Oh Boris…..

September 22, 2020 By erinison

Let me tell you a little story about our Baby Boz. This might be a little long!

It all started one morning in December when he was just 4 months old. He was outside (our dogs have free range of inside and out) and he was fine about 5:50am when my mum saw him in the yard, and 10 minutes later, he was lethargic, drooling, eyes closing which made me think pain, 3rd eyelids were up, he was quite limp and not interested in eating or anything. Not even raising when we called his name or tried to lift his head. His gums were as white as snow. I’ve never seen gums that white before, and this sent me into panic mode. It was a very awkward time, because if I had of rushed to an emergency vet, they are over 40 minutes from us in any direction we go. Which meant if I waited at home, I could have just gone to a vet during normal hours. I decided to wait, which was probably the worst thing I could have done on this day. Mistake number 1.

Around 8am, I took him to the vet down the road, I walked in with a very limp puppy body in my arms, in a panic/tears (yeah, ok, ugly crying), and the vet nurse turned me away saying the vet wouldn’t be able to see them until 9am when the next on started. I couldn’t believe it. I obviously had a very ill puppy literally on my hands.

I got back in the car and drove in the other direction and was going to head to our normal vet, but I really didn’t know if Boris would make it. So I pulled into another vet, which was open and took him in. Mistake number two on my part, I should have kept driving. Now, literally, 2 hours ago, this puppy was bright, happy, running around and playing. The vet took him out the back to x-rayed him, concerned about a blockage. I waited over an hour in the waiting room, to find out the results. There was nothing obvious on the x-ray, but the vet wanted to keep him and do “conservative treatment” to see how he went. They brought Boris into the consult room and he was jumping up on me, and wanting to be cuddled. This really should have set off my alarm bells, and I should have taken him myself to monitor. Mistake number three. I left him there for them to monitor.

After a few hours, I think about 1pm, we got a phone call from the vet advising that the x-ray still doesn’t show an obvious blockage, but gas patterns suggest there might be something going on and they’d like to go in and have a look. Being the professionals with many many years of experience, we agreed and let them do what they said. Mistake number four.

At 4pm that night, the vet nurse wanted me to leave Boris at the vet overnight for monitoring after the surgery. I queried if there was actually going to be anyone there “monitoring him” as I know this clinic is always dark when we go past at night. She said no, I said well he’s not staying overnight when I can monitor him at home myself. I was sent photos of what was “wrong” with Boris. Inflamed lymphnodes on part of his intestines. I believe from speaking to vets I trust, that this is a symptom of something, not a diagnosis. Anyway, we picked Boris up about 6pm and the incision closing was absolutely shocking to say the least. He was stapled together… a four month old puppy. I was advised to keep him quiet for 7 days, and then he’d be ok. Staples would need to be removed in 10. Right.

That’s when all hell broke loose, literally. I posted photos of his incision and the closure of it online, and vet nurses, vets and doctors couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The job was shocking, and I was advised, never going to heal. How right they were….

Four days after the surgery, the staples started coming out and the wound opening up. Now, we had kept this dog quiet, in a crate, at work with us, confined as requested. Five days later, we ended up at our normal (and trusted!!) vet, who said it looked ok, but to start antibiotics just incase. We were advised that if I had of kept driving that day (remember all those mistakes I made!!), and presented him to their clinic, they would have thought he was having an anaphylactic reaction to something. Apparently shock can cause white gums. So was the surgery really actually necessary? Did a vet make a totally wrong call on that? Have you ever heard of a dog, any dog, going down like a lead balloon in 10 minutes with a blockage? I haven’t. I really wished I was thinking straighter on that day.

Anyway, off home we go with antibiotics and we try and treat and help this incision to heal. But we failed, the staples just kept popping off. Christmas eve, we were at an after hours vet having a staple removed. They wanted to go in and redo the surgery, but we said no, just remove the staple and we will handle it. Boxing day… more staples coming out, more open wounds… I can’t believe it! During this time, he wouldn’t eat, which was adding so much more stress to the whole situation. December 27th, we ended up at Stafford at Pet Emergency after we were cleaning the wound and re-dressing it, to see a huge hernia pop up. Andrew and I both felt physically sick. We can’t handle this anymore, he needs vet help. He stayed in until the Monday on fluids and ab’s as the incision was now infected and inflamed.

Monday 30th December, he was seen by Dr David Burgess, a small animal surgical specialist at Queensland Veterinary Specialists. He advised that the hernia was from the breakdown of the internal sutures and would need to be repaired. We had to wait for the infection and inflammation to be under control though before doing the surgery AGAIN!

New Years Eve, our little Boris underwent the full abdo surgery again. Opened up twice in two weeks…. We knew we couldn’t bring this boy home and keep him in full confinement with 8 other dogs around, so we requested that he be boarded at the vets for most of the recovery time to ensure it worked this time, and he didn’t have to continue to endure this crap. They agreed, so Boris stayed for 10 days of his recovery and was released to us with 4 days to go. When we went back to get the stitches out, we were advised that the tissue inside was quite inflamed when the surgery was performed, so they’d like another week as a precaution of keeping him confined to ensure he had healed properly. As hard as this was for us, we knew we had to do it for Boris. And we did.

Seeing Boris for the first time after surgery to come home.

Fast forward 7 months and he had another similar reaction as he did that morning all those months ago. We drove him straight over to Pet Emergency at Stafford, and they also suspected an anaphylactic reaction to something. They kept him in and wanted to check his gall bladder. Apparently this is how you can check of anaphylaxis in dogs, changes to the gall bladder. Anyway, they shaved his stomach to do this ultrasound, and he stayed over night on fluids and monitoring, and was ok the next day to come home. As soon as we picked him up and got him home, I noticed that bloody hernia. How did they not notice this in emergency??

How could they not see this hernia??

Back to Queensland Vet Specialists we went to see Dr Burgess who couldn’t believe that a hernia had come up again. Bless these guys, they’ve been so wonderful to us, and Dr Burgess with Boris and fixing the new hernia. We are now 3 weeks down the track, from hopefully his last surgery from this absolutely awful and distressing saga for our baby.

I just mostly feel so sorry for our happy little boy. NONE of this is genetic, or congenital. It was simply a botched surgery from the start that shouldn’t have been done.

Sliding doors… if only I’d not made those decisions on that day, and kept driving. I do feel my mistakes have cost our little boy, so much of his puppyhood. But we are so thankful for his wonderful personality and temperament, that it doesn’t seem to have affected him in any way at all. He’s still our happy, funny and gorgeous little Borri <3

Our Happy Boris <3
Boris relaxing after being confined for two weeks.

Boris would like to thank Dr Dave Burgess and all the staff at Queensland Veterinary Specialists and Pet Emergency for looking after and caring for him through this whole ordeal.