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How a Walk in the Woods Turned Into Emergency Surgery

How a Walk in the Woods Turned Into Emergency Surgery

You never know what you're going to find when a case comes into the emergency room - sometimes things that look serious can turn out fine, and sometimes things that you think are one thing turn out to be another. For Toby, what appeared to be a small injury was quickly discovered to be much, much bigger.

Toby, a 6-year-old Goldendoodle, was out enjoying a run through the woods when his family saw blood and what appeared to be a small wound on his chest. Concerned, they brought Toby in to our Urgent Care hospital in Madison to get him checked out. Dr. Urbonas examined Toby and became suspicious that the wound may actually be much deeper than it appeared – possibly even deep enough to reach his chest cavity. If that was the case,  it would allow fluid and gas to build up around Toby’s heart and lungs and become life-threatening. She sent Toby and his family over to our 24/7 ER in Middletown for a surgical exploration of the wound.

During the procedure, the doctors quickly realized that although Toby’s wound was less than an inch long, it was very deep – it penetrated at least 7 inches into his chest! An emergency thoracotomy (chest surgery) was performed to clean the wound and place a drain to allow it to heal correctly. The operation went smoothly with no other problems, and after a few days of recuperating in the hospital Toby returned home to his family feeling much, much better.

While Toby’s story might seem like a freak accident, these types of impaling injuries are more common than you might think – our critical care department estimated that they see over a dozen every year through our ER alone. Most of them, like Toby, are simply dogs running in the woods or yards that happen to hit a branch or stick at just the wrong angle. These wounds often look minor on the surface, but can be life-threatening without medical attention.

Thanks to the quick response from his family and the expert care at Pieper, Toby was able to make a full recovery. If you're out with your own pets and notice what seems to be a minor injury, don't be afraid to give your vet a call and see if it should be checked out - you never know what might be going on beneath the surface.

Posted 12/18/2019

The Dangers of Wild Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms are a common sight all over Connecticut, especially in the rainy seasons like the spring and fall. While these fungi may seem unassuming, if your cat or dog decides to chew or eat some the consequences can be deadly. There are thousands of species of wild mushrooms, all with a variety of different levels of danger – some species are harmless, while others can cause everything from mild to severe illness, or even death.

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Posted 11/6/2019

Diet-Related DCM: What We Recommend

In light of the recent FDA report announcing the potential link between certain diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), Pieper Veterinary recommends to avoid feeding dogs “BEG” diets.  “BEG” diets include diets made by boutique companies, those with exotic ingredients, and grain-free diets. Though still under investigation, the apparent link between these diets and DCM may be due to ingredients found in “BEG” diets, such as atypical meats and vegetables, or legume-rich ingredients used to replace grains in grain-free diets, such as lentils and chickpeas.  Raw or home cooked diets are not safe alternatives since these diets can increase the risk of many health conditions, including DCM.  

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Posted 7/16/2019

Don’t make a dangerous spring mistake in your home - Know your flowers!

Of the three types of lilies pictures above, none of them are safe to keep around your cat or dog. 

Lilies are beautiful plants that can be commonly found in gardens, stores, and flower bouquets all across the world. But for our pets, these attractive flowers hide an unexpected danger. Lily toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, and even death - and it only takes a small amount of the plant to do serious damage.

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Posted 4/18/2019

What You Should Know About Lyme Disease

If you live in Connecticut, you’ve almost certainly heard of Lyme disease – you may even know someone who’s had it, or have had it yourself. This disease (also called “Borreliosis” after the bacteria which causes it, Borrelia burgdorferi) is spread by the bites of affected ticks and can cause symptoms such as fever, a rash, joint pain, and nerve pain.

But Lyme disease doesn’t just impact humans – our pets can also be affected. Dr. Nicole Belward, one of Pieper Veterinary’s board-certified Internal Medicine specialists, talks about how to recognize the signs of Lyme disease and how to protect your pets from tick-borne illnesses.

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Posted 4/5/2019

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