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Tracheal Trauma!

Sadie May, a 6 year old female Boxer-Pit Bull cross, was attacked by 3 dogs, nearly killing her.


Both her ears were nearly torn off, the entire top of her head torn down to bare skull, and her neck was ripped open, tearing most of her lower neck tissues away. This huge wound in her neck tore completely through her trachea (wind pipe), leaving her gasping for air and hemorrhaging critically in to her lungs.

Racing through the door of Alpine Animal Clinic, Sadie’s owners were covered with blood and Sadie was in a state of severe shock.  It took a whole team to stabilize Sadie May, and many of Alpine's team immediately began emergency care treatments while also preparing for emergency surgery with Dr. Heidi Wampler.

Compression bandages suppress hemorrhage while Sadie is prepped for surgery.  She is in shock.

Dr. Wampler placed Sadie under anesthesia and placed an endotracheal tube into her airway to stop the bleeding that was filling Sadie’s lungs, drowning her. The endotracheal tube also prevented air from leaking out of the trachea and into the tissues of her neck. This would also provide a supporting stent to the trachea while it was being surgically repaired.

In surgery, Dr. Wampler ligated the blood vessels to stop the hemorrhaging, then carefully repaired the trachea. With so much tissue torn away during the viscous dog attack, there was nothing left to close the gaping wound in Sadie’s neck, so Dr. Wampler utilized other surrounding tissues to create grafts to cover and protect her trachea, major neck vessels and nerves of the neck so it could heal.


Finally, all of the other wounds were cleaned of dirt, gravel and dog hair then repaired with many, many sutures including reattaching both her ears, the top of her head and repairing extensive laceration wounds.

Trachea torn open from dog bite wounds.
Sadie could not eat on her own and had to be carefully syringe-fed for many days after trauma.
2 months post-op, the trachea looks healed.
Two weeks post-op, the brusing is improving and swelling remains massive.

At two weeks, the massive bruising and swelling is improving.  Sadie May can now eat on her own.

At two months, Sadie May visits for cookies and a belly rub.  She looks amazing and is doing fantastic!  

Sadie May's story and photos, like all our stories, are shared by special permission from Sadie May's family.

In the early days following surgery Sadie could not eat on her own due to massive swelling, bruising and nerve damage.


Bandages helped contain the constant drainage of fluid and provided a protective covering while her trachea slowly healed. IV fluids, IV antibiotics, pain control and syringe feeding helped Sadie regain function and strength.


After multiple bandage changes, extensive nursing care and a great deal of love by her owners, Sadie was finally able to be discharged to home and eventually to have her bandages and most sutures removed. She continued to heal slowly and the nerve damage has slowly resolved to regain normal function.


Through it all, Sadie remained a wonderfully sweet and loving girl, and seemed to enjoy and appreciate the help and care she received by the Alpine team.

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Today sweet Sadie May is doing well and loves to come in for belly rubs and cookies!  

All of us at Alpine Animal Clinic would like to thank Sadie May's family for sharing her story.  


Sadie has been a wonderful joy to us all to see her do so well.

Sadie and her Emergency Care Team: Dr. Heidi Wampler and Therese.
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