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Jumping Up To Drain A Drenched Dog

“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” —Hot Ticket Author Olivia Cunning should be given an award. I mean, having fun is important, but precautions must be taken so that everyone walks away unscathed. This also holds true for our four-legged friends. Fun may turn deadly, as it nearly did on a hot summer’s day years ago.

Sweating profusely as I ran from appointment to appointment, I wondered how long it would take for the air conditioner to be repaired. I half mumbled, half grumbled to my poor technician about fixing the ailing unit. Was I acting spoiled? Sure. I mean, she suffered through the heat as I did, and on top of that, she had to put up with my complaints.

Suddenly, the doors to our clinic burst open and a half-clothed man rushed in with his dog.

“Can someone help me?” shouted Mr. Thompson. “Bobby’s not doing so good.”

One of our technicians took Bobby to the treatment room as another technician tried to calm down Mr. Thompson while getting a history.

Bobby was having difficulty breathing. His breaths were rapid and labored. He also coughed or hacked as if something was stuck in his throat.

A quick physical exam revealed grayish gums and lungs that were very congested. Normally, I would suspect a heart problem, but his heart sounded normal. Just then, our tech rushed in to tell me that Mr. Thompson said Bobby almost drowned at the beach.

That explained everything. Tucking Bobby under my arm, I turned him upside down and gently jumped up and down. Soon, a steady stream of water started to pour out of his mouth and nose. With each jump, he seemed to breathe a little easier. Huffing and puffing after a couple of minutes, I was glad that Bobby was a Jack Russell terrier weighing in at 15 pounds and not a large Labrador.

Although much improved, we gave Bobby some medication to stimulate his body to take the extra fluid from his water-soaked lungs and eliminate it through his kidneys. Over the next few hours, he peed like crazy.

After the initial craziness, I had a moment to speak with Mr. Thompson. He said that they were at Bobby’s favorite beach enjoying the hot, sunny weather playing fetch. Mr. Thompson would throw a tennis ball into the water and Bobby would retrieve it. All of a sudden, two large Labrador retrievers got involved and kept pushing Bobby under the water.

“I’m not sure if they were playing and accidentally pushed Bobby under or if they were trying to drown him,” an exasperated Mr. Thompson recalled. “But I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was get Bobby away from them.”

Mr. Thompson paused to regain his composure. As a tear streaked down his face, he continued, “I swam as fast as I could, but I threw the tennis ball pretty far out. I shouldn’t have thrown it that far.” Mr. Thompson shook his head.

“It’s all right,” I assured him. “Bobby is OK now. He can go home after a few hours of observation.”

Dr. John Kaya is director of the Windward Community College veterinary technician program and associate veterinarian for VCA University Animal Hospital.