Hey Vets, got a sad situation for you here. So, I am currently doing some volunteer work in an area of Liberia where basic medical care, let alone veterinary care, is limited. A dog in our compound had a litter of 7 puppies about 7 weeks ago and even though someone was paid to take care of them 5 died (perhaps mainly of malnutrition/anemia) before I started caring for the last two a week ago. With a diet of eggs, powdered milk, some meat (limited supply), and the occasional mango the remaining two puppies have recovered and appear relatively energetic and healthy. The problem is that yesterday a stray dog made it into our compound and attacked one of the puppies, leaving it with a broken mandible, which is severely drooping on one side with a tiny bone sticking out. I was going to put it down but the little fighter has continued to drink milk and managed to wolf down some egg (chewing it with its little back teeth) and seems otherwise lively and healthy. What should i do? I was told to put the dog down (but not sure how? I was told by my vet in Seattle to use a blunt object), but I would love to save it if I could. Perhaps tape a muzzle-type cast over it's mouth and find a way to inject food through the teeth? I have limited ways to fight infection as well. Please, any advice on the most caring and humane solution is appreciated. Sincerely, David
Type of Animal: dog - puppy
Age: ~7 weeks
keeping puppy safe in enclosed, somewhat clean area with warm bed(mosquito nets in gerry can with opening.? Fed powdered milk and mashed egg.
Hi. I'm Dr. Gotthelf. I have been a vet for 33 years and I would like to use my experience to help you with your pet's medical problem.As long as the puppy can lap food with the tongue and he can swallow, then keep trying. It is hard to splint the jaw, but your idea of a muzzle will help. The problem is that without some type of rigid fixation, each time the puppy goes for food, the fractured ends of the jaw will move out of place. It is hard to use a feeding tube that is left in place through the mouth (I would implant a feeding tube in the side of the neck through the esophagus), but if the jaw had a muzzle around it, you may be able to get a red rubber feeding tube down into the stomach to squirt liquified foods into the stomach. Just be very careful that the puppy does not get the feeding tube in the trachea or you will drown the puppy when you inject the liquid food. The bones in a 7 week old pup are very much in the growing and repair phase, so if you can keep the fractured pieces from moving too much, some scar tissue will form to help stabilize the jaw bone quickly, maybe in 7-10 days.
Thank you Dr. Gotthelf. I appreciate your willingness to help, and I will attempt this solution.
There are specific feeding tubes made for this purpose if there is a vet anywhere near you. It is an 8 or 10 French red rubber feeding tube. The tube is about 14 inches long and is closed at the end. It has 2 or 3 holes along the side of the end of the tube for the liquid to come out of. When you make the pup swallow the tube, if it is in the trachea the puppy will struggle to breathe or he may start coughing. Pull the tube out if this happens and start over. Sometimes you can actually feel the tube in the soft fleshy part of the neck where the esophagus is. If it is in th trachea, you cannot feel the tube through the tracheal cartilage rings.To put it to sleep, if you can get some epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and make a solution by dissolving it in a small amount of water. Then you can inject about 5cc into the belly wih a needle. It may take a while for the puppy to die, but that is one way of euthanizing without using a narcotic medication.
Got it. And I have to do this all while the puppy is conscious? It is possible to give it some wine/beer or something?
If there is a tranquilizer drug that you have access to, that would be OK. Mag Sulfate is not painful, but it is slow. The most humane way is to use an overdose of a barbituate anesthetic.
Also Doctor, here there is no way I have access to actually french rubber feeding tubes (no vets in Liberia). Would you suggest I even attempt this with a replacement? I might be able to find a tranquilizer drug as we have health clinics, but gauging the quantity would be real hard...
Sometimes you can find a large urinary catheter that you might get from a doctor or a hospital that you can use as a feeding tube. French is not a brand name, but a size (medical terms can be so confusing). So an 8Fr catheter is smaller than a 10 Fr. catheter.
33 years owning a dog and cat hospital and a Pet Skin and Ear Clinic