Specialist Care Saves House Fire Dog

A veterinary team has helped save a young dog who was left clinging to life following a devastating house fire.

Miko, a ten-month-old Shih Tzu, was the only casualty of a fire that ripped through his owner’s home in Blackpool.

Firefighters pulled Miko unconscious from the blaze and gave him oxygen, before he was taken to the nearest out-of-hours clinic, Norcross Vets, and provided constant oxygen with his owners at his side.

Two days later, and still experiencing seizures and mental dysphoria, he was rushed to Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) by his owners, suffering from tetraparesis. Miko was blind, unable to eat, drink, sit or stand up, was constantly gasping for air and had suffered suspected brain damage.

Upon arrival at NWVS he was cared for by a team of veterinary nurses, neurologists and anaesthetists, who worked together to carry out conservative management of Miko’s lung injuries, along with 24-hour care, oxygen administration and general health checks.

Leading the team was neurology specialist Lorenzo Golini DVM MSc Dip ECVN MRCVS, who said: “Miko was in a very bad way and he required a general anaesthesia so we could assess the possible long-term damage caused by smoke inhalation.

“He had significant carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning, and was virtually comatosed for five days.

“It meant we had to call upon a number of different experts within the team, including neurologists, anaesthetists and specialist nurses.

“Miko’s prognosis wasn’t very good, but his owners spent every day with him and after about a week there was a major breakthrough.

“He started to recognise their voices, but the only way he could respond was by wagging his tail, so from then we knew he had brain function and a chance of recovery.”

NWVS performed an MRI scan and luckily minimal changes were found. The team provided continuous care to treat Miko’s seizures, which helped control the behavioural changes due to dysphoria and mental disorientation.

In the two weeks he spent at the Cheshire-based specialist hospital, Miko regained the ability to voluntary stand, with only minor balance issues, and was able to return home to his owners.

Lorenzo added: “Since his initial assessment, Miko has had two further consultations and has been making good progress. Although his vision is not completely restored, he is able to enjoy a normal life with his owners at home.”

It is now six months since the fire and Miko has adapted fully. All medication has ceased and he has not had any seizures, which was one of the main concerns after the fire.

Miko’s owners said: “We can’t thank the firefighters, vets, nurses and everyone who cared for Miko enough for their expertise in saving his life.

“They all displayed such loving care and total support during Miko’s very sad journey. We will always be grateful.

“It took a little while but, eventually, when Miko came home he was just able to stand on four legs, was partially blind and only able to lap wet dog food.

“From time to time he bumps into something dark coloured and he walks a little ungainly, but no one can tell how poorly he has been.

“Miko is back with us and loving his second chance of life.”

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