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  • Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital

Maverick Gets a Raw Deal!

Updated: May 20, 2020

Maverick is an extremely cute little rescue puppy that was lucky to begin a new life with a local family. Five days later, after implanting himself into the hearts of the whole family, Maverick developed an acute episode of repeated vomiting and diarrhoea. It was getting very late at night and things were looking grim so his new family called up our dedicated vet Sarah who came in to check him out.

Maverick was treated with drugs for nausea and with fluids for dehydration. He responded temporarily but a day later things really took a turn for the worst. His vomiting become persistent and no drug we used seemed to help. The family were beside themselves with worry and we had to admit him for intravenous fluids and medication. We feared something nasty such as parvovirus which can be fatal to such young puppies who are yet to be fully vaccinated. Fortunately the test was negative, yet his condition deteriorated. What to do but to continue with the care he was getting from which he was just holding on? Had he eaten something he shouldn’t have? Possibly, he loves to chew his toys and practically anything he could get his teeth into. We took x rays and did an ultrasound. Nothing showed up except we could see that his whole gastrointestinal system had shut down, nothing was moving. This could be from a blockage or severe infection. We did not want to leave it to chance but referral was a long way away and would cause further delay and expense, as costs were mounting. We decided to go in and take a look. The surgery proved conclusive, nothing was stuck, everything has just shut down with severe infection. Maverick just had to hold on with the medical care until hopefully he responded.

Cases like this are really challenging for everyone, the family, our staff and most of all for Maverick. Our staff put their whole effort into keeping him going, we collaborate with each other, specialist and pathologist by phone in an attempt to find out what’s wrong and what to do.

In the meantime we do everything in our power to keep them alive. Dr Sarah deserves a special mention here as she put in long hours, came back at night and through the weekend to make sure he had the best chance to survive.

Finally, after a week of toiling, Maverick started to pull through. This story has a happy ending as Maverick is now fully recovered, loving life with his new family.

Towards the end of his stay with us we received some results showing he was suffering from salmonella. This is a food poisoning bacteria that most commonly comes from eating raw or off meat. It is especially found in raw chicken.

There is a fashion these days to feed our dogs and cats raw meat because it is considered more ‘natural’. Maverick was recommended this diet by a wellmeaning dog carer and his family dutifully fed him raw chicken wings and beef bones. One of the consequences of this can be contracting a nasty gut infection and this is even more likely in young animals with a naive immune system. Our advice is to cook any meat before feeding it to your dog or cat, they will still get the full nutritional value without risking a nasty gut infection or worse. And definitely don’t feed cooked bones.

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