PESCM in the News
Football Party Sends Pup to the Hospital
Emergency surgery saves the life of alpha dog Sydney
As is typical in many Bay Area households, Sunday afternoon meant football and feasting at the Palermo household. Only nobody told Sydney that the feast wasn't for her. One misplaced paper plate filled with food and paper towels almost cost Sydney her life. If it weren't for her very intuitive 'mother' and the emergency and surgical team at Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin, this 13-year old Australian Shepherd/Chow mix wouldn't be here today.
Debbie Palermo has always been very in tune to her dogs and she just adores animals. So when Sydney started acting strangely after a football gathering, she took her to the vet right away. X-rays were taken and sent out for analysis by a veterinary radiologist. Pending those results, Debbie took Sydney back home to monitor her. With a 13-year old dog, it could have been any number of medical issues, but Debbie never could have guessed what Sydney had gotten herself into!
The call came from Sydney's regular veterinarian with strict instructions - take Sydney to the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin right away. The x-ray results had just come in and something was very wrong. The emergency team at PESCM examined Sydney and immediately performed an ultrasound, a specialized test using sound waves to look inside the body. The ultrasound showed an abnormal build up of fluid in Sydney's abdomen. After testing a sample of the fluid, the emergency team discovered it was infected -- which meant that the contents of Sydney's intestines were leaking fluid into her abdominal cavity. Not good.
Veterinary surgical specialist Dr. Cheri Nielsen rushed in to perform a life-saving operation on Sydney called an intestinal resection. Turns out, something had completely blocked Sydney's intestinal tract, causing the wall of the intestine to actually die. Dr. Nielsen extracted the object, removed the dead section of intestine and sewed Sydney's healthy intestines back together.
"It's amazing the technology that is available for our pets in this day and age," says Debbie Palermo, Sydney's owner. "Without emergency surgery, Sydney might not be with us today and that would have been devastating to our family."
What had actually caused the blockage? Well, that remained a bit of a mystery until the brown, wadded-up clump of material could be teased apart. "I recognized the pattern immediately," said Debbie. "It was the paper towels I had used for our football party!"
"I was surprised to learn that paper towels had caused this," states Dr. Nielsen. "Normally paper products are passed easily without too much trouble, but it seems that paper towels are being made stronger these days and this one just wouldn't move through naturally."
As it turns out, Sydney has been obsessed with paper products her whole life. She even learned how to open the trashcans to remove paper products. "She had always passed these objects without any trouble," says Debbie. "Dr. Nielsen said that if we had waited one more day, Sydney could have died. I just want to encourage people to trust their instincts. If something doesn't seem right with their pet, it probably isn't. Just like you would for your child, take immediate action if your pet's behavior changes. Something's probably wrong and they just don't have the voice to tell you."
Dr. Nielsen removes foreign bodies from animals at least once per week and has some advice for pet parents. "Remember to keep a close eye on your pet, especially when you are having a party. With Super Bowl parties coming up, I can almost guarantee we'll have pets come into the ER that have eaten something they shouldn't have. Be vigilant what your pet has access to, notify your guests that your pet isn't allowed to eat table scraps and you might just save your furry family member's life."about
Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin is a privately owned, state-of-the-art hospital specifically designed to provide emergency and specialty care for Marin pets. In the event of an emergency, dial 415-456-7372 or for more information, visit www.petemergencycenter.com.