On January 31, 2015, a Great Dane was presented at an emergency veterinary center for symptoms of gastric torsion. The diagnosis was confirmed by an X-ray of his stomach. The only way to save an animal suffering from gastric torsion is surgery. Unfortunately, because they couldn’t pay such a bill (we are talking about $ 5,000), their owners opted for the surrender of their dog to give him a chance to survive under the care of an organization. We decided to take care of him, given his good prognosis and his young age.
He was sent to surgery quickly to prevent his condition from getting worse. He wagged his tail and stood up as if nothing had happened despite his condition. The surgery went relatively well, but he was still not out of the woods. It’s not enough to put the stomach back in place. This condition disrupts the whole body because the stomach is so expanding that it crushes all other organs and this can cause problems. In general, several days of intensive care are needed.
He was therefore transferred to the intensive care unit for his recovery from surgery, where he received intravenous fluids and painkillers and where cardiac monitoring was done continuously using an ECG. The technicians and veterinarians followed him very closely all far from the evening. After a few hours he seemed to be backing up a bit, he was finally getting up and reacting when talking to him.
Unfortunately, around 4am, he became very unstable. His vital parameters were more and more disturbing, he was no longer reacting, he was hypoglycemic, hypotensive and his lactate level was very high (lactic acid level which is released during the “death” of tissues; is high, the more you worry).
Veterinarians did not understand what was happening, but the most plausible thing they thought was a problem with the spleen. After a few tests to try to understand what was happening given his condition that was not improving at all, we had some results; he needed a plasma transfusion and emergency exploratory surgery to see what was happening with his spleen that seemed to be expanding … Emergency vets suspected that a spleen embolic, so it had to be removed quickly and we had to cross our fingers that this would help her up the slope!
With a prognosis that darkened from minutes to minutes and knowing that even if we did everything we could, it probably would not survive, we had to make the worst decisions; letting him go to avoid that he suffers uselessly.