Miracle Dog Survives Near Drowning on Christmas
Grit fell through the ice on a pond and was tended to by Animal Emergency Care.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following was submitted by Animal Emergency Care.)
On Christmas afternoon, Grit, a 2-year-old Labrador Retriever, came up missing. When found by her family several hours later, she had fallen through the ice covering a shallow pond.
Her legs could barely touch the bottom, enough to keep her head above water initially, but her core body temperature began to drop. She couldn't get any traction on the slippery ice to pull free. If she lost consciousness, she would slip below the surface.
Her owners waded out to rescue her, which took some time. While her rescuers were being attended to by paramedics for their own hypothermia, family members rushed her to Animal Emergency Care in Acton. Dr. Janice Barnhart began treatment immediately.
"Grit's temperature was so low that it wasn't registering on the thermometer." she said. "The cold water had constricted her veins so that it was difficult to place an IV catheter, a necessary component in her treatment."
Veterinary technicians began working to raise her body temperature, initially using their own body heat to warm her while blankets were being heated and IV access was obtained to administer warm fluids. Grit's uncontrollable shivering soon progressed to severe seizures.
According to Dr Barnhart: "Hypothermia cases like Grit's can be very tricky to treat. The body temperature obviously needs to be raised as quickly as possible, but doing so too quickly can be harmful as well. We needed a delicate balance so as to not go too far in the opposite direction."
Grit's recovery was faster than any of the hospital staff expected. It wasn't long before the seizures were under control and she began responding to her name.
"We have seen cases which seemed less severe than Grit's do poorly" said Hospital Administrator Jim Sheehy. "We were all very worried for her when she first arrived. So many people came together on Christmas to bring about this good outcome. Her family was great, and they didn't panic, an important thing to do in an emergency situation."
All of the veterinarians and staff dropped everything to help Grit. Some attended to her family, others warmed fluids, grabbed drugs and supplies, massaged her and of course treated her.
"We see a lot of tragedy in emergency medicine" said Jim. "It's nice to see one of the success stories, especially on Christmas. This was one gift to everyone involved that no one can wrap."