Lucius' ball hazard story

You may already know Lucius as he is a North Fitzroy personality. He comes in frequently to say hello to the team. He also loves to come behind the reception desk to get treats and pats from the nurses. But recently, what was just a morning play in the park for Lucius, turned into a fight for his life.

Lucius was playing with his ‘heavy duty’ rubber ball when his owner noticed that he was salivating profusely… Lucius was choking on the ball!!! His owners brought Lucius straight down in the car to the clinic at 8am, and when he arrived he walked himself in and was still wagging his tail - even though this ball was partially blocking his airway!

The team had to act quickly. This was a critical emergency. Lucius needed to be treated immediately as the ball was lodged, causing the tissue in his pharynx to swell, blocking his airways completely. Lucius was immediately sedated and we attempted to remove the ball but found it to be completely wedged behind his jawbone. One of our nurses had to place her hand down his throat and grasp the ball to allow a small breathing space for Lucius. Whilst she was doing this, the veterinarian was surgically preparing an area on his throat for an emergency tracheostomy to allow him an airway.

Once the tube was inserted and his breathing stabilised, many attempts were made to remove the ball using various techniques and instruments. The ball itself was solid rubber and difficult to grip – this was going to need specialist attention!

Two nurses and a vet transferred Lucius on oxygen to a nearby specialist centre for immediate assessment. On that journey, under veterinary attention the entire time, he was still wagging his tail and being ‘almost’ the usual Lucius.

The team of 5 staff at the specialist centre were eventually able to remove the ball. Lucius recovered there for 24 hours until he was able to go home the next day.

Lucius is very lucky to still be alive. Without the quick action of his owners bringing him down immediately, and the quick action of our team to provide him with an airway, he most certainly would not be with us today.

Lucius came in tonight for his treats and his pats. Happily wagging his tail as usual. He probably wonders what all the fuss was about!

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