Meet Felix: A Trauma Case Study
Felix, an 8-year-old Australian shepherd mix, was on a walk with his owner when he was aggressively attacked by another dog. His owners noticed a swelling on his right side, but couldn’t find many external wounds. They brought him in to Animal Emergency & Specialty Center of Chattanooga where he was rushed to the treatment room for examination.
Emergency veterinarian Dr. Fanta’s initial exam revealed that Felix was in a lot of pain with extensive damage to his body wall. Pain medications were given immediately. X-rays were taken to establish the extent of his injury.
Felix was diagnosed with an abdominal-wall hernia, when the muscular body wall is damaged, allowing internal organs to push through into the subcutaneous layer of the skin. Dr. Fanta recommended surgery to assess internal organ damage and to repair the abdominal-wall hernia. Possible complications were discussed with Felix’ owners. They ultimately chose to proceed with surgery to give Felix a chance of recovery.
During Felix’ surgery, the entire abdomen was examined for damage. Luckily no major trauma was found. Felix had a bruised right kidney, but the injury was not severe enough to warrant surgical intervention. Felix’ abdomen was closed and a drain was placed to monitor fluid buildup.
Next, the surgery team moved on to repair the abdominal-wall hernia. The body-wall musculature was significantly torn and was in multiple pieces. There was not enough muscle remaining to allow complete repair of the hernia, so a piece of surgical mesh was used to help close the wound, incorporating the available body wall and muscle. A second drain was put in place over the hernia as there was significant pocketing under the skin on Felix’ back. If this pocketing is not allowed to drain while healing, it can cause complications.
Felix had a pain-medication catheter put in place under the skin near the repaired hernia. This catheter allows local anesthesia to be applied to the surgical area to help control pain. Following a two-and-a-half-hour surgical procedure, Felix recovered very well.
In the days following surgery, Felix was placed on several pain medications and kept comfortable to speed his recovery. He was in the hospital for three days and continued to improve each day.
Felix returned to Animal Emergency & Specialty Center to have his drains removed. Some bruising was noted around his incisions, but pain was manageable at home with his owners. Felix was already starting to act more himself.
Three weeks after surgery, Felix had his sutures removed and was finally allowed to have more activity, to be his normal self again.
Felix is now happy and healthy again, enjoying long walks with his loving owners.