A very sick dog was brought into San Diego Pet Hospital in a shopping cart by a good samaritan, who found him on the freeway ramp near the clinic. He was emaciated and so weak he could barely lift his head, yet despite his grave condition, he was wagging his tail and licking our faces. He turned out to have an intussusception, a condition where the intestine “telescopes” into itself, causing a blockage. It is usually the result of severe gastrointestinal disease of some kind, such as parvovirus or severe parasites, that causes abnormal intestinal motility. He was taken into surgery and a resection and anastomosis was performed to remove the segment of affected bowel.
He recovered uneventfully from surgery and began eating right away the next morning. A fecal was submitted to our lab for analysis and came back showing Nanophyetus salmincola, a rare rickettsial parasite usually seen in the Pacific Northwest, caused by ingestion of raw river salmon or trout that has been parasitized by a specific type of river fluke. He had to be treated for both the fluke and the rickettsia, which was accomplished successfully. After being fostered by the employees at San Diego Pet Hospital, Harrison was adopted by a family member of one of our staff who also has an interesting story. Tom is a survivor of a severe traumatic brain injury suffered in a car accident 14 years ago.
His primary companion for the past eight years was a yellow lab named Maggie, who was a retired service dog. On the same day that Harrison showed up at SDPH, Maggie passed away. Two weeks later, once Harrison was well enough to travel, he and Tom were introduced and it was love at first sight. Tom and Harrison are now working with a group of trainers who are all volunteering their time to teach Harrison (who is all puppy!) to be a well-behaved companion for Tom. We wish Tom and Harrison many happy healthy years together!