Glancing at Bean, Kimberly and Michael feel a wave of emotional gratitude wash over them. Their 10-year-old mini black and tan Dachshund, Bean, is like a fifth child in their family who means the world to them.
Not long ago, Bean became quite ill. Unbeknownst to Kimberly and Michael, Bean had stumbled upon a bag of rodent bait that had fallen off the top shelf of their storage shed. One morning, their sprightly Bean was markedly different.
“He was very slow, and his gait was unbalanced,” Kimberly said. “This was not our normal Bean.”
Readying for the vet, Michael walked Bean to the car and noticed he had a green-colored bowel movement.
“When I saw it, I knew our dog got into the rat poison we had in the shed,” Michael said.
The rodenticide Bean ingested was bromethalin: Toxic to dogs.
Bean was treated at his local vet hospital, and Kimberly received another update at the end of the day.
“It was horrible. The vet told us that Bean did not look good, and she didn’t feel well about his prognosis,” said Kimberly, sharing how Bean required 24-hour emergency care.
California Veterinary Specialists (CVS) received a call about Bean and waited for his arrival.
“When we got there, one of the vet techs scooped Bean up right away in a blanket, and took him in the back,” she said, adding how Dr. Kim Boyle was one of the attending veterinarians.
Dr. Boyle, whose specialty is in emergency and critical care, shared that Bromethalin is a highly poisonous toxin. If a pet owner knows the ingestion just happened, decontamination with induced vomiting and activated charcoal administration would be the protocol of choice. Unfortunately, once a patient develops clinical signs from bromethalin toxicosis they have a poor to grave prognosis for survival.
“When Bean arrived, he was about 18 hours post possible ingestion. Just by looking at him, he was already severely clinically affected,” she explained.
Bean was experiencing flaccid paralysis. He was unable to walk, mentally dull and his breathing rate was slow. The toxin triggered swelling of the brain and spinal cord, so Bean’s treatment involved reducing these with doses of Mannitol and decontaminating residual toxins with fluid therapy.
Next, an abdominal x-ray revealed a massively full stomach – the concern was additional rodenticide.
“We decided to go ahead and do a gastric lavage,” Dr. Boyle said.
Bean was placed under anesthesia, intubated, and then another tube flushed out his stomach.
“We got an enormous amount of green rat bait,” she shared.
The gastric lavage was a success in removing undigested poison, but Bean remained severely affected by the toxin he had already absorbed. He was hospitalized for several more days for aggressive supportive care, including providing nutritional support via a feeding tube.
“Every day, we would hold him and stroke him, seeing a little glimpse of Bean coming around,” said Kimberly, adding how the family visited him a few times a day at the hospital.
Today, Kimberly and Michael report that Bean is back to his old spitfire self.
Dr. Boyle said Bean’s case is a special one that she’ll never forget. It required a massive Team Bean effort with doctors, nurses, and techs.
“The emergency world can be hard, but when you have a case like Bean, it just makes it all worth it,” Dr. Boyle said.
Kimberly wants people to know that while the medical care for Bean was exceptional, the compassion at CVS exceeded their expectations.