Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How not to break up a dog fight

This past weekend, I was presented with a 3 year old Boston Terrier named Penny. Outwardly, she looked just fine. Her owner however, relayed that Penny had had 2 seizures in the past hour. Penny had no history of seizures, so this was a new development. When I delved into the history, it got interesting.

Apparently, Penny had been picked up by her housemate (a larger dog) and slung roughly to the ground by her neck. The owners were unable to break up the fight, so the male owner put HIS FOOT on Penny's head to hold her down. After they were able to peel the other dog off of Penny, she laid there, sluggish and poorly responsive. Slowly, she came around. Shortly afterwards, she had a 30 second, tonic-clonic ("grand mal") seizure. She recovered quickly, but then had another about 20 minutes later.

Her physical exam was normal, and Penny seemed alert and responsive. Still, I recommended we treat her for traumatic brain injury with mannitol, oxygen, and monitoring. The owner elected to proceed with that.

We sent Penny home the next morning having had no more seizures. Yet, she had another about 1 hour after getting home. We re-admitted her to the hospital and started phenobarbital for the short-term (a week or so) to see if this would get her over the brain injury. The owner declined follow up with a neurologist to determine if there was anything intracranial that we should be seriously worried about. Other than the seizures, Penny was acting like a normal dog.

Moral of the story? Standing on your dog's head to break up a fight might not be the BEST idea ever.

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