Brave Pet of the Month
Powder is a 6 year old 'Utonagen' owned by a veterinary nurse. Powder was refered to us showing signs of difficulty breathing, poor appetite and a swollen stomach.
He was diagnosed with a condition called pericardial effusion. This is where fluid builds up in the sac surrounding the heart and causes it to be 'squashed' and often leads to heart failure.
Powder underwent life saving surgery to remove this 'sac' surrounding the heart through open chest surgery. All went well and powder has made a full recovery.
July's Brave Pet of the Month is Sonic, a 2yr old moggy that came home from his adventures one day with a painful, swollen hind leg.
He has a recurrent history of being bitten by another local cat but unfortunately this time he'd had a fight with a car!
X-rays revealed a dislocation in his hock (ankle), whic was stablised with wire by our vet Paul Hibbin, who has a special interest in orthpoaedics. He also had some damage to his spine caused by a 'tail pull' injury causing bruising in the spinal cord and nerves. Fortunately the spinal injury was quite mild and should improve with rest. If it had been more severe he may have lost the nerve supply to his bladder.
While everything heals he is being confined for strict rest at home for 6 weeks. Although he is frustrated at not being allowed out he has a lovely nature and is coping well.
Chewy is our June 'Brave pet of the Month'. Chewy was unlucky to develop large cancerous tumour on his back left thigh. The tumour was so painful that he couldn't put his leg down to walk on it and it caused him constant discomfort despite strong pain killers. His owners were left with the very difficult decision of deciding whether to have chewy put to sleep, or have his leg amputated to give him a chance of a more comfortable life.
The decision was made to amputate the leg. His operation went well, and after 48 hours he was feeling much more comfortable and getting used to moving about on 3 legs. 1 week after the operation his owners were really pleased with his progress, the wound had healed well, he was moving about easily and had mastered reversing. He had even jumped a gate to go and play with his friends.
He always has a smile on his face when he comes to see us for a check up and his tail doesn't stop wagging! His owners are aware that the cancer may come back, but he is on medication to reduce the risk of this as much as possible. He has shown great bravery thoughtout his treatment and is now enjoying a happy, comfortable life.
We hope he continues to do well. Sadly we see a higher than average number of tumours in flat coated retrievers (FCR) breed. Chewy's medical details have been sent to be part of a study of FCR tumours at the University of Cambridge. If your FCR has been unfortunate enough to develop a tumour and you would like us to submit your pet details to this study please let us know. This sort of research may help reduce the risks for future generations.
Elsie is a 12mth old border terrier who started having gut problems from about 12 weeks of age. She had intermittement vomiting, diarrhoea and tummy pain which responded to treatment but kept recurring. If an animal has eaten something indigestible it can stay in the stomach and act like a valve, occasionally blocking the exit and causing vomiting and pain.
Unfortunately some materials won't show on xray / ultrasound scan so the only way to be sure is to operate and look inide the abdomen. We did this with Elsie and as she didn't have a 'foreign body' in her stomach or intestines, we took biopsies to get a diagnosis. The results came back diagnosing irritable bowel disease, which is unusual in such a young dog. She will be managed by special hypoallergenic diet and is doing well. Its possible she'll grow out of this condition. Here is is recovering post-op wearing a vest to protect her wound.
Percy has a lucky escape after he was hit by a car. His weekend started normally with a big breakfast, but after he had popped out for some fresh air his owners noticed him looking very subdued and breathing heavily. On closer inspection they noticed that he had some grazes on his face and all his claws were scuffed. Scuffed claws is often a tell take sign that a cat has been hit by a car.
When we examined him we noticed that his breath sounds were very muffled and he was in a state of shock. We immediately admitted him to intensive care. He was stabilised on a fluid drip and placed in an 'oxygen tent' to allow him to breathe more easily.
His x rays showed that there was something dramatically wrong - his diaphragm, the muscular barrier separating his chest from his abdomen had ruptured, allowing his stomach and liver to move forwards into his chest completely squashing his lungs.
We operated to repair the large tear in his diaphragm - a risky procedure as his lungs had been so crushed. He recovered well from surgery and went home the next day. Let's hope he looks both ways before crossing the road in future!
Axel and Sniffles are our joint 'February Brave Pets of the month'
Two cats that have been through terrible ordeals. Axel, a 7yr old male cat got stuck in a car engine and had to be anaesthetized at the scene by Mary Crackles (the vet on call) so she could get him free. Unfortunately his front leg was damaged beyond repair and had to be amputated. Cats manage very well on 3 legs as long as they don't get too fat! Axel is recovering well at home.
Sniffles was brought in by a member of the public after she had got herself wedged in a tree. She was not in a good way and was literally gasping her last breath. Her body temperature and blood pressure were too low to measure and her heart could barely be heard. The staff got to work and resuscitated her with fluid therapy, oxygen and warming and she quickly responded but she could't stand or walk and was blind. She had a recent spay wound and Anne our head nurse went back through surgical records and traced her owner. She has x-rays taken which indicated her spine was intact and she slowly improved until she was well enough to go home. Her owners have continued to nurse her at home and she is walking well. We aren't sure how well she can see but she can use her litter tray and jumps on chairs, her pupils react to light but she doesn't blink normally or follow movement with her eyes. Its likely that she suffered brain damage from oxygen deprivation when she was so close to death. She is however a happy little cat.
Nell and Gunner's Story
Nell is a 15 month old Border Collie. She was brought in by her very concerned owners, lethargic with very pale gums. Tests revealed that she had bled into her chest. Her owners remembered she had passed blue poo a few days earlier; Rat poison pellets are often blue and usually kill rats by causing internal bleeding, she'd obviously come across them and eaten them. The best treatment for this kind of poisoning (if it's too late to make them vomit i.e. after 24hrs) is to give them a fresh blood transfusion. This treats the anaemia, caused by blood loss, and replaces clotting factors to prevent another bleed. The donor was one of the nurses' dogs, a German Shepard called Gunner. He donated some of his blood to help Nell with the clotting process and probably saved Nell's life. Nell spent 2 days being cared for by our nursing teams before going home to make a full recovery. Both Gunner and Nell were great patients. We are thrilled that Nell has made such a good recovery. If you are interested in registering your dog as a donor, phone the surgery. Donor dogs need to be healthy, vaccinated, over 25kg and 2- 8 yrs old.
Becks is our December 'Brave Pet of the Month'
She came to us with a large mammary tumour which needed removing. She spent over an hour under anaesthetic having the tumour removed. Becks' wound is now healing nicely and she recovering well at home. Mammary masses are a common problem in older dogs and unfortunately they can be cancerous and spread to the lungs. If you do not intend to breed from your dogs one of the best ways to reduce their risk of mammary tumours is to have them spayed when they are young. Spaying also prevents pyometra, a life threatening uterine infection.
Archie is our 'November Brave Pet of the month'
He came in looking very under the weather. During an ultrasound scan a large lump was identified on Archie's Liver. He underwent major surgery removing the large tumour which incorporated half of his liver. He spent two days being cared for by our nursing team before going home to make a full recovery. Archie was a great little patient who the nurses became very attached too. We are thrilled he has made such a great recovery.