Posted by Aubrey, June 16th, 2009
Well we have had quite a weekend here at the kinnaman household. After a relaxing saturday afternoon at the pool, we were hanging out for a quiet evening at home. Kyle noticed that Kasey seemed like he was not feeling well and was gagging. He went to pet him and his stomach was bloated. Within half an hour we decided to take him in to the emergency clinic, hoping it was minor, might cost a couple hundred bucks and we could come home. This was not at all the case. Upon admittance, Kasey was diagnosed with Gastric Torsion (his stomach flipped) and the he would need emergency surgery immediately or he would die. For those wondering what this condition is, it is eally more common amongst Large Breed dogs like great danes, saint bernards and labs (not australian shepherds). The doctor had never seen this happen in a dog kasey’s size and nobody knows what causes it. Many have heard about it because it is what kills Marley in the movie “Marley and Me:. Despite the hollywood drama, Gastric torsion and bloat is thoroughly treatable with surgery and dogs go on to live a normal life. It’s just prohibitively expensive. But a choice had to be made and we chose to save Kasey.
Surgery started around 11PM. The goal was to decompress, untwist the stomach and anchor it to his ribcage so that it would not be able to flip again. The doctor called us at 115AM to tell us that Kasey was bleeding internally and was suffering from DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation). This is a condition in which the surface of the organs just ooze blood uncontrollably, in this case it was Kasey’s liver. We opted for a plasma transfusion to hopefully help him clot as it was our only option. Surgery completed around 2AM and he was stable. By 5 he was having respiratory distress and was intubated with oxygen. His blood panels indicated that he had internal bleeding and was most likely bleeding into his chest cavity. Because of the DIC they could not go in and try to stop it because he would bleed out so we simply had to give him time to recover on his own. He was in bad shape at this point. By noon his numbers were little more promising but he still looked really bad.
Dr. Johnson (the night doctor and the one who performed his surgery) was back on shift sunday evening and gave us a call to let us know that Kasey was coughing a lot and so they did some chest x-rays and noted an accumulation in his left middle lobe of his lungs. This new complication was aspirated pnuemonia and they began treating with two powerful antibiotics to help him as well as adding humidyfing and nebulizer treatments in with his oxygen. When we went to bed on sunday night, Kasey was still in “guarded” condition and Dr. Johnson advised we would probably need to transfer Kasey to the 24 hour emergency facility in cobb county when cherokee clinic closed at 8AM on monday (they are only open nights and weekends).
Everything had changed when we called on monday morning. Apparently Kasey perked up around 2 AM and announced to everyone that he didn’t want to be there anymore. He had improved enough by 8AM that we were able to transfer him to Dr. Beck to keep him for the day before being able to come home that night. We are so happy to have Kasey home and are now working out how to pay the bill which at this point is $5100 and climbing. But he is worth every penny!