Inspiring Tails

Zappa's Story

Zappa was seen at RRAEC in 2014 because she was lethargic and having trouble breathing. By the time we saw her, two other kittens in her litter had passed away and Zappa was very sick; she was dehydrated, and had a low temperature and low blood sugar. She stayed at our clinic for a few days and received IV fluids and medications. We did some more diagnostic tests to figure out what was going on. We found that Zappa had two different kinds of parasites in her stool sample, so we began treatment for those as well. Eventually, after regular feedings, fluids, medications, and warming her up, Zappa was doing well enough to go home. She still had a ways to recover. We are happy to say that a few days later Zappa’s owner called to let us know she was doing well and becoming the feisty kitten shewas meant to be!

Nala's Story

Nala was seen at our clinic in 2015 for heat stroke; she had collapsed at home after some intense exercise outside on a warm day. When arriving at our clinic, she did not have a high temperature or show any of the typical clinical signs of heat stroke, but she did have diarrhea. However, upon doing some blood work, we discovered she was having issues with her blood’s ability to clot as well as the general functioning of her organs. The doctors were worried she could get sicker fairly quickly, so she was hospitalized. Nala was given IV fluids, antibiotics, and had a total of 3 plasma transfusions! After a couple of days of going back and forth between her day clinic and RRAEC, Nala was able to go home.

Remington's Story

Remington was seen at RRAEC in early 2016 because he was limping and had
some swelling in one of his legs. He had also stopped eating after a week of a waxing and waning appetite. His owner noticed he had also been drinking more water the past 3-4 days.

Remington was not on flea/tick preventative and tested positive for Lyme antibodies. His blood tests also showed that he had thrombocytopenia, meaning he had low platelets in his blood causing a decreased clotting ability. The diagnosis for Remington was Lyme nephritis, a condition in which Lyme disease attacks the kidneys. The doctors were not optimistic that he would recover from this. We called a criticalist and spoke with her and she told us that 90% of the cases she sees do not survive.

Remington was hospitalized and put on IV fluids and medications. He wasn’t eating on his own, so he had a feeding tube placed. He stayed at our hospital for 4 days and then went home with his owner. When we heard from his mom a few months later, she told us Remington was doing great! He is a survivor, a rare 10%!

Rokko's Story

Rokko came to RRAEC in 2016 because he had eaten a large amount of a sleep supplement. Upon arrival, Rokko’s vital signs were normal; however, he was experiencing tremors, and his eyes were not responding to light or movement. The biggest concerns for Rokko were the tremors and potential long term neurologic effects.

Rokko was hospitalized for 30 hours; we immediately started him on IV fluids and medications to help control the tremors so he could relax. His blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature were closely monitored while he was in our care as well.

As his stay went on, Rokko slowly started improving and we were able to discontinue the medications for the tremors. Eventually his eyes started to respond and his tremors subsided completely. The doctor decided if he did not show any signs of recurrence, he could go home. Rokko went a few more hours with no tremors and was able to go home later that day. His owner says he’s doing great at home!

Fable's Story

Fable was an adorable yellow Labrador retriever who came to see us as a puppy. She had been vomiting and having diarrhea for a day. She still wanted to eat some food but was increasingly lethargic. Even though she had a set of vaccinations, we immediately tested for canine parvovirus. Unfortunately, Fable’s result was positive.

An extremely contagious virus causes canine parvovirus and targets an infected dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Unvaccinated dogs and young puppies are the most susceptible to this disease. The virus is spread through contaminated feces and can survive in the environment despite heat, cold, humidity, and dry spells. Vaccinations can prevent canine parvovirus, but there is no drug to treat it directly.

Fable stayed with us and her regular veterinary clinic for several days and nights. Since there are no medications or drugs that destroy parvovirus, treatment consists of supportive care until the immune system can combat the virus. We gave her intravenous fluids and medications throughout her stay to do just that.

During her hospitalization, Fable began to show no interest in food. We placed a nasogastric feeding tube in order to give her the sustenance her body needed. On her third night with us, Fable was more energetic. She returned to her regular clinic where she was later discharged to go home with her family. Now she has returned to being an active, happy puppy!

