PHOTO 1: Traumatic injuries in dogs are commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents, fighting with other animals, falling from heights, blunt trauma and gunshot wounds. Treatment of acute head injuries should take into account all life threatening extra cranial injuries like haemorrhage and airway obstruction. Extra cranial stabilization is the first priority when treating head trauma. Intracranial factors like maintenance of adequate cerebral perfusion pressure and adequate supply of oxygen should also be taken into account. Patency of the airway should be ensured as soon as possible by endotracheal intubation or emergency tracheostomy. Severe brain injury is associated with high incidence of mortality in animals. The injuries that result from head trauma can be categorized into primary and secondary injuries. Primary injuries occur due to direct mechanical damage caused by the trauma or accident. Primary injuries include contusions, haematomas, lacerations, diffuse axonal injury, intracranial haemorrhage and vasogenic oedema. Secondary injury is due to systemic extracranial insults and intracranial physical and biochemical changes in the hours or days following the trauma or accident. Traumatic brain injury causes the activation of biochemical pathways that act to perpetuate further brain tissue damage. Secondary intracranial injury is mediated through enhanced activity of excitatory neurotransmitters, generation of reactive oxygen species and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines which contributes to neuronal cell damage and cell death.
PHOTO 2: The critically ill patient needs to be monitored continuously and accurately. It is also very important to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. Critically ill patients may have difficulty maintaining normal body temperatures and may require an external source of heat. Analgesic medication can be given to the patient to relieve pain when necessary.
REFERENCES: 1. Sande, A & West, C 2010, ‘Traumatic brain injury: a review of pathophysiology and management’, Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, vol. 20, no. 2, pp.177-190.[http://web.ebscohost.com]. 2. Silverstein, DC & Hopper, K 2009, ‘Small animal critical medicine’, Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, pp.658-662.
Metadata assigned by Dr. M. van Schoor, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Companion Animal Clinical Studies