Here is a dog story with a tragic start but a happy ending.
When Dutch, a miniature dachshund, arrived at Mississippi State University’s Animal Health Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine, he was lucky to be alive.
“Most people would have put him to sleep, but I thought he had a chance,” said Dr. Robert Shamblin, Dutch’s owner and a veterinarian for over 40 years. “He wanted to live.”
Dutch was attacked by a coyote on his morning outing with Shamblin’s wife at their home outside of Tuscaloosa.
“When he came in the house, I saw that he had puncture wounds on each side of his chest,” Shamblin said. “I wrapped him up, took him to my clinic, cleaned his wounds, gave him IVs and medication, and sutured him up as best as I could. On one side of his rib cage he was split three inches along his intercostal muscles. We sewed any tissue we could get to cover the wound.”
Shamblin, his associate veterinarians and their staff watched Dutch night and day.
“He was feeling better, then on the third day, he crashed,” Shamblin said. “There was just nothing to hold the wound together. So I called MSU. I have referred several patients there, and clients are happy with the service there.
“The doctors at MSU told me to wrap him up well with vet wrap and bring him over,” he said.
Dr. Ryan Butler, assistant professor of small animal surgery at CVM, confirmed Dutch was very ill when he got to MSU’s Animal Health Center.
“Dutch had significant chest wounds and a pretty significant infection in his chest,” Butler said, “But he had a lot of will to live, and that was a key to his success.”
Butler and Dr. Richard Hurt, the center’s small animal surgery resident, took Dutch straight to surgery. Third-year student Caroline Aparicio assisted with Dutch’s care.
“We were worried about the little fellow because of the infection and because he had been through a lot,” Butler said. “But he responded well to treatment and did surprisingly well after the surgery.”
Hurt said the team was delighted to see Dutch do so well.
“He had the most impressive wound I have ever seen,” Hurt said. “I give credit to Dutch’s exceptional strength and to Dr. Shamblin for stabilizing him with IV fluids, antibiotics and pain medications. Without Dr. Shamblin’s care, the outcome most certainly would have been different.”
Shamblin said he was thrilled with the care Dutch received at MSU.
“Dr. Hurt called me once a day, and Caroline called me twice a day at least,” Shamblin said. “We were kept well informed. Caroline really took an interest in him — everyone did, because he wasn’t supposed to be alive.”
Butler said this type of communication is the standard with their clients.
“Any time we have a patient in the hospital, whether it is sick or is having an elective procedure, we try to keep the owners up-to-date on their pet’s progress,” Butler said. “It’s a support and learning opportunity for the students as well, so they learn how to communicate with clients.”
Shamblin credits Dutch’s medical team and MSU-CVM’s advanced technology with saving his dog’s life.
“They’ve got equipment that a private practitioner wouldn’t think about having,” he said. “I credit my team with keeping him alive until we could get him to MSU, but we couldn’t have saved his life. Dutch is a miracle story.”
(Courtesy of Keri Collins Lewis, MSU Ag Communications)