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Henley and Twyford

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Case Notes: Angel: Dog with Ruptured Abdominal Wall
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Angels story starts with her being out on a walk with her owners. She had disappeared for a while and at one point they had heard her yelp but were not sure why.

Whilst getting into the car Angels owners noticed that she had developed a large lump on her side and this seemed to be causing her some discomfort. They telephoned Justin at the surgery who advised that we should see her.

When she arrived at the surgery she was bright and responsive but she was very painful along the right side and underneath her abdomen. Angel was give a strong painkiller and a decision was made to admit her to take an x-ray of her abdomen to investigate the swelling.

The x-ray revealed that Angel had a rupture of her abdominal wall (her muscle layers) on the right hand side and her intestines had herniated through this rupture. This potentially can be very serious because damage can occur to the intestines and so Angel was anaesthetized so that we could place the intestines back into the abdomen and repair the ruptured abdominal wall.

It wasn’t until Angel was having her surgery that the full extent of the damage could be seen. She had a tear through the intercostals muscles (these are the muscles between the ribs) and an adjoining three - inch circular rupture through which the intestines had herniated. After Justin had checked the intestines for any signs of damage he gently placed them back into the abdomen through the hole.

The tear between the ribs and the rupture was then sutured back together. This involved placing stitches in two layers of muscles, the subcutaneaous tissues and then the skin to suture it back together.

At surgery a small puncture wound was also noted along her back. This too was investigated and it was found that the skin layer had been pulled and separated from the tissues underneath. The puncture wound was debrided and then flushed copiously with sterile saline. A penrose drain was then placed (this allows any fluids to drain away which may develop as a result of the trauma and possible infection) and then the wound was sutured together.

Angel stayed in the hospital overnight so that we could continue her painkillers and observe her. She was still a little uncomfortable the following day but well enough to go home. We saw Angel back at the surgery a few days later; her drain was removed and her wounds were healing well. The stitches were removed a week later.

Angel is a lucky girl, her injuries were probably caused by a dog bite, and although they were serious they could have been a lot worse.

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Henley Vets and Twyford Vets
The Veterinary Centre: 271 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1EL - Phone 01491 574490
Also at Twycombe Lodge, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, RG10 9JA - Phone 0118 934 0259