PennVet | A Roller Coaster Emergency for Dobby
New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

A Roller Coaster Emergency for Dobby

By: Sacha Adorno Published: May 6, 2019

Two-year-old Dobby overcame a life-threatening obstruction thanks to Penn Vet's clinical care expertsBy the time Dobby arrived at Ryan Hospital’s Emergency Room (ER), he was in a bad way. The two-year-old Welsh Corgi had been vomiting off and on for a few days and was straining to urinate. “He also wasn’t eating,” said owner Zhi Peng Yang, who lives in Philadelphia and rushed Dobby to Penn Vet.

“When he got here, Dobby was in circulatory shock, and, given his symptoms, I was immediately concerned about a uroabdomen, which is a dangerous situation of urine leaking in the abdomen,” said Dr. Natalie Kovak, a resident in the ER and the attending physician that Friday afternoon. “I scanned his abdomen with our ultrasound and did see fluid.” 

X-rays also revealed a large stone in the dog’s urethra. It was causing the life-threatening obstruction keeping him from urinating. Kovak placed a drain in Dobby’s abdomen to remove the urine. She also inserted a urethral catheter to help pass the stone and placed him on intravenous fluids, pain medications, and antibiotics.

“He was very unstable,” she remembered. “I actually thought he wasn’t going to make it for a while, even with all our overnight interventions in the ER. 

A Harrowing 24 Hours

By the next morning, Dobby still hadn’t passed the stone. Kovak admitted him to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where he remained very sick. “He had a high heart rate, low blood pressure, severe electrolyte abnormalities, and elevated kidney values. We continued him on supportive care and sent him to surgery later that morning to remove the obstruction,” said Kovak. This would be the first of two surgeries.

Dr. Marie Burneko, a surgical resident, performed the surgery and found a ruptured bladder and multiple smaller bladder stones. She repaired the bladder tear and removed all stones.

The surgery went well, and Dobby went back to ICU. But not for long.

“Shortly after coming out of surgery, he showed evidence of bleeding into his abdomen. We administered several blood transfusions, which only helped stabilize him temporarily,” said Kovach. 

It was back to surgery for Dobby. This time, Burneko closed off the bleeding bladder vessel that was bleeding. The bleeding stopped, and Dobby recovered, this time without incident, in the ICU.

Smoother Sailing

“Our wonderful ICU doctors and nurses closely monitored Dobby and treated him with a broad spectrum of medications and fluids throughout the week,” said Kovak. “He continued to improve over the next few days.”

Seven days after arriving at the hospital, Dobby was ready to leave. “We missed him right away,” said Kovak. “Everyone loved him, and he loved to be the center of attention. He always wanted to be in our laps.”

Today, the Ryan Hospital Internal Medicine service continues to monitor and treat Dobby’s inflammation. Said Yang, “He’s okay with it and enjoys seeing the Penn Vet staff.”