A message from Harley’s owner, Alycia Fogle:
This past June, a colleague of mine at UNC Asheville found a beagle running down the middle of the road looking scared and confused. After taking the dog to a local vet, it was determined the dog had been abused, was vastly malnourished, and around 8 years of age. My colleague sent an email out through the UNCA system asking for someone to foster the dog. As a lover of hound dogs (I had a beloved Bloodhound), I agreed to foster her while she found her forever home. However, one day into 'fostering' her, I fell in love with my beagle and officially made her a home. We named her Harley (i.e., Harley Davidson); after all she was a little rough around the edges when we got her. Harley has settled into home life quickly and is enamored with Spanky, my 15-year-old Jack Russell. She is reliving her puppyhood at age 8- my backyard has become a graveyard for all her toys! She digs and hides everything she receives (even food treats), and transfers it all around the yard at least once a week. It’s a constant defensive line trying to block the newest toy from its unfortunate backyard burial. Thank you to the Animal Hospital of North Asheville who helped Harley get healthy as she adjusts into her new home life.
Dr. Paul Duncan recounts his experience with Harley:
When Harley first came in to see us at Animal Hospital of North Asheville, she was in the midst of her heat cycle, and because dogs in heat have a higher bleeding risk due to their estrogen levels, we had to wait before proceeding with her spay. A few weeks later Harley was fortunate enough to have her spay done laparoscopically.
She came into the hospital the morning of her surgery wagging her tail and as happy as always except for being slightly unhappy that she did not get breakfast. Harley was very glad to hear that she would have her spay done laparoscopically because she knew that this would be less invasive, require less healing time, and be less painful. In addition, there is a lower incidence of bleeding after surgery, the incisions are smaller and, most importantly, Harley would be able to go home with mom that same day and sleep in her own bed that night.
Animal Hospital of North Asheville may be the only animal hospital in Western North Carolina that offers minimally invasive laparoscopic spays. Instead of a large incision, two small incisions are made into the abdomen and a special camera is used to visualize the organs in the abdomen and locate the ovaries. We then use a very special piece of equipment called an Ultracision Harmonic Scalpel, which simultaneously cuts and coagulates, to painlessly and safely remove the ovaries. Harley did wonderfully and her surgery went very smoothly. She was sitting up happily in her bed one hour after surgery, and all of us just knew she was looking forward to going home to see mom and having a good dinner.
We are thrilled that Harley has found her forever home and was able to benefit from this unique opportunity of having laparoscopic surgery. In addition to spays, we are able to perform laparocoscopic organ biopsies, exploratory surgeries, gastropexy (stomach tacking) and rhinoscopy (examination of the sinuses) to name a few. This is an expanding field of veterinary medicine that we are excited to have brought to the pets of Asheville in 2006!
By: Dr. Warren Riggle
Through the years, I have seen many dogs who have not used good judgment about what they eat. It is so easy for accidents to happen. Mandy, a 9 ½ year old very beloved lab mix, came in to Animal Hospital of North Asheville in the evening of June 4, 2012 as an emergency. Mandy had found a bottle of Phenobarbital tablets that had just been purchased at the drug store for Mindy, one of the other dogs in the family. Mindy takes the human drug Phenobarbital to help prevent seizures. She has been taking Phenobarbital for many years and it has been very helpful to her in preventing seizures. Since Mindy has been on the drug so long, we have prescribed large quantities of Phenobarbital at a time so her owners don’t have to make as many trips to the pharmacy. Unfortunately, Mandy found the bottle on the counter, got the bottle open by chewing it and ate all 360 of the 16.2 mg Phenobarbital tablets that were in the new, unopened bottle. The average dosage of Phenobarbital for a dog Mandy’s size would be 4 tablets twice daily. Mandy had eaten a ninety times overdose! Symptoms of over dosage of Phenobarbital are ataxia (drunk acting), lethargy, sedation, recumbency (inability to stand), depression, hypothermia (decreased temperature), coma, and death. In addition, there is also a concern for damage to the liver. By the time Mandy arrived at the Animal Hospital, she already could barely stand, even though the owners had seen her eat the tablets and had brought her in immediately.
At Animal Hospital of North Asheville, we are very fortunate to have access to consultants who are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week at a Pet Poison Hotline. They can inform us of the most up-to-date treatments for specific toxicities. I consulted with them immediately, and the poison control hotline veterinarian on duty recommended that we induce vomiting (which we had already done), and then give intravenous fluids, anesthesia to allow the stomach to be lavaged with a stomach tube, followed by giving activated charcoal via the stomach tube. When dogs have eaten something they should not eat, we can give apomorphine, a drug that is given intravenously to induce vomiting. Fortunately, apomorphine almost always causes a dog to vomit multiple times. Time is of the essence when we’re giving apomorphine to dogs who have eaten medications or toxins, since the longer the material is in the stomach, the more of it is absorbed. Mandy vomited up a lot of food with the Phenobarbital tablets that were already dissolved. There was not any way to estimate how much of the Phenobarbital that she had ingested by looking at the multiple vomiting episodes, so we knew we needed to treat her for potential over dosage. We placed an IV catheter when she arrived and she immediately began receiving intravenous fluids.
Once we had induced vomiting and started IV fluids, Mandy was given intravenous propofol for anesthesia. I placed a large stomach tube into Mandy’s stomach and flushed the stomach multiple times (this is also known as “pumping the stomach”). After the stomach had been thoroughly lavaged, 400 cc (27 tablespoons) of activated charcoal was placed in the stomach through the stomach tube. The flushing of the stomach was helpful to remove more of the Phenobarbital. The activated charcoal acts as a “sink” for the Phenobarbital, pulling it from the blood vessels back into the intestine where it can bind to the charcoal.
The first 8-10 hours were the most critical for Mandy. We have all night care for our patients with a veterinary nurse who can call the doctor at anytime during the night if there are concerns. Her vital signs were monitored very closely with a Surgivet unit that continually monitored Mandy’s blood pressure, electrocardiogram, and blood oxygen levels. Her temperature was frequently taken to be sure she was maintaining her normal body temperature, and her respirations were observed closely. We were prepared to breathe for Mandy if she stopped being able to breathe adequately on her own. This would mean placing an endotracheal tube, putting her on oxygen, and helping her breathe with assistance. Mandy was kept on continuous IV Lactated Ringers Solution which kept her hydrated and helped her body eliminate the Phenobarbital.
Mandy remained very sedated all night and yet we were happy her vital signs remained stable. She was unaware of her surroundings throughout the night. By morning, Mandy was slightly aware and was able to raise her head a small amount. She stayed sedated the entire next day and through the night. Her vital signs remained stable. Early the next morning, I was thrilled to see that Mandy was able to stand for the first time and walk a few steps, though she was very wobbly.
Through the day, she was still very wobbly, but continued to improve. We performed a comprehensive blood profile and complete blood count to make sure her organ functions were remaining stable. Thankfully, Mandy’s liver and kidney tests along with her other blood tests were normal when we sent her home in the evening of June 6, 2012. It took Mandy several more days to get back to normal, but she’s doing fine now. We are all thankful we could administer the emergency care that Mandy needed to save her life and that she has continued to do so well.