Milo is a 3 year old Maltese Shih Tsu Cross who was presented to us at Vetwest Currambine after drowning (literally) at the beach. Milo was playing in the shallow water when she was swept away by a strong undercurrent. Her owner immediately swam out to retrieve her but unfortunately Milo was pulled under a large rock and she could not be reached.
When Milo arrived at the hospital she was barely breathing, collapsed and non-responsive. Her gums and tongue were blue, her lungs were full of fluid and she was hypothermic with a temperature of 32.1 (normal temperature is 38-39). She was so weak that her body wasn't even shivering. We immediately commenced emergency treatment which included 100% oxygen and warming with heat pads and a hairdryer. An x-ray confirmed she had a substantial amount of fluid in her lungs and stomach, and medications were given to enable her to clear the fluids and be able to breathe with more ease.
After 45 minutes of emergency care Milo finally started to shiver (which is good news because her body is starting to take control of her temperature regulation) and become more alert and responsive and her breathing continued to improve. After 1 hour she even started to try to stand up. She also vomited a large amount of sea water and sand.
The fluid in her lungs resolved with medication and her condition continued to improve. After 16 hours of being in hospital Milo was bright as a button and running around as if her brush with death had never even happened! Needless to say, the owners were extremely relieved!
A couple of points to consider, especially at this time of year:
- Always keep your dog under close supervision when swimming at the beach
- Try and choose calm days for swimming
- Have your vet's phone number stored in your phone for emergencies. It is also recommended to have a 24 hour vet emergency number stored in case your regular vet is closed.
- Heatstroke - hyperthermia
- Swimming pools in your backyard - safety and your pet
- Summer days - ideas to keep your dog cool and amused
- Dog friendly parks and beaches in Perth metropolitan area