Watch as Dr. Justine Lee works to save Willie, a 12-week-old Yorkie-Maltese puppy that nearly died after falling off a boat into deep water.
After performing CPR on Willie, his family rushed him to the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota. It was a good thing they did — Willie developed medical complications after the accident and could have died without the expert care of Dr. Lee and the emergency staff.
Because they were worried that Willie had inhaled water into his lungs, you’ll see the staff x-ray his chest and place a small clip on his lip to measure the level of oxygen in his body. He’s also placed in a special cage that provides extra oxygen to help his lungs take in and deliver more oxygen to his body.
Willie’s temperature was way below the normal temperature for dogs, a condition called hypothermia. His body was shivering in an effort to generate more heat.
Hypothermia can affect many different organs in the body, so the staff needs to monitor his condition and gradually warm him back up to normal.
To help the puppy, you’ll see the staff perform blood tests, check Willie’s blood pressure and place a catheter into a vein in his arm so they can administer IV fluids. The bottom of his special oxygen cage also provided heat to gently warm him up.
Dogs have a normal body temperature, which ranges from 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 to 39.2 degrees Celsius. Hypothermia, a condition in which the dog’s temperature falls below normal, can have life-threatening consequences.
Hypothermia can become more dangerous for the pet the lower its temperature falls. The degrees of hypothermia are included in the graphic below:
Remember the temperatures in this series of graphics are the body temperatures of the dog.
Some dogs become hypothermic by falling through ice into freezing lake or river water or being exposed to freezing outdoor temperatures in the winter. But other dogs may develop hypothermia as a complication from underlying diseases, injury or certain medications.
Very young, very old and sick dogs may be more likely to become hypothermic, because their bodies may not be as efficient at regulating temperature. While not as common, cats can have hypothermia, too.
If you want to learn more about the science of veterinary medicine, take a look at some of the other video cases on Vet Set Go. You can learn about cataracts if you watch this video and see a veterinary ophthalmologist perform surgery on a patient to restore its sight. If you click on this video, you’ll see a veterinary surgical specialist operate on a Red Wolf. For a complete listing of our Science of Vet Medicine cases, see this page.