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Toby's Bowel Torsion

Toby is a 6-year-old male neutered Labrador, who was presented to our surgery when his owners had noticed sudden onset symptoms of lethargy and panting. He’d also had one episode of vomiting and appeared unable to get comfortable.

Thankfully his owners acted quickly and wasted no time in bringing him in to our 24/7 emergency hospital in Cheadle Hulme for attention-  any delay in seeking treatment for Toby could have been life-threatening, as we were soon to discover!

Palpation of his abdomen revealed painful enlarged gas-filled loops of intestines which felt like loops of modelling balloons!  Toby was immediately given pain relief and stabilised with intravenous fluids; whilst our A+E nurses ran some in-house blood tests which all appeared normal.

An abdominal radiograph (X-ray) was taken which showed that some sections of his bowel were very dilated with gas, which confirmed the likely diagnosis of "mesenteric torsion" or twisted bowel. This is a very rare but life-threatening condition, as the twist of the gut can cut off the blood supply and cause it to die off if not treated quickly enough.

Once stable Toby was rushed to general anaesthetic and surgery. His blood tests, x-rays, stabilisation and preparation for surgery all happened within an hour of arriving at our A+E hospital! We are extremely lucky to have such life-saving facilities at our disposal.

During surgery the affected section was found to be large bowel (colon) and was successfully untwisted; the colon was bruised but viable (i.e. no bowel had to be resected).

A section of his colon was fixed to his left abdominal wall to try and prevent the problem from recurring, which is called a colopexy.

His stomach was then fixed to his right abdominal wall, known as a gastropexy, to prevent future twisting of his stomach, as dogs with colonic torsion may be prone to this.

We are pleased to say that he made a rapid and uneventful recovery and was discharged from the hospital two days later.

Thank you to Toby's owners for allowing us to share his story.

Informative image: xray of abdomen with bowel torsion

Toby’s x-ray revealed gas filled loops which confirmed the likely diagnosis of "mesenteric torsion" or twisted bowel

A volvulus of the colon is a very rare condition that can come out of the blue. There was no underlying cause identified here and it would  have been impossible for Toby’s owners to have prevented this from happening. Thank fully they knew their pet well enough to see that  something wasn’t right and sought help from us. If in any doubt at all about your pet’s health, don’t delay in seeking advice, our vets and  nurses are here 24 hours a day to take your call.

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