A young dog paralysed by a severe case of tetanus was saved that’s to the heroic efforts of the team at NDSR.
Dr Guillaume Leblond, an American Specialist in Neurology, revealed the one-year-old Hungarian Vizsla was in desperate danger after a wound on her back became infected.
He said the whole team at NDSR celebrated when the dog, called Rua, finally pulled through, admitting it was an incredibly tense time as her life hung in the balance.
Dr Leblond said: “Rua was already quite spastic when she was referred to us and was already unable to eat, so we immediately placed a feeding tube with the help of our internal medicine team.
By the next day, the tetanus toxins had left her rigid and unable to walk and we were concerned that she would soon be unable to breathe.
Under the guidance of our anaesthetist team, we gave her anti-anxiety agents to manage her stress levels and muscle relaxants to try to combat the paralysis and halt her deterioration, but these types of cases are uncommon and unpredictable, so there were no guarantees.”
Rua was monitored and cared for around the clock but the NDSR team knew it was a touch and go scenario. Dr Leblond admitted there were moments when he feared the worst, adding: “It takes a while for any improvement to happen. After a couple of weeks we were still in limbo and nothing had changed.
We weren’t sure which way it would go. She could suddenly get worse and contract aspiration pneumonia or become completely paralysed and unable to breathe, or she could finally show signs of pulling through.
The one advantage we had was that Rua was a young and healthy dog, so we didn’t lose hope of her being fit and strong enough to fight off the toxins.”
During her third week of hospitalisation, Rua finally showed signs of improvement and Dr Leblond and the team worked tirelessly to help her pull through, including attaching her to a harness with wheels to encourage her to take a few steps.
Rua eventually made a full recovery and was allowed home, a happy day for both her and her family, and the vets and nurses who had worked around the clock to help save her life.
Relieved owner Melissa Neadon, from Petts Wood in South East London, admitted she feared the worst when Rua became paralysed and was full of praise for Guillaume and the NDSR team.
She said: “When Rua was referred to NDSR, she was so poorly we didn’t think we would ever see her again. She was hyperventilating, having seizures and wasn’t even aware of us at all.
It was a horrendous and traumatic time. We just had to sit and wait and hope. Every day, Guillaume rang to give us an update and for two weeks it wasn’t good news – either no progress or sometimes a deterioration.
Finally, we got a call to say there was no worsening in her condition, along with the amazing news that the physiotherapists thought there was a slight improvement.
That was the turning point and Rua went on to recover pretty quickly. It was unbelievable that she got through it and we want her case to be an encouragement to anyone else who has to go through the trauma that is tetanus.
She’s living proof there can be a happy ending. She’s made a fantastic recovery. You’d never know there had ever been anything wrong with her, which is why we’re so grateful to Guillaume and the NDSR team.”
Dr Leblond was equally thrilled. He added: “When you’re looking after a patient who has been so poorly for so long, it is impossible not to become involved in their story.
Our nurses had been caring and monitoring her condition for almost a month and, for a lot of that time, there had been no response or improvement.
They put in so much effort and had to deal with so much that was unknown that they were extremely happy when everything ended so well. We all had a big celebration when Rua went home.”
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