The Dog That Defied the Odds and Lived

November 9, 2018

Advanced Veterinary Care Center’s Dedicated Team Saves Bella!

Bella on her drive home from Advanced Veterinary Care Center. She had brain surgery prior to coming to AVCC.

“I know in my gut she would have never survived if I had taken her anywhere else,” exclaims Dr. Diana Drogan, a relief veterinarian in South Florida. Dr. Drogan brought her sweet 13-year-old yellow lab Bella to Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Davie after the pup had serious trouble breathing and was aspirating vomit into her lungs. She rushed Bella to AVCC thinking the course of treatment would be relatively simple. “But when they ran tests, it was way way worse.” adds Dr. Drogan. It turns out Bella had developed severe, life-threatening aspiration pneumonia and her entire right lung was filled with fluid. “Her tongue and gums were purple,” says AVCC’s Board Certified Emergency and Critical Care specialist, Dr. Chris McLaughlin. “We were all quite certain she wasn’t going to survive.”

The ICU team at Advanced Veterinary Care Center got right to work and began a course of oxygen therapy and IV antibiotics. Dr. Sagan Woolery, AVCC emergency veterinarian was there when Bella was brought in. “It was meant to be,” says Dr. Drogan excitedly. “Dr. Woolery was amazing and I felt connected with her and trusted her. You don’t always get that when you are meeting someone for the first time. She was an angel with a heart of gold.”

Bella’s blood oxygenation levels at intake was only 38%. “It’s supposed to be 100%,” adds Dr. Drogan. “We thought she only had about two hours to live but everyone at AVCC was up to date on the latest protocol for aspiration pneumonia. Dr. Woolery and her team understand that learning and continuing education never stops. As a veterinarian myself I personally crave new information and I try to stay up to date.” The two hours passed and Bella was still fighting. She stayed in the hospital overnight and the next morning she became more alert.

Bella and Dr. Drogan

“I visited up to 3 times a day,” says Dr. Drogan. “I was shocked when they told me they have an open door policy and that I could visit her anytime! I haven’t seen that before in other hospitals. I also loved how the ICU is one big open room. I’ve never been in an ICU where the veterinary nurses don’t look upset or stressed or sleep deprived. I was like ‘wow’ I could tell these nurses really love their job. The staff is amazing! For any pet owner that’s never seen AVCC, they should visit and ask for a tour!”

After 5 nights in the hospital, Bella was finally well enough to go home. “It’s a testament to the quality of our intensive care unit here at AVCC, but also to the true dedication of Bella’s mom and their special relationship,” according to Dr. McLaughlin. Today Bella is doing amazing, breathing great and eating up a storm, according to Dr. Drogan, who thinks back on how Bella beat the odds. “She was not supposed to live, but miracles do happen!”

To learn more about Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Davie and meet the team, click here!


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