Putz's Story

Putz came to RRAEC in late 2016. His owners were concerned about him because he was vomiting and not eating or going to the bathroom.

Upon examination, Putz’s vitals were normal, but he was a little dehydrated. We ran some lab work, took x-rays, and did an ultrasound to see what was going on with Putz. The results of his work up showed that he had kidney failure to the point where his body couldn’t manage it on its own, as well as a severe degenerative joint disease in one of his legs and a possible urinary tract infection.

Putz was hospitalized; we started him on medications and IV fluids for the night. He also had a feeding tube placed so we could ensure he was getting the proper nutrition that he needed. We continued to monitor his blood work and kidney function. After 24 hours in the hospital, the doctor started becoming more optimistic about Putz’s medical status. He stayed in the hospital another day and then was able to go home.

Putz’s owners said he is doing great! His appetite has increased, and he is keeping weight on, drinking lots of water, and wanting to play with his toys. We are so glad to hear that! Way to go Putz.

Ranger's Story

A handsome golden retriever named Ranger came to see us late in the evening because he was vomiting throughout the day and previous night. We took x-rays and found gas and fluid in the stomach. What drew the doctor’s eye was a small object near the entrance to the small intestines. The doctor recommended an endoscopic examination because the object seemed to be located in the stomach.

The clinic had recently obtained a new piece of equipment called an endoscope. It is a long tube with a camera at the end that can be used to get pictures and video from the inside of a patient. Other instruments can be run through the scope to take samples or even grab and pull out items!

After a bit of sedation, Ranger fell asleep, and the doctor ran the endoscope through the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. Among the pink walls of the stomach, a large strip of black plastic stood out. The doctor was able to grasp the plastic and pull it out from Ranger’s stomach using an attachment from the endoscope. The first endoscope use was a success. Even though the plastic was out, the doctor used the endoscope once more to make sure there were no other lesions or foreign material in the stomach. Thankfully, there were none. Ranger stayed overnight to recover. He did well the rest of the night and went home with his family the following morning!

Chichi's Story

Chichi came to RRAEC in 2016 for a possible ingestion of her owner’s medication. Chichi’s owners did not see her eat the pills, but after consulting with the Pet Poison Helpline, our doctors decided that Chichi’s symptoms were consistent with the ingestion of the medication.

Upon arriving at the clinic, Chichi’s symptoms included shaking, crying, drooling, and incoordination. The ingestion of a single 20 mg tablet was a potentially fatal dose of this medication to a dog Chichi’s size. We started Chichi on medications, IV fluids, and oxygen therapy.

Throughout the night Chichi developed a cough that became more persistent, the doctor was becoming increasingly concerned about Chichi so we took some x-rays. Her lungs looked good, but because Chichi wasn’t getting enough oxygen we intubated her and placed her on a ventilator (a machine that breathes for her) so that she could get a good amount of oxygen in her body. She was on the ventilator for about an hour, then she was taken off as she was breathing on her own. Chichi stayed in the hospital for a few days, transferring from RRAEC to her regular day clinic. Finally, she got to go home, and her owners say she’s doing great!

Winston's Story

Winston transferred to RRAEC from his regular clinic in 2016, where he was being treated for suspected rat poison ingestion. When Winston arrived at the clinic, his breathing had increased and he was becoming increasingly lethargic. The doctor had to run some diagnostics, like bloodwork, to try to help determine what he got in to. The lab results showed that Winston had anemia (a low amount of red blood cells, the cells that deliver oxygen.)

There are many different types of rat poisons, but the two most popular ones we see at the clinic contain either an anticoagulant or bromethalin. The doctor found that the rodenticide he could’ve been exposed to was of the anticoagulant variety. This type of poison acts as a blood thinner and disrupts the way that blood clots in the body. This can cause an animal to become unstable by becoming lethargic, have difficulty breathing, and uncontrolled bleeding.

To help Winston, we performed a blood transfusion to try to raise his red blood cell count. In addition to the transfusion, we gave him activated charcoal to help absorb the toxins in his system. After the blood transfusion was complete, Winston’s breathing became stable. We rechecked the lab work which showed his red blood cell volume as well as the ability of his blood to clot! Winston stayed in the hospital throughout the night and was placed on IV fluids and received more activated charcoal.

