Miracle dog Reggie given 10% chance of survival by emergency vets

Vets battled for SIX DAYS to save a dog who had collapsed with heat stroke.

Golden retriever Reggie was so close to death, owner Emma Moses was called in to say her final farewell.

But she clung to hope despite three-year-old Reggie being given just a 10% chance of survival by the high-skilled team of emergency vets at Vets Now in Newport who gave him lifesaving blood and plasma transfusions.

Now the vets who saved Reggie’s life are warning of the lethal dangers faced by dogs exercising on warm days.

Emma’s partner Josh had taken Reggie for a walk near their Newport home last month when he lay down, unable to walk.

“It had been a bit of a heatwave for a few days before, but although it was warm it was overcast so we never even thought it might be heat stroke,” said Emma, 28, who works for Jet2 Holidays.

“We thought he may have hurt his paw and took him to our own vet to get that checked, but he went downhill really fast that evening.

“He was sick and had diarrhoea and then started having a seizure. I phoned Vets Now who told us to get him to them as fast as possible.

“I was sitting in the back with him and he was shaking so hard he was rocking the car. He was foaming at the mouth, his jaw was locked and you could see in his eyes he really wasn’t there.

“When we carried him out at the clinic, his tongue was hanging out and he was a dead weight. It was just horrendous.”

Vets Now’s new clinic in Newport, which is led by Michael Maguire, an RCVS advanced practitioner in emergency and critical care, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for pet emergencies.

Image of Reggie the golden retriever who collapsed with heat stroke for Vets Now article on dog heat stroke
Reggie was given a 10% chance of survival after collapsing with heat stroke ©Vets Now

Even though Reggie had been rushed straight there, things looked bleak as he had suffered major organ failure, including damage to his liver and kidneys, and had serious issues with his blood.

“Reggie was in a very bad way and our first task was to try to stabilise him,” said the admitting veterinary surgeon Hannah Fisher

“We gave him intravenous fluids and started a plasma transfusion, and as a result his heart rate slowly improved.

“His temperature also started to drop thanks to some active cooling.

“But his prognosis remained poor as it was clear he’d suffered organ damage and what’s called coagulopathy, which can lead to blood clots and bleeding.

“We agreed with his owner to do everything we possibly could but because he was so ill, there was a prospect of putting him to sleep on welfare grounds.”

Michael, who was also part of the team who treated Reggie, added: “Over the following hours and days our emergency team provided intensive one-to-one treatment and, thankfully, after receiving more plasma and two blood transfusions from staff dogs, Reggie slowly began to improve.

“We’re just so pleased to hear he’s still on the mend as it really did not look good for him.

“Reggie’s case demonstrates just how quickly dogs can suffer heat stroke even on days when the sun isn’t out. The only reason he survived is because his owners acted quickly.

“If you ever suspect your dog has heat stroke call your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now as prompt emergency treatment can massively increase their chances of survival.”

“Reggie's case demonstrates just how quickly dogs can suffer heat stroke even on days when the sun isn't out. The only reason he survived is because his owners acted quickly."

Michael Maguire Lead ECC veterinary surgeon, Vets Now Newport

Emma had been told on the first evening that she’d get a call if things took a turn for the worse.

“I was too scared to sleep in case I missed the call and you’re just praying the phone isn’t going to ring,” said Emma. “When they did phone it was to say it really wasn’t looking like he was going to make it.

“He’d had two plasma transfusions the following day and they said the last thing they could try was a full blood transfusion, but he only had a 10% chance of survival.

“We were in bits, but we just wanted them to do everything they possibly could.

“They said they thought we should go in to say goodbye. It was awful as he was lying there with tubes coming out of him, but I couldn’t give up. I felt that somehow he was going to make it despite being told he could go at any time.”

When Reggie made it through that second night, Emma started to believe a miracle might just happen and slowly his blood started to return to normal and his organs began to function again.

“We burst out crying when we were told and didn’t know how he was doing it.”

It was six days of intensive care before he was well enough to be allowed home and Emma admits she didn’t sleep for days and watched him every minute until she could see he was back to his old self.

Reggie with his owner Emma for Vets Now article on heatstroke in dogs
Reggie in the garden with his loving owner, Emma ©Vets Now

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“We’re so grateful that Vets Now were there and did such an amazing job,” said Emma. “I still can’t believe he’s here.

“But it just goes to show what can happen. Although he wasn’t showing any obvious signs of heat stroke, the vets think he’d overheated despite not being out in the sun on the days before when it was really hot.

“So, if you think something’s wrong you really do need to get help just as fast as possible.”

The Vets Now clinic in Newport – where Reggie received treatment – is one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals that are open seven-days-a-week to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.

Vets Now has also recently launched an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available. While life-threatening conditions like Reggie’s would not be suitable for the service, their experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns pet owners might have. If a pet needs to be treated at Vets Now, pet owners are refunded the online consultation fee.