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Best To Err On The Side Of Caution

A retired gentleman brought his 9 year old Siberian Husky to see me last week.  His dog had been clipped by a car right in front of his house, by a kid who was texting while driving.  Luckily, the kid was not driving too fast, knocking the dog onto the ground, but from the owner’s perspective who had witnessed the while incident, it was more like a bump and startle than outright hit by car.

The Siberian Husky behaved normally both immediately and shortly afterward, leaving the owner annoyed with the kid who hit his dog as the result of paying more attention to his cell phone than the road, but relieved that things could have been a whole lot worse.   Still, the owner was not comfortable for some reason, and despite never having been one to alarm easily, he nagging a nagging feeling that he really should have his Husky seen by a veterinarian as a precaution.  After all, what is the price of an examination fee in comparison to the peace of mind that his dog is healthy and safe?

The retired gentleman and his Siberian Husky entered my exam room and he recounted the incident, seemingly unconcerned and confident that I would give his dog a clean bill of health.  I could understand his confidence, for at first glance the dog did seem fine, no worse for the wear and wagging her tail.  However, upon examining her and discovering paling gums and abdominal pain, I became immediately concerned.  X-rays and blood work quickly determined that the dog had ruptured her spleen upon impact with the car, and she was actively internally bleeding.  I recommended immediate emergency surgery.

Once I was in the abdomen, I was able to stop the profuse bleeding by performing a splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen), and although she had lost a significant amount of blood, we had gotten to her in time to prevent the necessity for a blood transfusion.   We closed her, hospitalized her, and discharged her two days later.

The owner was absolutely stunned.  On one hand, he would not have been able to rest easy without having his dog evaluated by a veterinarian.  On the other hand, he strongly believed that the visit would simply be precautionary; a peace of mind visit.  In the end, he was relieved that he had followed his intuition to have his dog evaluated rather than take his chances, as had he not; she would have been dead within hours.

This is a prime example that (1) texting while driving is bad, and (2) it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne, FL, Chief Editor of the Veterinary Advice and Information Website, Web-DVM, and founder/CEO of Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care.

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