The following morning Winston transferred back to his regular veterinarian where he was later able to go home with his family.

Finley's Story

Finley is a 9 month old German Shorthair puppy who was brought in one weekend in December 2017 for vomiting and a painful abdomen. We took x-rays and found gas and fluid in the stomach and intestines, but we couldn’t confirm nor deny that there was any foreign material in the GI tract. The doctor decided to hospitalize Finley, start her on IV Fluids, and recheck x-rays later on in the day if she was not improving.

Despite being on medications and fluids, Finley continued to vomit. The doctor recommended rechecking x-rays and doing an abdominal ultrasound. The x-rays and ultrasound showed that the stomach was still enlarged and that foreign material was suspected within the stomach. Finley needed surgery.

Upon opening Finley’s abdomen and stomach, the doctor found a hard plastic shard and a piece of fabric that was causing a blockage between her stomach and intestine. This was the culprit of her vomiting and painful abdomen. Finley recovered well after surgery and remained hospitalized at the clinic for the remainder of the weekend. She transferred to her regular vet Monday morning where she was later sent home. She is now doing well at home with her family!

Prince's Story

Prince first came to RRAEC in November 2017 for inflammation of the liver, pancreas, and small intestine which is also known as triaditis. Prince was not eating and losing weight rapidly. He had to be hospitalized and put on IV fluids. Along with being put on an IV, Prince had to have a feeding tube to supplement him with nutrients because he was still not eating. He spent the next few days transferring back to his regular vet and RRAEC.

As the weekend progressed, Prince’s condition began to rapidly decline. His bloodwork showed abnormal blood glucose levels and he was anemic. Prince needed a blood transfusion to help. After the transfusion, his condition began to improve significantly. Prince still needed his feeding tube in but he continued to do well so he was able to go home with his owner later that day. But that’s not where Prince’s story ends. He actually returned to the clinic several more times due to the fact that his feeding tube kept clogging.

Prince spent a total of 7 days in and out of the clinic being hospitalized and trying to unclog his feeding tube. As of today, Prince no longer requires a feeding tube and is doing excellent at home with his family. (Bottom right picture shows no more feeding tube and eating on his own!)

Luna's Story

Luna came to RRAEC back in December of 2017 after being attacked by two other dogs. She had several lacerations, bite wounds, and a severe degloving wound on her leg. Degloving occurs when a large amount of skin is torn away, leaving underlying tissue exposed. The damage to Luna’s limb was so severe that the doctor could not close it completely. Her family was given two options; 1. Try to save the leg, which would require a splint, bandage changes, multiple sedations, and potentially amputating later if unsuccessful. 2. Amputate the leg to save her a longer recovery time and potentially prevent amputation later on.

Despite the odds, Luna’s owners decided they wanted to try to save her leg. This involved keeping a splint on her leg and changing her bandage every day. Luna was so painful that at the beginning of her treatments, she had to be sedated during every bandage change. After several bandage changes at both RRAEC and her day veterinarian, Luna’s leg began to heal. She still needed her bandage changed frequently, but the time between bandage changes became longer and longer. Luna’s prognosis began to improve and she started to do much better with the bandage changes.

Eventually, Luna no longer needed to be sedated for bandage changes. After several weeks of continuing this process, Luna did not need her splint, just needed a bandage to help protect the remainder of the wound.

Now, Luna is finished up with bandage changes and treatments. She has recovered extremely well with her family. Luna has been enjoying snagging hats from her human siblings and going on long runs with her mom.

Cinnamon Roll's Story

Cinnamon Roll came to RRAEH very ill after ingesting two pennies. Zinc in pennies can cause the body to react in an extremely negative manor. It can cause a variety of symptoms such as pale gums, weakness, lack of appetite, discolored urine, and anemia. These symptoms indicate damage to the red blood cells. Cinnamon Roll’s red blood cell count was very low and she needed to have two things to save her life; 1.) She needed to undergo a blood transfusion to help stabilize her, and 2.) The pennies needed to be removed as soon as possible!

First things first, Cinnamon Roll received a packed red blood cell transfusion from one of RRAEH’s Blood Bank donors, Hank (pictured below)! After she had received the blood transfusion, an endoscopy was performed to remove both pennies. Throughout the night, Cinnamon Roll began to improve and her bloodwork began to stabilize. The following day she was able to be discharged.

