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Mary’s story

On the morning of 14th March Mary was rushed into the hospital by her owners after she had been kicked by a horse.

She had to be carried into the practice as she couldn’t stand and was showing signs of shock. These signs were: - no palpable femoral pulses (pulse found in the inside of the hind leg,) Pale mucus membranes (gum colour), tachypnoea (rapid breathing)

She was given oxygen therapy via a face mask and Methadone (pain relief) was given into the muscle whilst she was examined further by Vet Kate.

She was started on intravenous fluids to help support her shocked circulation.

X-rays of Mary’s chest and abdomen were taken. The chest x-ray showed a loss of contrast consistent with fluid, this was confirmed when Kate did an ultrasound of her chest. We suspected that the fluid in the chest was a haemothorax (bleeding into the chest.)

 It was important to check that the diaphragm was not ruptured; to do this Kate injected a special dye with saline into Mary’s abdomen. If there were any tears or holes present the dye would have highlighted this on x-ray. The results were good news; Mary did not have a ruptured diaphragm.

Mary was monitored very closely and vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, mucus membrane colour, capillary refill time and temperature were recorded at 10 minute intervals for the next 4 hours.

Frequent blood tests were taken to check Mary’s haematocrit (PCV) levels. A drop in PCV may have indicated anaemia or haemorrhage due to a decrease in the number of red blood cells.

Mary was kept on oxygen therapy and a pulse oximeter attached to her tongue gave us a constant reading of her oxygen saturation levels.

Overnight Gabby our Student Veterinary Nurse looked after Mary and closely monitored her vital signs and pain.

To manage Mary’s Pain she had a Methadone CRI (constant rate infusion) running intravenously. The nurse team used a pain scoring system to monitor her pain and the infusion was adjusted accordingly.

Day 2

Mary was able to stand and walk unassisted. She was weaned of oxygen therapy over the morning and monitored closely for any changes in her respiratory rate.

Mary stayed overnight with us and our night Nurse Lindsay looked after her.

Day 3

Mary was recovering really well and although sore she was able to make frequent trips in and out of the garden.

Over the course of the day her CRI (pain relief infusion) was gradually reduced.

In house blood test results were good and an x-ray of her chest showed clearer lung fields than on day 1 and although there was still some fluid present but it had improved.

Day 4 – Home time!

Her pain relief was reduced further and Mary was getting back to her normal self.