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bubbles the dog

Bubbles – Knocking on Death’s Door

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It’s 1 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, when Marion Campeau of Fairfax, Oklahoma, pulled up to the emergency entrance of the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Medical Hospital. Bubbles, her 12-week old Pekinese, had literally taken her last puppy breath. Bubbles was in cardiopulmonary arrest.

“She had stopped eating and she just kept getting worse,” said Campeau. “I Googled vet ERs near me and came to OSU. The first person I met took my puppy immediately to the doctors before asking me any questions. Everyone has been so friendly. It’s the first time I’ve used the hospital. I researched other hospitals and I am very happy I chose OSU on that very scary night.”

Scary indeed.

“According to mom, Bubbles hadn’t been doing well,” said Dr. Nikol Irizarry, small animal medicine rotating intern at the hospital who treated Bubbles that frightful night. “She had been vomiting all day and having some diarrhea. Then she became lethargic and that’s why they brought her in. She stopped breathing in the car.”

“Our wonderful intern, Dr. Irizarry was ‘Johnnie on the Spot’ if you will. She aggressively resuscitated Bubbles, which we are so proud of her for doing,” said Dr. Lara Sypniewski, Henthorne Clinical Professor of Small Animal Medicine at the hospital. “She jumped in and got Bubbles’ little heart started again and started breathing for her, which got Bubbles through the cardiopulmonary arrest. She should not have any neurologic effects from the incident; puppies are very resilient. Bubbles, who only weighs 2.8 pounds, was unfortunate enough to contract parvo viral enteritis, which is inflammation of her GI tract causing her to develop an overwhelming infection and significantly low blood sugar. Her little body couldn’t handle the stress of it all.”

Once the cardiac issue resolved, Dr. Sypniewski’s team moved to aggressively treat Bubbles’ infection as well as the secondary bacterial infections that occur with parvo.

“We start puppies off on three courses of antibiotics to help them avoid sepsis – unasyn, metronidazole, and enrofloxacin,” said Irizarry. “Depending on how their body responds to the treatment will determine if they make it or not.”

“Here at Oklahoma State’s Veterinary Medical Hospital we have a really good success rate with our parvo puppies. I consider them my little fur babies,” said Sypniewski. “I think that because we’re so aggressive and we are able to offer a very high level of care, our puppies do very well. Unfortunately, it’s an expensive undertaking. They are in the hospital for a number of days with some dogs staying five to seven days in an intensive care unit. We monitor their ins and outs and try to keep them from succumbing to secondary infections while the virus runs its course. It can be a long, harrowing process. But with the care they receive from our emergency doctors, technicians, veterinary students and the clinicians who are dedicated to keeping these guys with us, they actually do pretty well.”

Drs. Irizarry and Sypniewski agree that vaccinations are key in trying to prevent parvo.

“I know that Bubbles started getting her vaccination course and had her second round of shots,” said Irizarry. “Until puppies have the full three courses of vaccinations, you want to keep them isolated from other dogs and inside to protect them as much as possible. I really hope Bubbles makes it through. She’s a sweet puppy.”

“It’s really important to get your vaccinations from a veterinarian,” said Sypniewski. “I know there are other options for people to vaccinate their pets, but unfortunately, often times those vaccines may not be as effective. The other thing is that you won’t have the advice and expertise of a veterinarian to discuss vaccine schedules and the importance of husbandry for puppies. For example, what environments should they be exposed to? Is it okay to be out at Boomer Lake or go to a dog park? You really need the wise counsel of your veterinarian to help you navigate the rough waters of puppy hood.”

To help with Bubbles’ veterinary medical expenses, Sypniewski looked to the Pay It Forward Fund. Developed by veterinary students several years ago, the fund is designed to help find creative ways to help owners pay for their pets’ care in times of need. Anyone can donate to the fund through the OSU Foundation.

“There’s always a lot of emotion involved when it comes to treating even our littlest and sweetest cases, like Bubbles,” said Sypniewski. “When I consider a patient for the Pay It Forward Fund, I want to see a big investment with the pet owner as well as with the patient. I think Bubbles has a really strong desire to live. She’s been dealt a difficult hand so I’m a big fan of helping her. Also, her pet owners have been very dedicated and trying to get the funds to support her care. They have been very willing to work with us. So I asked our hospital administrator if Bubbles could be considered. We discussed the case and the commitment on both sides – from the hospital as well as from the owner and that’s how we decided that Bubbles would be a good patient to help.”

The Pay It Forward Fund doesn’t just help the patient and pet owner. It helps the veterinary team as well.

“We use those funds specifically for the highly committed pet owner and the animal that really has that drive to live. But we use it for those of us in this field that often times feel at a loss when we can’t help patients because money is tight. It’s very important for the veterinarian, the veterinary nurse and the veterinary student morale to be able to give us the opportunity to help people as well. I think that’s the biggest take home for me. If you donate to the Pay It Forward Fund, you give me, my students, and my colleagues the opportunity to do what we love—save the patients that we love.”

If you share our passion for helping animals and their owners, consider a donation to the Pay It Forward Fund by contacting Ashley Hesser, assistant director of development with the OSU Foundation, at ahesser@osugiving.com or 405-385-0715.

MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 | derinda@okstate.edu

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