The case of the month for December is a lovely Bracco Italiano puppy called Zak who needed emergency surgery to treat his intussusception.
An intussusception is a condition where one segment of intestine gets engulfed by an adjoining segment. This can cause bowel obstruction and is a very painful condition.
Zak’s owners knew something was not quite right when their puppy started vomiting and went off all food. He had also lost a lot of weight so he was admitted, blood tests were run and fluid therapy was given to help stabilise Zak but he was not quite responding and started to develop bloody diarrhoea. He was still not back to his puppy self so further imaging was required.
Intussusceptions can occur in various places along the intestine but the most common place for them to occur is at the ileocolic junction (this is the case for Zak as well). This is due to the difference in adjoining intestinal lumen sizes.
Intussusceptions can occur due to a variety of reasons but the most common causes are: intestinal parasites, protozoal, bacterial or viral infections, foreign bodies, abrupt dietary changes and intestinal masses.
An ultrasound confirmed our suspicions where you can clearly see a bowel loop inside another! Surgery is the only way to fix this serious problem. After entry into Zak’s abdomen under general anaesthesia, the intussusception was located. Unfortunately the part of the bowel that had been swallowed up now had a damaged blood supply and needed to be removed.
The prognosis in most cases is good providing a rapid diagnosis is established and intervention initiated as soon as possible. Despite being a young puppy Zak was a very good patient and recovered incredibly quickly after his operation, regaining his appetite almost immediately. We are pleased to hear that Zac is going from strength to strength and is growing by the day. As you can see he is very comfortable and very proud of his surgical scar from the picture below!