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Sun: Emergencies

Hirschil – Pet in the Spotlight

Meet our newest tough guy “Hirschil,” a 6 week old German Shepherd who came in to see us because he had been vomiting and was lethargic.  His parvovirus test was negative, but he was a very sick little pup!

On his physical exam, Dr. Galvin could palpate (or feel) a distinct abnormality in his abdomen, so we recommended a barium x-ray study.  To do a barium study, we give an oral bolus of barium (which shows up bright white on x-rays) and then take a series of x-rays at specific times to watch the barium move through the intestinal tract.  Hirschil’s barium series showed an odd pattern of intestinal dilation and bunching (seen in the picture to the right).

Because of the abnormal intestines (on palpation and barium x-ray series) and his very poor clinical condition, we recommended exploratory abdominal surgery.  During his surgery we discovered that Hirschil had an intestinal intussusception, a condition where the intestines telescope inside themselves.  In the picture to the left, you can see the telescoped section of small intestine.  Without prompt medical and surgical intervention, he would have not survived this condition.

To treat an intussusception, you have to reduce or unfold the telescoping section of intestine.  When the intestines telescope, it can affect the blood supply and compromise the health of the intestinal tissue.  After unfolding the intestines, we observe the tissue to asses if it is healthy (pink) or unhealthy (purple or dark).  If the tissue is unhealthy, that section is removed during surgery.  Sometimes the surgeon tacks the intestines to themselves and the abdominal wall to prevent it from happening again.

The cause of this phenomenon is likely a combination of genetics, infection with parasite(s)/virus(es), or an upset gastrointestinal tract for other reasons such as diet change and young age.



Today, we are happy to report that Hirschil is eating great and playful.  He is a tough puppy and is very loved by his human family.  Our whole team wishes Hirschil a long, happy life.

CLICK HERE has a more detailed explanation of intussusception.