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A ‘Sticky’ Situation for Rosie!
14 December 2016
Rosie, a 1 year old, very active springer spaniel loved to run in the woods and play with sticks or dig tree roots. One day, after a lovely walk in the woods, she went home with blood coming from her mouth and a very swollen left eye.
She was taken to the local veterinary practice as an emergency, where the veterinary surgeon observed a wound in the mouth, just behind the upper teeth. She was urgently referred to Specialist surgeon, Vincent Guerin, at Willows to investigate the wound and try to save the eye which was becoming more and more swollen.
Rosie’s left eye was bulging out on presentation and Vincent was worried the vision might have been affected. Specialist ophthalmologist, Heidi Featherstone, quickly assessed the eye. The vision was preserved but Heidi was worried that it might deteriorate if Rosie was not treated immediately. Rosie was anaesthetised by Specialist anaesthetist Karen Walsh. An exploration of the mouth showed a 2cm wound behind the left upper molars. This suggested a stick penetrated the mouth and was pushing the left eye out.
In order to confirm this possibility and assess the position of the suspected stick, imaging Specialist Andrew Parry performed a CT scan of the head. The CT scan showed a 5cm stick penetrating the mouth just behind the molar teeth, pushing the left eye out and ending in the cheek muscles. The stick was surrounded by large blood vessels and important nerves, including the optic nerve.
CT scans of Rosie's head with the stick protruding through the eye socket
During the surgery Vincent pulled the stick out very gently, as any damage of the optic nerve could have made Rosie blind, and any damage of the vessels around the eye could have caused severe bleeding. He then used a small camera to examine the wound, make sure no pieces of wood were left behind and flush the dirt out. Heidi closed the eyelids with stitches to protect the eye from ulceration for a couple of days until the swelling had gone down.
Rosie went home two days after admission and is now doing very well. Her vision is normal, the wound in the mouth has healed as expected and the swelling around the eye has gone. She is ready to spring like before!
The stick embedded in Rosie's mouth
The stick after being carefully removed during surgery
Rosie at home in festive spirit