Milo's Story

Milo transferred to RRAEH in July of 2018 after collapsing at home. Milo had become extremely overheated and was suffering from heatstroke. Heatstroke can cause a variety of symptoms in dogs such as: collapse, seizures, dehydration, increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, very high body temperature, clotting disorders, skin bruising, bloody stools, and coma.

Milo was experiencing increased heart rate and respiratory rate upon arrival as well as bruising on the skin and the beginning of bloody stools. Blood work was performed which revealed that Milo was very dehydrated and his blood was not clotting the way it was supposed to. His prognosis was extremely grave but his owners wanted to try everything they could to help him. Milo needed plasma transfusions, IV fluids, and medications to attempt to re-hydrate him and improve his clotting issues.

The RRAEH Staff acted quickly and began treatment immediately. In total, Milo ended up needing 3 plasma transfusions to stabilize his blood values. After the transfusions, Milo slowly began to improve. He spent 4 days in hospital before he was discharged to his loving owners. Pictured below is a happy, healthy Milo.

Moose's Story

Moose came to RRAEH in December of 2018 for vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever after eating some carpet at home. After taking abdominal radiographs, it was concluded that there was potentially some foreign material in his intestinal tract. Moose had two options at this point. Option 1 was to go in immediately for exploratory surgery and option 2 was to give IV fluids (since he was so dehydrated) in attempt to help the foreign material pass on its own. After discussing with his family, it was decided to go with option 2 – IV Fluids and Rechecking radiographs after 8-10 hours.

After 8 hours of fluids and rechecking radiographs, there was no improvement. Moose needed surgery. While in surgery, the doctor found a large amount of carpet material lodged within his stomach and intestinal tract. After removing the carpet, the doctor had to remove 2 ½ feet of his intestine due to the area being extremely damaged. After surgery, Moose still seemed uncomfortable, would not eat, and would not walk. He needed a lot of pain medication and a urinary catheter since he was not able to stand to go outside. In addition to those treatments, he needed a feeding tube to supply him with nutrients since he did not want to eat.

Three days post-surgery, Moose was still hospitalized and finally able to get up to sling walk with much effort from the RRAEH staff. Over the next few days, he slowly began to walk and eat on his own and eventually was able to have his urinary catheter and his feeding tube removed! After nearly 7 days in the hospital, Moose was able to go home. He has now made a full recovery and is doing well at home with his family. Moose spends his time cuddling with his human siblings, stealing snacks, going on walks, and playing in the snow (even when he gets stuck and his people need to help him).

Fun Fact: Moose was 150 pounds and too large to fit into most of our non heated kennels so he spent a majority of his time at RRAEH on a homemade bed on the treatment area floor alongside the staff.

Basil's Story

Basil the ferret came to RRAEH after being attacked by a dog. Basil had a large bite wound on his chest that was penetrating into his chest wall. Because the bite punctured the chest wall, Basil had lung contusions and pneumothorax (collapsed lung.) In order to help him, Basil needed surgery on his chest to repair the damage to his chest wall. Once his initial chest wounds were repaired, the doctor placed a chest tube to help remove any excess fluid or air left in his chest. After the surgery, Basil began to improve. He was hospitalized for 3 days and was able to be discharged to his loving family. Basil’s owners report that he is doing very well!

Jack's Story

Jack came in to RRAEH after running into the side of a moving vehicle. When he arrived, he was unable to walk, had some very significant head trauma that consisted of a head tilt and a crossed eye, and was having some difficulty breathing. Upon further examination via ultrasound, it was discovered that Jack had contusions and a pneumothorax (air in his chest due to a collapsed lung) which was causing him to have difficulty breathing. He needed a thoracocentesis (tapping of the chest with a needle or cannula to remove the air) to help improve his respiratory effort. In total, 800ml of air was removed from his chest cavity.

Jack was still showing some signs of increased respiratory effort, so he needed a nasal insufflation catheter (tube in the nose) to give him oxygen. Once his breathing was stabilized, the doctors directed their attention to Jack’s head and potential spinal injury. Jack began having seizure activity, so he needed medications to reduce the swelling of his brain, to help stop the seizures, and for pain.

