Angus' lucky escape after traumatic impalement injury.

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

Last week we had a phone call from some very worried owners. Their beloved German Wire-haired Pointer Angus had somehow managed to jump on to a metal stake in a ditch. Our vet Will, assisted by trainee nurse Lindsey rushed out to the field he was in and met Angus' owners there to try and rescue him from the metal stake and bring him in to the surgery. At this point it wasn't clear how far in the stake had gone so Will and Lindsey had to be very careful when moving Angus, in case the stake had punctured any vital organs.


The following images may be upsetting but we wanted to show the extent of his injuries to highlight how lucky Angus is to be alive and back home with his family.


Angus was in a life threatening condition so our team worked as quickly as possible to save his life.

The rest of our team were waiting for Angus' arrival and as soon as Will and Lindsey arrived back at the surgery we immediately began to try and stabilise his condition. It was clear the metal stake had gone in to his chest but at this point we still didn't know how long it was so we proceeded to x-ray him to figure out if there was any damage.




These xrays show that the stake had gone in to his chest near his armpit and through his diaphragm into his abdomen. It was clear the only way to save his life was to proceed to surgery and perform a thoracotomy - this means we had to open his chest.



Angus was prepared for surgery straight away and transferred to theatre so we could begin the operation.


Open chest surgery comes with lots of risks and during the surgery we had to manually take over his breathing as once the chest is open, the lungs can not inflate on their own. We had a team of experienced registered veterinary nurses monitoring his anaesthetic and breathing for him via his anaesthetic tubing.


Will was relieved to find that the metal stake had not punctured his vital organs and the injuries were to tissues that could be repaired. The stake was removed once the damage and bleeding had been controlled. Angus had to have a chest drain placed so that we could remove the air and fluid that had built up in his chest as a result of the injury.




Angus was under intensive care following the surgery and required lots of strong pain relief. He was in our ward for 8 days being closely monitored and cared for by our vets and nursing team. His owners visited every day to encourage him to eat and cheer him up. It was wonderful to see that every day he got a little bit better and soon enough he was well enough to go home.




Angus is incredibly lucky to be alive and he wouldn't be without the surgery carried out by Will and the nursing team. Our 24 hour hospital meant that Angus didn't need to be transferred elsewhere and so he had continuous care here at Donnington Grove.


To read more about Angus' story click this link to see the Newbury Weekly News Article https://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/news/28655/dramatic-dog-rescue-by-donnington-vets.html

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