The Mother of All Emergencies – Ryley’s Story

Meet Ryley – a lovable, friendly, and sometimes mischievous 10 year old Rottweiler/German Shepherd cross who enjoys the outdoors and relaxing at home with his family.   In recent years, Ryley had been dealing with some relatively minor neck pain and endocrine pancreatic insufficiency, but has been otherwise a very happy and healthy guy.  The staff at Southampton Pet Hospital enjoy seeing Ryley and his owner Cindy on a regular basis for his annual wellness check-ups/vaccines, to pick up his medications, or just to grab some dog food and say hello.

Unfortunately for Ryley, he developed a stomach upset on Monday, May 19th.  He was nauseous, vomiting multiple times throughout the afternoon, and was not acting himself.  Cindy quickly identified that something was not right and decided to call the Southampton Pet Hospital emergency service for a visit with Dr. Jones that evening.  Immediately after calling and discussing the case with the doctor, Cindy noticed that Ryley was looking very bloated and that his condition was quickly getting worse and worse.
Upon arriving at the clinic, Ryley was looking very poor – his gums where white, he was marginally responsive to any sort of stimulation, and he was drooling& gagging incessantly.  His abdomen was visibly bloated, and his body had become almost “pear-shaped”.  Things did not look good for Ryley at all.
Our newest associate and attending veterinarian, Dr. Zach Jones, was suspicious of a stomach twist, known in the veterinary community as a Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV).  Upon seeing Ryley walk through the door, he immediately decided to take Ryley in for x-rays to confirm the diagnosis.  On x-rays, Ryley’s stomach had ballooned up to 5 times its normal size, putting pressure on the main blood vessels which supply blood to the heart and preventing blood from reaching the rest of his body.  Unfortunately for Ryley, this was a fatal condition unless treated immediately with emergency surgery.

**Pictured below are Ryley’s pre-operative (top) and post-operative (bottom) radiographs.  The large black area on the top image is his stomach, which was dilated to greater than 5 times its normal size.

Ryley the dog's pre-operative top radiograph Ryley the dog's pre-operative bottom radiograph

After stabilizing Ryley and confirming the diagnosis, Dr. Jones knew he would need some back-up for such a long and complicated procedure.  He decided to call in Dr. Jeff Berry and together the two of them performed a stomach deflation, de-rotation, and tacking procedure which tethered the stomach to the inside of the body wall preventing it from rotating again in the future.  They also had to remove approximately 20% of Ryley’s stomach during the procedure because it had become so damaged that the tissue was no longer healthy.

Following surgery, Ryley endured a very long and slow recovery.  He developed a low blood cell count and low protein which required both a plasma and whole blood transfusion- the blood for which was generously donated by Titan, Dr. Berry’s retired police dog.  Titan was happy to oblige and sat quietly while more than 400mls of blood was collected and given to Ryley to keep him alive.

Ryley spent the next 4 days at the Southampton Pet Hospital under the close watch of Dr. Jones and Dr. Berry, after which he was deemed fit enough to be sent home for monitoring there.  It took Ryley almost 3 weeks until he was back to his happy & healthy self.  We knew he was starting to feel better when he stole a few BBQ ribs from the garbage at home – what a mischievous little guy!

**Dr. Berry with Ryley

Dr. Berry smiling at Ryley the dog