A Dachshund has had a lucky escape after a mystery windpipe injury caused his body to fill with air.

Four-year-old Trevor was rushed to Beech House surgery in Warrington, part of the Willows Veterinary Group when his owner noticed his body had blown up to three times its normal size.

Trevor blew up to three times his size

An examination revealed a hole in his windpipe which had to be stitched up before Trevor could be “deflated”. The injury allowed air to leak out under his skin over his whole body and even caused his heart to lift off his sternum.

His owner, Fran Jennings, who runs Pets Animal Hotel in Lymm, says she doesn’t know how the injury occurred. “Basically, we came down one day and found Trevor in a bad state, he literally looked like he’d blown up like a balloon and we have no idea what had happened.

“He was three times the size he should’ve been. We put him straight in the car and took him to the 24-hour emergency vets and they had never seen anything quite like it. Whatever it was, it affected his breathing so we had to leave him there while they tried to find out what was wrong.”

The X-ray shows Trevor’s whole body from above. It shows how Trevor’s skin has been lifted off the body wall by the air



The X-ray shows Trevor’s body from the side. It shows how Trevor’s skin has been lifted off the body wall by the air

Trevor was kept in for tests and was diagnosed with sub-cutaneous emphysema – an abnormal collection of air under the skin in the lowest level of the skin’s tissues and muscles known as the subcutis or hyperdermis.

Vet Michelle Coward of Willows Veterinary Group helped treat him and said she’d never seen anything like it. “Trevor was presented to us with signs of severe air ingress under the skin,” she said.

“There were no external injuries that would explain how air had got under the skin, so we suspected that an internal injury to the airway or oesophagus could have been allowing the air to leak into the body.

“Every time he took a breath, some of the inhaled air escaped through a hole in his windpipe around the muscles and fatty tissue under the skin, and X-rays showed the emphysema was worsening.

“Surgery was the only way to repair the injury but due to its location, there was a significant risk of complications. I have never seen a case like this before and it was a new surgery for me.”

Dachshund, Trevor, has made a great recovery with help from vets at Willows Veterinary Group

Michelle added, “Trevor’s surgery went well, he made a quick recovery and was monitored in the hospital. When he came back for his check-ups following the surgery he was very bouncy and happy. He’s a great character and everybody loves him. He was a pleasure to nurse.

“It was certainly an interesting case and one that is unusual as far as I understand. There should not be any long term impact to Trevor’s health.”

Vet Rachel Dean of Willows Veterinary Group makes a fuss of Trevor following his ordeal

Fran’s daughter, Jessica, who shows sausage dogs at Crufts and helps run the family business says, “When I saw Trevor, he looked like a big fat seal, his whole body was like a blob and you couldn’t tell his face from his neck. It was horrible seeing him like that, we had to deflate the air out of him, it was weird.

“He’s a little sweetie, he’s always running about happy, he looks like he has a big smile on his face, he’s very cheeky. He’s also quite mischievous and often gets up to trouble – that’s why we’ve nicknamed him Tricky Trevor.

Vet Rachel Dean is pictured with Trevor’s owner Fran Jennings.

“You know straight away whenever there’s anything wrong with him. “But now he’s back to his normal self, chasing the chickens and we wouldn’t have him any other way.”


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