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Dr Vicky’s Patient Pick: Maggie

My Patient Pick this week is Maggie! One of “those cases” that shape who I am, and continues to inspire me to this very day.

You won’t believe Maggie’s incredible journey – a story opening with a horrific, and seemingly hopeless injury, and ending with an incredible complete recovery!

WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES, BUT A HAPPY ENDING.

Maggie, Mid-Recovery 

Maggie Mid-Treatment.

Let me start by telling you who Maggie is today. She is barely an adult, her puppyhood still shining through her goofy smile. She loves treats and doesn’t understand what it means to sit still. The only reminder of her accident is a cow-lick of hair across her face and over her left eye. It runs in a different direction to the hair on her face because that patch of skin (and hair) originally belonged on her neck!

One evening, Maggie’s distraught family rushed her into the hospital, pleading for a miracle. She had been in a road accident and her head had rolled underneath a tyre – removing all of the skin and muscle off the left side of her head, leaving her eye, skull bone and shredded muscle exposed. 

I remember seeing the injury for the first time. Every night at our hospital, we are the first line for families presenting their pet’s immediately following road traffic accidents. The injuries range from subtle internal bruising to severe external injuries. Sadly, we see it all, and we see it often. And yet, reminiscing through Maggie’s images now, it still punches me in the gut. 

Maggie, Pre-Surgery

Maggie spent a few weeks in the hospital. She was monitored very closely for brain injury – which she amazingly avoided – and the wound was kept bandaged and dressed. The most amazing thing about Maggie is that she never stopped eating! Despite her injuries, lunchtime was always her favourite part of the day.

We performed several dressing changes on Maggie and debrided away dead tissue. As the wound became cleaner and healthier, special stitches were placed in the skin to help it to stretch. This stretched skin would help when it came to her final surgery.

The skin off of Maggie’s neck was used as a transplant over the missing tissue on her skull. She continued to spend the day being minded at the hospital until her stitches came out. 

Maggie, Post-Surgery

And now, aside from the half-lion mane, she’s just like every other puppy her age. Maggie’s family have been absolutely incredible – standing through her side in the hardest of times. I will never forget the plain courage and resilience of Maggie and her family, it will always continue to inspire me.

Maggie and her parent’s story is just one example of the harrowing journeys our pets can go through. If you’re ever in need of an emergency vet, give us a call.

Maggie, Present-Day

Maggie and her parent’s story is just one example of the harrowing journeys our pets can go through. If you’re ever in need of an emergency vet, give us a call.

Dr. Vicky Wade

Veterinarian