Poor five month old puppy Coda was rushed in to 387 Vets with a very sore eye having fallen off the wall in his garden. It looked as though Coda may well have fractured the orbit (bone) round his left eye which was weeping and bloodshot and causing him some distress.
We immediately put Coda onto fluid therapy and gave him intravenous pain relief to support him before considering whether to run a course of x-rays.
But it wasn’t Coda’s eye that worried us most. Having been admitted in a reasonably alert state, Coda’s condition began to deteriorate rapidly. He became pale and lethargic, was breathing rapidly and his pupils remained small and did not respond properly to light.
These were all indicators that Coda’s trauma in the garden had caused cerebral oedema, where excess fluid collects around the brain and is trapped and builds up under the skull. When this happens, pressure on the brain increases dramatically. Blood vessels which carry oxygen to the brain are constricted (squashed) and the brain is essentially starved, which can lead to brain damage and ultimately death.
It was important for us to act quickly to try and remove the fluid from around little Coda’s brain. Although we very rarely need to use it, we stock a drug called Mannitol especially for cases like this. Mannitol is an osmotic diuretic which is given by slow intravenous infusion. The drug works by increasing fluid absorption by blood vessels. The excess fluid around the brain is hence taken up and transported away into the rest of the body, ultimately passing as urine.
We also kept Coda’s head raised during his stay to encourage excess fluid to drain away from the brain by gravity.
Coda was placed on a support mat on admission with his head at approximately a 30 degree angle. This is the optimum angle for draining fluid away from the brain into the rest of the body.
After a short period of time, Coda began to show signs of recovery. Given the nature of his injury, we recommended that he go to a referral centre (with specialist neurologists) for ongoing monitoring.
Only two hours after his collapse, he was well enough to be transported over to the centre.
We are delighted that two weeks on, Coda had made a full recovery. His eyesight is normal, he has no pain around his eye-socket and he is definitely not lethargic at all. He’s back to being a healthy, bouncy puppy!