home. I met with Dr. Abel in the surgery department. We talked about Roxy, her options, and he also highly recommended the hyperbaric oxygen treatment, given her condition. He said that this would allow oxygen to get to areas that are having difficulty with that due to injury / lack of blood flow, which would speed healing. I signed the paperwork and Roxy is currently there, getting her first two hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments.
^ VCA Aurora -- where Dr. Jenn referred me
^ Sign at VCA Aurora about hyperbaric oxygen therapy that they offer
^ Roxy waiting at VCA Aurora. Had to shave higher up, and finally had to shave her tail, as she kept tucking it under and getting it all icky with her drainage (which is still continuing full force)
^ Roxy chilling at VCA Aurora after Dr. Abel examined her
^ can see her major wound and many of the smaller puncture wounds here
^ two of the other bigger puncture wounds, black due to dead tissue that the vet says will slough off
^ Dr. Abel says this looks great! And that I'm doing a good job with keeping it clean and medicated / ointment-ed
So, this is where we are right now. I will go pick up Roxy later tonight from the vet once her two hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments are complete, and then more will be scheduled for this upcoming week.
This is where you come in. I love my dogs to death, and I would do anything for them, but I am not rich. This is one of several unexpected large expenses recently, and I am almost out of credit card to keep charging it on. I run a chinchilla and small animal rescue, and that is what pays my bills -- as you may imagine, it isn't making me rich, but it allows me to help animals and be around them all the time. I want to give Roxy the best treatment she can, and I want to continue with everything she needs, which vets say may or may not include reconstructive surgery on her belly (to close up the wounds), range of motion therapy / physical therapy, and more. We are currently at $1,800 with the deposit I put down at VCA Aurora today (deposit was $566.63, which is expected to be about half), and are looking at a minimum of $2500 or so, to complete the hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Hopefully, this will eliminate the need for the reconstructive surgery, though of course, she will still need daily meds and treatment.
^ vet bill from the emergency vet in Ohio
^ vet bill from Beecher Veterinary (home vet)
^ treatment plan and estimate at VCA Aurora
^ deposit paid at VCA Aurora
Roxy is the happiest dog I have ever known. She has never met a stranger, and even through all of this, she occasionally will wag her tail. All I want is the chance for her to get back to a normal life, where she can run, play, and return to the happy-go-lucky dog that I know.
^ happy Roxy!
I appreciate anything you can give, every little bit helps, and I know she does as well. Thanks so much for reading.