UF vets save Dobie who nearly drowned

Bo, a Doberman pinscher puppy, not only nearly drowned in his family pool, but his heart stopped too

This is one lucky Dobie!

Bo, a 7-month-old Doberman pinscher, had been let out one morning in November by his owner, Tania Travieso, of Ocala, Fla. When Travieso asked her son to let Bo and the other dogs back in. That’s when Travieso’s son that Bo was in the pool, underwater and in distress. Jumping in to save him, Travieso’s son got him out, but Bo was in trouble. He was coughing, and blood was seeping from his mouth.

“His gums were gray and we knew he was in major distress,” Travieso said. The family drove Bo to the University of Florida (UF) Pet Emergency Treatment Services clinic in Ocala, hoping they made it in time. However, soon after they arrived and handed Bo to the staff, UF veterinary emergency doctors told them Bo’s heart had stopped.

“He had flat-lined,” Travieso explained. “They asked us if we wanted them to perform CPR on Bo. It wasn’t even a question for us. We were willing to do anything possible to save our baby.”

Ashley Allen, DVM, a clinical assistant professor of emergency and critical care medicine at Ocala were able to revive Bo, but that was only the beginning of their troubles. “We found that he had severe noncardiogenic pulmonary edema — fluid in the lungs not associated with heart disease — which is common in near-drowning events,” Dr. Allen said. “I talked to the family about how critical he was and that he needed to be reintubated and transferred to UF’s Small Animal Hospital on the transport ventilator. I also gave them expectations going forward.”

Allen explained that most puppies suffering from noncardiogenic pulmonary edema have a good prognosis for recovery. Unfortunately, Bo had been resuscitated, which can lead to severe secondary issues such as kidney failure, neurological signs and abnormal heart rhythms. The primary issue of fluid in his lungs and secondary issues from CPR meant there were significant uncertainties about both Bo’s short- and long-term prognoses.

Allen’s team took Bo to the UF’s Small Animal Hospital, but they had to stop twice to help Bo. By the time they got to the hospital, Bo’s lungs had again filled up with fluid, and he was close to death.

“I jumped out of the van, tipped him down again and let all the fluid drain out of his lungs through the tube in his airway,” Allen said. “Then he improved again. The UF team met us at the emergency entrance, transported him into the hospital and transferred him from the transport ventilator to the ICU ventilator, where he remained the rest of the day.”

It was touch and go, but Bo recovered and showed no long-term health effects. Researchers have found that less than 6 percent of dogs and cats that experience cardiopulmonary arrest in the hospital survive to be discharged. That Bo recovered and was able to go home three days later, was nothing short of a medical miracle and all thanks to the efforts of UF.

Travieso is thankful for the work of the University of Florida veterinarians. “When they brought him to us in the examination room, we could not believe it,” she said. “He has been a totally normal 7-month-old puppy since. We are so extremely grateful for all of the amazing doctors, students and staff at UF.”

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