Patient of the Month - Murphy

Murphy with Mum Kate

Murphy is one of our senior patients, still going strong at 19 years of age! Although he has slowed down in the last twelve months, he was a bit too adventurous one day and found himself in trouble after being run over by a car in his driveway.

His worried owners brought him into the clinic and saw Dr Piri, he presented with open mouth breathing, pale mucous membranes and loss of mobility in his hind legs and tail. He was quickly admitted to hospital for emergency care, a blood test and radiographs to determine the extent of his injuries. While his lungs, diaphragm and bladder looked good, he did have fractured bones in his pelvis, which required surgical fixation, his blood results also showed some abnormalities in his renal function, not related to his accident but something the owners would need to manage going forward, they also showed that Murphy was anaemic.

Murphy was made comfortable with high levels of pain relief and intravenous fluid therapy until surgery could be discussed between Dr Warren, one of our orthopaedic surgeons and Murphy’s Mum Kate. The surgery would be risky, given Murphy’s age, and he was initially given a guarded prognosis for recovery. Murphy’s family had a difficult decision to make but were keen to proceed with surgery. While Murphy waited for surgery in hospital (the veterinarian’s needed to make sure he was stable enough for the surgery before going ahead), his PCV (packed cell volume) was monitored daily to see if there was any regeneration of red blood cells, his intravenous fluids were also ‘spiked’ with potassium phosphate to assist in resolving his anaemia. After no improvement, he was given a blood transfusion.

Murphy became stable enough for surgery and Dr Warren successfully performed the fracture repair and Murphy recovered well, he had an oesophageal tube placed to assist with feeding and a urinary catheter to keep him clean and comfortable while recovering.

Murphy was kept in hospital for a number of days post surgery, receiving intravenous fluids, pain relief and regular supportive care, including feeding, turning, limb rehabilitation and urinary catheter maintenance. When Murphy was stable and comfortable enough, his Mum was understandably keen to get him settled at home and he was discharged to her care with instructions on how to look after him during this recovery period. He was to come back into the clinic regularly for check-ups and our nurses were in regular contact with Kate to ensure she was comfortable with how he was going back at home.

Kate took on a massive responsibility with Murphy’s care, not only to keep him comfortable but to continue his feeding via the oesophageal tube and encourage oral feeding, monitor his bladder and bowel movements and facilitate some gentle limb rehabilitation and massage, what a wonderful Mum!

Murphy showed significant recovery from this point forward, began eating on his own and started to regain movement and mobility. He is slowly getting stronger and is no longer on medications. We are so pleased that he has proved to be a real fighter and can see how lucky he is to have such dedicated family!

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