By: Dr. Kerrianne Kalbko, Emergency Department Veterinarian
Anubis is a 4 month male Labrador Retriever that presented to VESCONE’s Emergency Department on Sunday May 6, 2012, after jumping from his owner’s balcony. His initial evaluation showed a slightly low blood pressure and that he was reluctant to walk on his right frontleg. Due to his low blood pressure, he was stabilized with fluids. He was also given pain medication for his lameness.
Anubis was admitted to VESCONE’s ICU for monitoring overnight of his heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. After he was stabilized, he had x-rays taken of his right frontleg. His x-rays showed that part of his humerus, the bone in his shoulder was broken. On Monday, May 7, 2012, Anubis had surgery with Dr. Mary Ann Nieves, one of VESCONE’s surgeons. He recovered well from his surgery and he was discharged from VESCONE on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
What is High Rise Syndrome:
Trauma, such as being hit by a car, is a common reason for animals presenting to VESCONE for evaluation. Anubis presented with a type of trauma called High-Rise Syndrome. This refers to when a dog or cat jumps or falls from a window, deck, or other structure that is elevated several feet above the ground. A common cause of this syndrome is when pets jump or fall through windows that do not have screens.
What are the injuries?
Pets can suffer varying degrees of injury from their falls. Some pets may only suffer fractures or broken bones in their legs. However others may be very critical from damage to their chest and abdomen or head trauma. Possible chest or abdominal injuries are: broken ribs, bruising to the lungs, a torn diaphragm, bladder rupture, or injury to the liver or spleen.
What should I do?
High-Rise Syndrome is an emergency and all pets suffering from it should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian. Possible diagnostics that may be recommended are: x-rays of the chest and abdomen to evaluate for any internal injuries and bloodwork to check organ function, electrolytes, red blood cell count, and protein levels. If there is concern about broken bones, additional x-rays will also be recommended.
How can I prevent it?
High-Rise Syndrome can be prevented. If your windows do not have screens, then you can simply purchase screens. If you have a deck or porch, it should be properly gated or enclosed so that pets cannot not fall from them.