“Doctor” dog Archie, who featured in The Independent on Saturday last week for his ability to sniff out cancer, was rushed to the vet for emergency surgery this week.
Archie shot into the limelight when Mandy Hoffman-Jensen’s friend, Melanie Lambrecht, said Archie kept whining and pushing at her stomach, leading to her going to the doctor – where she was diagnosed with liver cancer. She has since had the tumour removed.
Owner Hoffman-Jensen said Archie began to whine and cry on Monday night, hiding under her daughter’s bed. “It was the first time I had ever heard him cry, so I knew it was serious. We had to dismantle the bed and I could see his stomach was very distended,” said Hoffman-Jensen. She rushed eight-year-old Archie to the Hillcrest Veterinary Clinic, where Dr Kate Bower took over.
The dog was diagnosed with a gastric dilation problem or “twisted gut”. It can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.
“The stomach distends with gas and twists. The entrance and exit to the stomach are blocked and, in this case, Archie’s spleen had twisted as well,” said Bower.
He underwent an emergency operation, in which the stomach was untwisted, deflated and washed out, before being secured to the abdomen wall to prevent it from happening again.
Twisted gut is often caused by mixing dog biscuits with gravy, which then swell up in the stomach.
Bower said it is advisable to feed dry biscuits or pellets to animals, as fluid in the stomach will make the biscuits swell anyway, while additional water and gravy can cause excessive swelling.
“Also do not allow your dog to go and play and exercise directly after eating,” she said, adding that breeds with wider chests can also be more vulnerable to a twisted gut.
Bower confirmed that the condition happens “very suddenly” and symptoms include a distended stomach and the pet would be trying to retch, but unable to do so.
Back on her feet after her own operation, Lambrecht was first in line to give Archie a cuddle when he was released from hospital.
During his eight years with the Hoffman-Jensen family, the doctor dog has nursed many abandoned puppies and even birds back to health, including licking them to stimulate their organs and dropping food in front of them.
But this weekend, Archie will be the one getting bed rest and lots of loving care.
Independent on Saturday