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I need a vet’s opinion (diaphragmatic rupture) [URGENT]

Paula Cami

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I need a vet’s opinion (diaphragmatic rupture) [URGENT]


Hello I need help deciding what to do next to in order to save my beloved dog since he is in a life threatening condition, Ruffo is a two-year, 31 kg(66.1 pounds),-Old English Sheepdog, which we rescued a year ago he’s always been playful and full of love, makes friend with every dog he sees and even tries to pet our cat with his huge paws, he literally sits like a human and behaves like a puppy, he loves playing and one time while doing so jumped too high and landed on his side, ever since things had gotten worse and now we fear for his life


If you can spare some of your time it might help us make the right choice in order to save him


Thanks in advance!


I’ll start by describing the case. Ruffo injured himself while playing on October 20 last year, it’s been 5 months since, at the beginning, he would just avoid jumping and got tired fast, but his condition has worsen over time. Now he can’t run nor jump. Has difficulty breathing specially while laying down and gets agitated just by barking or even walking too much.


These are his X-rays from October, others from a month ago and an echography from yesterday 




We took him to see 3 vets over that time:

The first one, said a surgery was too risky and did not have the equipment (ventilator) to perform it, eighter so, the Vet treated the immediate problem (accumulation of fluid in the lungs) by prescribing him diuretics named furosemide 80mg every 12 hours. We followed this treatment, but as I said earlier, he got worse over the time, so we searched for someone who could operate him.

The second veterinarian we took him said he could perform the surgery; he has a ventilator but didn’t acknowledge the fluid in the lungs by examining the X-rays and can’t provide post-surgery care which by what I read is an important part of the procedure.

So we found a third option, a veterinary clinic that has a ventilator as well, they performed an echography and determined the rupture is 6cm long (2.3 inches), no organs are invading the thoracic cavity, yet there is too much fluid difficulting his breathing. They said a surgery is not possible, arguing. they lack the equipment to keep the thoracic pressure in check. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be something more than the ventilator which they have. They suggested a “puncture” to remove the fluid for the time being, but it isn`t a definitive solution and they only have a 5% rate of success on this procedure meaning 95% of the times the pets die.

Since we seem to be out of options, I need another experienced opinion.

1-Based on the information I provided, what’s your diagnosis?

2-Precisely what equipment is required to perform the surgery? Is a Ventilator enough?

3-Should we go ahead with the puncture? Is it needed before the surgery or can the fluid be removed while performing the intervention? Is it really that risky?

4-Woud he need a net to hold or patch the rupture? if so what kind of net and does a human’s one works as well?

5-Any other advice?

Thanks for your time and hep!



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I'm not a vet, but it sounds like you need a specialist vet to look at your boy.  I'm also not in Qld, but wondering if a call to UQ vet would give you some answers.  Someone in Qld might have some suggestions.  Hoping for the best for you both.

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friend has the same condition, in her case there is herniating and the doctors dont want to operate. she feels like she is suffocating.


very hard for you, she has no choice but to live with it and the fluid reduction treatments.


good luck with your dog.


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My Spanish is not good, but that Echogram diagnosis looks pretty bleak... I'm assuming you are not in Australia... ??


I am not a veterinarian, but I am a vet nurse, and we are trained to do a process called IPPV if ever called on to assist with a surgery where breathing is impaired. What you need is to see an emergency veterinarian or a specialist veterinarian... no general veterinarian would be equipped to perform the surgery or the follow up care your dog will require. It will be very expensive, and there will be no guarantee of survival either during the surgery or the following days after the surgery.


Draining the fluid from around his lungs should not be at a 5% success rate, but it would ease his breathing issues for now - but I would be looking at an emergency or specialist vet clinic for that sort of procedure too.


I am sorry to paint a bleak picture, but your boy is a VERY sick dog. I wish you and Ruffo all the very best...



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