Jack was still unable to walk, so after consulting with Neurologists at the University of Minnesota, RRAEH doctors recommended he be hospitalized so we could continually give him medications in hopes that his symptoms would improve. There was a chance that Jack would not recover from his injuries.

Despite the odds, Jack’s owners decided to try everything for him. A urinary catheter was placed since he was unable to move and he was on numerous medications. RRAEH staff worked tirelessly to adjust Jack’s medications in attempts to reduce his seizures and improve his brain function. After a few days, his nasal oxygen was eventually turned off as he was breathing on his own normally. Jack began showing signs of movement and wanting to walk, so RRAEH technicians began assisting jack with physical therapy. On day 4 of hospitalization, Jack began walking with assistance. It was a huge victory for the staff. Everyone was very excited to see him up and moving. Jack stayed with the RRAEH staff for a total of 6 days before he was able to be discharged to his family. Since his discharge, Jack’s owners have shared updated photos of him (see below).

Rue's Story

Rue presented to RRAEH as a referral for fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite for a significant amount of time. Despite getting treated with several medications to help, her symptoms were still prominent. Upon ultrasound examination with Dr. Carver, abdominal fluid was noted and her gall bladder looked abnormal. Fluid samples were collected and sent off for evaluation.

We suggested a CT scan of Rue to try to target the main issue. CT scans revealed Rue had a possible ruptured gallbladder and needed surgery immediately. In surgery, Dr. Carver isolated her gall bladder and confirmed the rupture and that it needed to be removed which was a very risky and complex surgery. In total, the surgery lasted around 3 hours. Dr. Carver had to place a drain in Rue’s abdomen to help clear any excess fluid from building up.

After surgery, a nasogastric tube (feeding tube through the nose to the stomach) was placed to help provide her with proper nutrition until she was able to eat again. Being as it was an invasive surgery, Rue had to be hospitalized for several days to closely monitor her. We had to make sure that she was healing properly and no further symptoms progressed. Rue slowly began to recover from surgery. There was no fluid coming from her abdominal drain, she was starting to eat, and she began to get stronger. After around 5 days in hospital, her tubes and drains were removed and she was able to be discharged to her family. Her family now reports that she is doing fantastic at home.

“Rue is doing absolutely amazing!!! BIG THANK YOU to Dr. Carver and the staff at Red River Emergency Hospital.  You saved our dog and for that we are forever grateful.” – Rue’s Family

Rusty's Story

Rusty is a young adult Golden Retriever who was transferred to our hospital last February of 2020. Rusty had continuous seizure activity that was minimally responsive to anti-seizure medications and needed more intensive treatment. Rusty had no history of seizures and was normal prior to collapsing in front of his owner. His family scoped their house and yard for any signs of potential toxins and a definitive answer was never found. But, we did know that Rusty had a severe neurotoxin affecting his central nervous system along with a liver injury and had later developed aspiration pneumonia as well.

Rusty’s treatment consisted of numerous anti-seizure medications and sedatives, muscle relaxants for tremors, other supportive medications, and intensive nursing care. We did a gastric lavage, which is ultimately emptying and flushing his stomach contents, in case of a recent toxin ingestion. We also supported him with oxygen and a feeding tube. A urinary catheter was placed and he required basic physical therapy exercises due to his unresponsive state.

Rusty spent a week in our care. A little over half way through his stay he started to show more and more response to stimuli and some interest in hand feedings. A couple days later we were able to transition to less intensive care and some oral medications. On the 7th day Rusty was discharged! He went home on multiple medications and instructions for physical therapy. He needed to learn how to be a normal dog again!

Now, a year later, he is off all of his medications and is basically 100% back to himself per his owner. We hope you get many more summers filled with boat rides Rusty!

Mable's Story

Mable is a 4 year old Old English Bulldog who came to our hospital in December of 2020 as a transfer from the University of Minnesota. She had progressive kidney failure due to presumed Lyme nephritis in need of hemodialysis treatment to save her life. Lyme nephritis is the result of a severe kidney infection caused by a tick-borne disease called Lyme disease.

