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Her lung was ruptured–she almost died

Sage is Ayla’s best friend and truly her emotional support. Two-year old Sage became part of Ayla’s family during a particularly difficult time in Ayla’s life. She wasn’t working during the pandemic and it was one of the most challenging times she can remember. She knew she needed a little extra emotional support when she found Sage. The bond was immediate. Ayla and her fiancé were able to spend a lot of time with Sage, helping her overcome a skittish and timid nature, and Sage became very attuned to their emotions.

“When I let out a big sigh, she’ll hear that and come right to me. She knows that sigh means that mom isn’t all right,” Ayla said of the German Shepard mix. Their bond has gotten Ayla through some tough times.

And then their world was turned upside down.

It was Memorial Day weekend, and the rainy day trapped her and her beloved two year old, German Shepard mix, Sage, inside. When Ayla went to let Sage out, Sage’s pent up energy got the best of her and she took off out the open door.

Ayla heard the screech and then a yelp. And her worst fear came true.

Sage had been hit by a car. She was limping, bleeding, and soaking wet from the rain.

She immediately brought her to an emergency veterinarian, which was her only option on the holiday. They found that while she had escaped any fractured bones, she had a dislocated hip, and even more concerning, one of her lungs had ruptured upon impact and she had air accumulating within her chest cavity (a condition called pneumothorax).

The spunky pup was broken. She spent that night at the emergency hospital. But Ayla and her fiancé were worried about the cost of care, and decided to bring her home to see if her condition would improve.

When she arrived home that day, Sage was breathing loudly and her breaths were short. With time, it became evident that she was struggling for air. She began wheezing, panting, and drooling and Ayla knew that Sage would need more medical care ASAP.

Upon returning to the emergency veterinarian, many steps were taken to remove the air from Sage’s chest, to ease her breathing, but addressing the true cause of the problem (a damaged lung lobe) would be both complicated and expensive. Ayla had many moments where she didn’t know how she could afford Sage’s care.

“Sage is the light of our life.” Ayla wanted to do everything she could to save her, but she was stuck. She knew she didn’t have enough money.

Thankfully, Ayla found Mission Animal Hospital. Sage was transferred to Mission, where not only would the subsidized care lower the cost of the surgery, but she could also use a payment plan to make Sage’s surgery something she could actually afford.

“Going to Mission is the only way we could have made this work.”

In order to assess Sage’s lungs, she required a procedure called a thoracotomy, to open the chest. During the surgery, her board certified veterinary surgeon Dr. Hadley found that one of the lung lobes was clearly damaged and leaking air. She was able to remove the affected lobe (lung lobectomy) with a special stapling device and place a tube in Sage’s chest to allow for drainage while Sage recovered over the next couple of days. Following removal of the chest tube, Sage was discharged home to Ayla and her family who would continue to provide care during her recovery.

Though Sage will need another surgery to address her luxated hip - right now Ayla calls her “gimpy girl”– she’s recovering well from her thoracotomy and lung lobectomy. Ayla reports that Sage’s personality is back, and she’s her usual snuggly self.


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