동물보건사(Veterinary Assistant)가 미스터리하고 치명적인 반려동물 중독 사건에 직면했다.
모든 반려인은 반려동물에게 아프지만 그 원인을 모를 때 당황한다. 케이티발라드와 그녀의 여섯 마리의 개가 텍사스주 알바의 시골 목초지에 있었다. 동물병원에서 근무하는 발라드는 그녀의 반려견 레이디가 아프지만 원인을 몰라 당황스럽기만 했다. 확실한 원인은 밝혀지지 않았지만, 몇 일 이전에 두 마리의 말 안락사 사용되었던 약물에 노출되었을 것이라 예상했다.
발라드는 레이디를 그녀가 근무하는 동물병원으로 데려갔고, 그곳의 깁스 박사는 Pet Poison Helpline의 독성 전문가에게 조언을 구했다.
Pet Poison Helpline의 수의학 독성학자 Ahna Brutlag는 "저희는 독성이 아닌 환자 치료에 초점을 맞춥니다. 즉, 의심되는 독과 완벽하게 맞지 않더라도 우리가 보고있는 징후를 치료한다는 의미입니다."라는 말과 함께 레이디를 치료했다.
발라드는 레이디가 말이 안락사 된 곳의 건조하고 오염된 피를 핥았을 것이라고 생각한다. 예방 차원에서 그녀는 그날 목초지에 있던 모든 개의 피 검사를 했고, 다행히도 다른 개는 중독 징후를 보이지 않았다.
동물병원에 근무하는 사람이라 하더라도 자신의 반려견이 왜 아픈지 모를 때 당황하듯, 일반인이라면 더욱 당활할 것이다. Emory Veterinary Clinic의 Samantha Gibbs 박사는, 집 안팎에서 반려동물이 직면하는 여러 유형의 중독 위험에 대해 수의학 커뮤니티와 반려인들을 교육하려고 Pet Poison Helpline이 "Toxin Tails"를 만들었다고 한다.
미니애폴리스에 위치한 동물 독극물 관리센터 Pet Poison Helpline은, 잠재적으로 중독된 반려동물을 치료하는 데 도움이 필요한 반려인 및 수의사 전문가를 위해 연중 무휴 24시간 운영된다.
Every pet owner knows that panicked feeling you get when something is medically wrong with your pet and you have no idea the cause. It is even more alarming when you work at a veterinary clinic and your personal pet is experiencing a crisis at home and you still have no explanation. In the case of Katie Ballard and her dog Lady, the cause may have been exposure to a euthanasia drug that had been used a few days earlier to put down two horses in her pasture. While no definitive cause was ever determined, several of Lady's symptoms were consistent with that diagnosis.
Ballard and her six dogs were out in her pasture in rural Alba, Texas. Katie was sitting on a bucket keeping an eye on the activity, when her 6-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer Lady started stumbling towards her to take a drink.
"Lady came over to me, then started stumbling like she was drunk," said Katie Ballard. "She kept trying to go to the water bowl but had a seizure-like episode and became nonresponsive 20 minutes later. I didn't see anything happen in the pasture that could have caused these symptoms, but she developed severe ataxia (loss of full body control) and collapsed."
Fortunately, Ballard works as a veterinary assistant at Emory Veterinary Clinic in Emory, TX. She called her boss Dr. Samantha Gibbs to explain the situation and try to determine the cause and course of treatment. Ballard immediately took Lady to the clinic, which is about a 20-minute drive. Once there, Dr. Gibbs called the toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline for advice.
"This type of case can be very challenging when the pet owner has no idea what exposure or activity is causing the symptoms," said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. "Since this was a previously healthy dog that developed acute signs, toxicity is certainly on the list of possible causes. Other rule-outs to consider in such cases are trauma, infectious disease, metabolic disease, etc. The key in these cases is to get a thorough history from the pet owner, coupled with a good physical exam and diagnostics, all of which can help guide you to possible causes. Sometimes we can never determine the cause of a patient's illness, even if we think it's a poisoning case. In those scenarios, we focus on 'treating the patient, not the poison'—meaning that we treat the signs we are seeing, even if they don't fit perfectly with the suspected poison."
Lady was treated with IV fluids to help maintain her blood pressure. As she began to awaken from her coma, she was dysphoric and started violently paddling her limbs. To help keep her calm, butorphanol was administered. Within one minute of dosing, her paddling stopped, she became more relaxed, and even wagged her tail. While she had largely recovered from her neurological signs within a day, Lady also received vitamin K1 due to her liver enzyme elevation. She was placed on a course of antibiotics and she continues to receive S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAMe) before breakfast each morning.
Ballard thinks Lady may have licked some dried, tainted blood where the horses were euthanized. As a precaution, she had bloodwork done on all her dogs who were in the pasture that day. Fortunately, no others showed signs of poisoning.
"Because we work with sick pets every day, we can sometimes forget how scary and emotionally draining this type of medical unknown can be for a pet owner," said Dr. Samantha Gibbs from Emory Veterinary Clinic. "When a patient belongs to one of our work family, however, it reminds us of how frightening these situations are for pet lovers, and I think it makes us better veterinary professionals. It certainly makes us more empathetic."
Pet Poison Helpline created "Toxin Tails" to educate the veterinary community and pet lovers on the many types of poisoning dangers facing pets, both in and out of the home. All the pets highlighted in "Toxin Tails" have been successfully treated for the poisoning and fully recovered.
About Pet Poison Helpline
Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based in Minneapolis, is available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The veterinarians and board-certified toxicologists provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline's fee of $65 per incident includes follow-up consultations for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.