After stabilizing Mable with supportive medications and fluids, she underwent her first dialysis treatment with Dr. Carver. Dr. Carver is our board-certified criticalist who specializes in this advanced treatment. Dialysis is ultimately removing toxins from the body by removing the “dirty” blood and replacing it with filtered “clean” blood. She ended up having 4 total dialysis treatments.

Mable was also treated with antibiotics, blood pressure medications, pain medications, and medications to suppress her immune system. She also required a feeding tube for further support of her kidneys and close monitoring of her urine output. Mable was able to be discharged from our hospital after 2 weeks, but her treatment did not end here. She had to be very closely monitored by her owners and her regular veterinarian.

Happily, Mable is currently being tapered off her medications and is reportedly becoming her normal spunky self again and gaining her weight and muscle back. An update from Mable’s owner let us know that they have had her since she was only 4 months old. Her favorite things in life are meeting new people, getting scratches, going for walks, and playing with her favorite toys.

Fun fact: Mable has her own Instagram: mable_the_dog01

Gigi’s Story

Gigi (aka Gigalicious or Pretty Girl) is a 3-legged 9 year old dog who presented to us at the end of November 2020 for numerous, severe dog bite wounds. Due to the vastness of Gigi’s wounds, the doctors on her case and her owners decided it was best to hospitalize her so that she had the best possible outcome and 24/7 nursing care. She also was going to require daily wound cleaning and bandage changes to save her only front leg.

While hospitalized we were able to manage her pain with multiple pain medications and basic physical therapy exercises as she was not able to walk or stand. We also gave multiple IV antibiotics and sent out a wound culture test to a lab to figure out what kind of bacteria she had in her wounds. We found that she had an antibiotic-resistant bacteria present and needed a special antibiotic to fight the worsening infection. After this was started, she started showing more improvement in her symptoms (fever, not eating, lethargy). Another procedure we did during her stay was place a central IV line. This is a type of IV catheter that goes into a large blood vessel and allows us to give multiple IV fluids at a time and give us easy access to blood samples.

After over a week of hospitalization, Gigi was ready to start oral medications and she was building her strength back and walking more on her own. A few days later, she was discharged from our hospital. Although Gigi could heal from home now, her recovery was still not over yet. Gigi needed numerous bandage changes. Midway into January of this year, our doctors determined her front leg had healed properly and did not need any further bandages!

Gigi is now back to enjoying the good life and car rides. We’re so happy you got your spunk back Gigi!

Ezra's Story

Ezra came to RRAEH on referral from the University of Minnesota back in October of 2019. Ezra was diagnosed with an acute kidney injury and because his kidney values continued to worsen and he wasn’t urinating much anymore despite treatment, he was in need of hemodialysis with Dr. Carver. Ezra’s symptoms and lab work had his doctors highly concerned for Leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the bacteria “Leptospira”, and it is found in the soil and water of mostly warm or rainy climates. Symptoms of Lepto vary from no symptoms to severe illness. It can cause kidney failure, liver failure, breathing issues, swollen legs, and bleeding disorders. Ezra’s kidneys were being severely affected by this disease.

To confirm the diagnosis of Lepto, we sent out a lab sample that came back consistent for the disease. We treated with aggressive IV fluids, antibiotics, and other supportive medications. Ezra also had a urinary catheter placed to closely monitor his urine production, an esophagostomy tube (a type of feeding tube that goes through the esophagus to the stomach) for extra nutrition and fluid support, and a whopping total of 6 dialysis treatments.

After 6 & ½ weeks of hospitalization he was cleared for discharge! This was an amazing step not only for Ezra and his family but for his medical care staff as well. Ezra spent Halloween and Thanksgiving with his vet techs and became the “lab supervisor” as our lab area became his own bedroom. Although he was able to go home, he had a lot of further care and monitoring in his future still. His regular veterinarian and his owners had to continue supporting him with fluids and food, monitoring his weight and urine production, and his blood pressure and blood values.

Now, over a year later, his owner reports he is doing wonderful despite being left with significant kidney disease. He is always all smiles and full of energy. His favorite things include going for walks, snuggling, and playing with his stuffed animals. His dislikes include bicycles and any type of delivery person (FedEx, UPS, etc). Ezra also had a special “in” with his doctor, he got to hang out with Dr. Carver in the on-call room while his mom was away doing interviews.