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"Benji" - Springer Spaniel in Road Traffic Accident

Photo - BenjiBenji

Over the last 20 years I have seen a number of patients make remarkable recoveries including a few who have proved me wrong in forecasting their demise. None of these however can match the near miraculous story which I was witness too only a few weeks ago.

One Sunday evening when I was "on duty" I received a phonecall from a very distressed owner to say that their dog "Benji" had been involved in a road traffic accident. I arranged to meet them at the surgery as soon as possible and within a very short time "Benji" was lifted onto my examination table.


As the owner withdrew his arms it became all too clear the extent of "Benji's" injuries. The car wheels had driven right over "Benji's" body and burst his abdomen like a balloon. Consequently, his bowels and liver were lying flopped out onto the table.

Additionally, the diaphragm muscle - which separates his chest from his abdomen - had ruptured causing his lungs to collapse and allowing his beating heart to be clearly visible. The owner's departing words were that they understood that "Benji's" injuries merited euthanasia. I fully anticipated that "Benji" would "breathe his last" at any second. Astonishingly, he continued to strive to suck in some air despite the state of his mangled body.

Impressed by his grim determination I rushed him to the surgical unit and began the process of "piecing him back together". Together with my duty nurse (Linda) and my three young daughters (Paula, Faith and Kirsten, whose assistance was invaluable) we managed to ventilate, rehydrate and operate.

I fully expected "Benji" to die at any moment throughout the variety of procedures that we performed. Amazingly, not only has he survived the original horrific injuries, the subsequent surgery but several weeks later thanks to his miraculous powers of recovery and the patience and dedication of his owners he is now running around and enjoying life.

Whilst it remains to be seen, because of nerve damage to one of his hindlegs, whether his recovery will be 100% complete I find the notion that a patient can recover from such horrendous injuries will hopefully act as an inspiration to us all.

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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