Dog saved from house fire and treated for carbon monoxide poisoning

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The UC Davis veterinary hospital team saved 5-year-old Squid after she was overcome by smoke inhalation

University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine alumna, Allison O'Donnell, DVM, and her fiancé Matt Cardinale were away from their home when it caught fire suddenly. Their 4 pets—a French bulldog Bella, 2 cats Tina and Temple, and husky/terrier mix Squid—were all in the house at the time. The City of Davis Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene to put out the fire and rescue the animals trapped inside. Five-year-old Squid suffered the worst of the smoke inhalation, and her health was rapidly declining.

The firefighters were able to give Squid oxygen at the scene until local animal control helped rush Squid to the UC Davis veterinary hospital as O’Donnell met them there. “I can’t emphasize enough how important the firefighters were to Squid's survival to this point,” said Kate Hopper, BVSc, MVS, PhD, DACVECC, in a news article, a veterinarian at UC Davis.1 “The oxygen she received at the scene was likely lifesaving.”

Five-year-old Squid. (Photo courtesy of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine)

Five-year-old Squid. (Photo courtesy of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine)

While at the hospital, Squid’s respiratory status continued to decline, and Hopper was concerned that Squid, now oxygen dependent, could potentially become unresponsive to oxygen therapy if her lung injuries progressed. “Unfortunately, it is very hard to predict how smoke inhalation cases will progress,” said Hopper.1

Squid had swelling in her throat and nasal cavity due to inhaling hot ash from the fire and according to Hopper, a tracheotomy might be required to assist her breathing. However, steroids reduced the inflammation and Squid responded well to oxygen therapy throughout the night. By morning, she showed significant improvement, appearing bright and responsive for the first time since her hospitalization.

Allison O'Donnell, DVM, and her fiancé Matt Cardinale with their dogs Bella and Squid. (Photo courtesy of UC Davis)

Allison O'Donnell, DVM, and her fiancé Matt Cardinale with their dogs Bella and Squid. (Photo courtesy of UC Davis)

By the third day of her hospitalization, Squid was weaned off oxygen and was able to breathe on her own. Squid was also examined by cardiology, neurology, and ophthalmology specialists to assess the rest of her heath. The cardiologist determined her heart was functioning normally, however the ophthalmologist treated Squid for corneal ulcers developed from the hot smoke and ash, and the neurologist discovered a slight head tremor. This is common for both humans and animals affected by carbon monoxide poisoning and also leads to an abnormal gait that may not fully absolve.

Squid's condition continued to improve, and she was discharged after 5 days. O'Donnell is closely monitoring her progress with the assistance of her colleagues at VCA Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic in California, where she is completing her 1-year internship before beginning a 3-year residency in emergency and critical care at the University of Pennsylvania. O'Donnell told UC Davis that she anticipates Squid will be fully recovered by the time they relocate to Philadelphia later this summer.1

Reference

Warren R. Dog survives carbon monoxide poisoning from house fire. UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. May 28, 2024. Accessed June 11, 2024. https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/news/dog-survives-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-house-fire

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