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Two weeks ago on a Thursday evening, we received a call about an emergency involving the very fluffy, absolutely adorable Hugo. He’s a 12 week-old Golden Retriever puppy who had just been bitten on the head by another dog. His head had instantly swollen, with a lump the size of an orange, and he was bleeding from both his nostrils.


Poor little Hugo was quiet after such a shock, but was very brave when we carefully felt the bones of his skull. He happily let us check that there was no damage to his brain. We examined his pupils, the symmetry of his face, his general responses and alertness. We also checked that the nerve function in each leg was ok by doing a number of gentle exercises. Fortunately there was no sign of any brain damage, though we could feel a loose piece of bone in his skull.


Hugo was given a painkiller injection that would also make him sleepy so that we could take some x-rays of his skull. He was also given an antibiotic injection because of the risk of infection following a bite wound. The antibiotic that we chose is one that is very safe in puppies.


With a skull fracture visible on the x-ray, we sent Hugo to the specialist clinic that evening. A CT scan revealed a number of skull fractures, but despite being so close to his brain, there was no indication of any damage to it.


Hugo now needs to keep calm and quiet for the next 6-8 weeks, while the swelling resolves and hopefully his skull heals. That means no pats on the head. So if you’re going for a walk and see a gorgeous Golden Retriever puppy with a lump on top of his head, please try to resist patting his head!




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