Vets/Vet Techs - writer needs details for story?
I am writing a book that features a veterinarian dealing with a dog that has been hit by a car and was not seen by medical help for several days. I have some (human) medical background so I know enough to imagine fractured femurs, etc but I am looking for more systemic consequences from being untreated for a few days - would the dog have rhabdo, for instance? And would it have kidney damage after a few days? Would a dog die after a few days with a ruptured spleen?
I'd like to be able to have my vet character outline what this dog would need in the way of surgery/follow up treatment and how much such extensive treatment would cost (the character is going to host a fundraiser to pay for it, but I need to know a ballpark figure)
- SaraLv 78 years ago
If a dog was hbc (hit by car) and left for a few days, it could have some minor damage like road rash, lacerations, things like that. If you're looking at broken bones, the most common breakage you'll see in dogs will be their pelvis, ribs, and the long bones of the front leg (radius and ulna). If a dog has internal damage, it usually isn't the spleen, although that can happen. A dog with a ruptured spleen won't live more than a few hours. They bleed out incredibly fast, and most of the time, the dog expires before it can even get medical attention. The strangest thing I ever saw in necropsy after a hbc was a dog who's left kidney had split like a grape. It had only happened a couple of hours before hand, but the majority of the tissue on the outside of the kidney was already necrotic.
A dog left for three days with broken bones will be in shock, and if the shock hasn't killed them, they'll be severely dehydrated and hungry. If they have bruising on internal organs, the shock will be even worse. In three days, you would also have the beginnings of infection if there are compound fractures or open wounds. Infections in dogs can quickly become sepsis, so that's always a possibility.
If a dog has a broken pelvis, pain meds, steroids (usually), and strict cage rest is the usual treatment for that. Broken ribs, generally the same thing. A broken long bone may heal in a splint, but it may require pins, and that's expensive. Lacerations will have to be stitched and the animal will usually benefit from a stay in the hospital on fluids, steroids and pain meds.
Hope this helps, but if you need more specific information, you can email me through my profile. I worked as an animal control officer and a vet tech for almost ten years, and I saw more than my fair share of dogs hbc. I also had a lot of friends who worked at an emergency clinic and vet techs love to get together and "talk shop". So, if you need more details, just let me know.
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