Texas A&M Veterinarians Perform Rare Procedure To Save Dachshund
Posted June 06, 2018
For Klause—a 2-year-old red dachshund with an infectious
personality—the road to recovery seemed out of sight after a
mauling by an unknown animal left him almost unrecognizable.
But thanks to the work of a team of doctors at the Texas A&M
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH), Klause has returned
home and is expected to make a full recovery.
(From left) Cheryl Chadwick, Dr. Laurie Torkildsen, and Cassie
Burghardt discuss Klause's discharge after a mauling incident had
left the dachshund with life-threatening injuries.
Klause’s owner Cheryl Chadwick had let Klause and his sibling Chloe
out one last time before bed at around 10:30 p.m., when she heard a
loud noise and raced outside to find the two. Seeing the extent of
Klause’s injuries, Chadwick called her local veterinarian, who told
her she had two choices—leave Klause with him overnight, or bring
him to Texas A&M.
When Klause arrived at the Small Animal Hospital (SAH),
emergency room doctors found puncture wounds in his abdomen and a
hole in his lung. Part of his liver also had been torn and was
displaced in his abdomen.
Dr. Laurie Torkildsen, a third-year critical care resident at
the SAH, said that Klause ranks in the top-5 most severe trauma
cases of her career thus far.
Although the hospital deals with mauling incidents quite
frequently, Torkildsen explained that the penetrating wounds to
both Klause’s chest and abdominal cavity, as well as the damage to
his lung, made this a rare and more severe case.
“Anytime we have any penetrating wounds into a body cavity, we
flush it out so an infection doesn’t brew. Then we went into his
chest. He was very critical under anesthesia and we almost lost him
a few times,” Torkildsen said. “We were able to partially tie off
his lung to try and stop the leaking, but he was not doing well
enough for us to completely stop it.”
To complete the surgery, Torildsen performed a rare procedure
called a pleurodesis, which requires taking blood and putting in
into the chest cavity.
“The hope is that all of the things that make your blood clot
will cause the hole to plug,” she said. “I actually used my own
personal dog, took his blood and gave it to Klause. After the
second procedure, it worked, and we were able to stop the leaking
Even after receiving a guarded prognosis and waiting through
several difficult procedures, Chadwick said she never lost faith
that her sweet Klause would return home.
“When they were going to start operating, they said there was a
50-50 chance of survival. Then they called me later on and said he
wasn’t doing very well with the surgery, and I told them, ‘Just do
what you’re going to do. He is in God’s hands and he is in your
hands,’” Chadwick said. “I was not panicked about it. I just felt
like he was going to be OK.”
That Chadwick was so calm about the ordeal may have been
surprising, considering her bond with Klause. After not owning a
pet since high school, the love and attachment Chadwick felt when
she received Klause as a puppy certainly was a welcomed surprise
“We named him Prince Klause, and then we added ‘von’ to his last
name to make is sound more German, because of the dachshund’s
German roots. His whole name is Prince Klause von Chadwick. It’s
bigger than he is,” Chadwick joked.
“He instantly became mine. He lives in the house and he sleeps
with me. None of my friends can believe it. They say, ‘Cheryl, what
happened to you?’ she continued. “He has just really been
Chadwick also called upon her friends, family, and the total
strangers who are part of an online dachshund community to pray for
Klause’s recovery; not only did those strangers contact Chadwick
and her daughter for daily updates, but they also contributed to
his medical expenses.
Klause’s survival was just as important to Torkildsen and rest
of the VMTH team.
Cassie Burghardt, a fourth-year veterinary student who cared for
Klause tirelessly during his six-day stay, said Klause’s recovery
was meaningful and rewarding in more ways than one.
“This would have been rewarding no matter what, but because this
was my first surgery and really my first big case, to have him do
so well and survive has been such a good experience for me,”
Burghardt said. “Klause was the perfect patient. He’s the best guy,
and he is so sweet, and his recovery has been amazing. I think
we’ve all been saying that since the beginning.”
Chadwick, who was filled with emotion and gratitude for the VMTH
when she arrived to pick up Klause, could not wait to take her
little prince home.
“I feel that this is the premier veterinary hospital,
internationally. It was a blessing for me to be able to get in my
car, dead of the night, and bring him here,” she said. “I believe
they were instrumental in saving his life.
“I almost wouldn’t change this experience. Had it not happened
that night, it could have happened another night and rescue might
not have been possible. Even though you could say, ‘Was there
something I could have done differently?’ I think that no matter
how bad, things always seem to go the way they’re supposed to,”
“I thought he would be here another week. I thought I might not
have the level of expertise needed to care for him in this
condition, but the fact that they feel he is ready to go home makes
me ecstatic. I am so excited.”
For more information about the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,
please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of
Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; email@example.com;
979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)
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