SAM - January 2015
Sam, a 12 year old entire male Scottie cross was brought in to see us for ongoing problems with blood in his urine. Blood in the urine (haematuria) can be due to many different reasons, such as infections, polyps (little benign growths), tumours or prostate problems. Sam was booked in for a specialist ultrasound scan at the practice. Sam's haematuria was found to be due to him having an overactive and enlarged prostate gland – a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system, and can become overactive in entire dogs due to testosterone produced by testicles. This problem was rectified by castration and since, Sam hasn't had any further problems.
While Sam was under investigation, a sample was also taken from a lump on his side, which turned out to be mast cell tumour – a potentially aggressive skin tumour that can be fatal if it spreads. Mast cell tumours can be difficult to remove as they can infiltrate into the normal surrounding skin and spread from there. They also contain a substance called histamine – something which is itchy and irritant, which can lead to the surgical incision being slow to heal or it breaking down. Unfortunately, the middle part of Sam's wound broke down despite the precautions taken. We left the wound to heal using open wound management as if we had re-sutured it, it would have caused further complications. Sam's wound was managed with initially daily bandage changes and Manuka honey (special sterile honey). Sam's wound healed very well and quickly and he is now back to normal. Luckily for Sam, the whole tumour was removed and it hadn't spread. It is just as well Sam came in for his investigations into his urinary problems as otherwise we might not have investigated Sam's lump and his prognosis could have been very different. We are so pleased that Sam has recovered well from his complications and that he is back to enjoying life to the full!
WILLOW - February 2015
Willow was a 2 year old domestic short hair cat. She was brought into the practice as an emergency after collapsing that morning. On admission, she had a very low temperature (hypothermia) and had wide dilated pupils (a sign of shock), and was very flat. Willow was admitted to the practice to be put on a drip to help with her shock and to have a blood test. Her blood results showed lots of abnormalities – she had a sudden onset infection, which her body was not able to make enough blood cells to fight. Unfortunately, Willow also had damage to her liver and kidneys. These blood results showed that Willow was suffering from a very serious infection. Willow was given intensive nursing but unfortunately deteriorated through the course of the afternoon and unfortunately had to be put to sleep – the kindest thing in this situation to prevent her from suffering.
As Willow was so young and she became ill so suddenly, a post mortem was carried out to see if we could find the cause of her illness. Lots of her organs had been affected and were failing so her collapse was due to her body shutting down. The post mortem confirmed that her disease was most likely due to an infectious cause – most likely a septicaemia from a bacteria like E.coli, or due to one of the fatal cat viruses – feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Unfortunately, to date, although vaccines can help with prevention, there is no cure for these fatal viruses so all we can do is to offer palliative care to keep animals comfortable. It was very sad to lose Willow, especially at such a young age. The prompt actions of her owners and the vets ensured that we gave her the best chance of survival that we could and that we did not prolong her suffering. Willow is at peace now, but the memories of her are very much still alive.
PETER - March 2015
Peter is a four year old rabbit who came in to see us with recurrent eye infections, which he was given antibiotics for. A dye was put into his eyes to look for any scratches and to check if the duct running from his eye to his nose (naso-lacrimal duct) was blocked. No dye came from Peter's nose so we were suspicious that the ducts could be blocked – a common condition in rabbits called dacrocystitis. Unfortunately, Peter's eyes did not respond to the antibiotics. He was admitted for x-rays to be taken as dental disease can be a cause of this, and to have this duct flushed. The x-rays and dental examination showed that Peter's teeth were generally ok, with just one small spike to his teeth. A very small catheter was passed into the naso-lacrimal duct in each eye and these were both flushed, clearing the pus from his ducts. Peter's antibiotic was changed and he was given an oral antibiotic too. A week later there was still a small amount of discharge so swabs were taken to ensure that we were treating his eyes with the correct medicines. The swabs came back fine and Peter's eyes stopped discharging. To date, Peter hasn't had any further problems with his eyes and is back to being a happy rabbit!
MONTY - April 2015
Monty was a 17 year old cat who was rescued by his owners in 2003. Five years ago, Monty became more thirsty and lost weight despite always being hungry. Monty came to us for blood tests and we found he had diabetes. The vets tried very hard to treat this with insulin injections but found it difficult to keep his blood sugar under control. A further blood test was taken to see if Monty had another condition that was causing his diabetes. This test confirmed that Monty had a rarer condition called acromegaly. This is usually caused by a brain tumour that causes excessive 'growth hormone' production. 'Growth hormone' stimulates tissues to grow and causes there to be more sugar for energy in the blood – hence why diabetes is seen, and why Monty's blood sugar was difficult to control. Currently, radiotherapy is the only treatment but this has complications associated with it - needing multiple treatments, long travel as few places perform it, and damage to the sensitive structures in the brain. In Monty's case, this treatment was not in his best interests, so instead we monitored regularly and gave symptomatic treatment.
As acromegaly causes secondary problems with the heart and kidneys, the life expectancy after diagnosis is usually only 18 months - Monty well exceeded this! His blood glucose was always difficult to control but he lived a full and very happy life. Monty was a regular boarder with us so that we could give him his insulin injections. Unfortunately, in April, Monty suffered further complications from his condition whilst staying with us – he lost a lot of weight and muscle, and collected fluid on his abdomen. X-rays showed us that Monty's heart was enlarged and unable to pump the blood efficiently around his body. We drained the fluid from his abdomen and started medical treatment. Unfortunately, Monty did not respond and the kindest option was to put him to sleep. We are all very sad to have lost Monty as he was a truly lovely cat and very loyal to his family who loved him very much. Monty really exceeded the odds. We will all miss him here at the practice and have lots of lovely memories of him from his holidays here with us.
BHUNA - May 2015
Bhuna is a very sweet Staffordshire Bull Terrier that was rehomed from Battersea Dogs Home in 2010. He was brought in to see us earlier this year after becoming lame on one of his back legs. After trying anti-inflammatory medicines and a restricted exercise regime, Bhuna remained lame so was admitted for a general anaesthetic and x-rays to be taken. We took x-rays of Bhuna's knees and sent them to an an expert orthopaedic surgeon who diagnosed Bhuna with a partial cranial cruciate ligment rupture of his knee. This injury was making his knee unstable and causing his lameness. The orthopaedic surgeon visited our practice and admitted Bhuna for surgery on his knee here. Bhuna underwent a TPLO surgery (tibial plateau level osteotomy) in May. This surgery involved permanently changing the angle of the tibia (shin bone) by cutting into the tibia, rotating the top of it, and then stabilising this with a bone plate and screws, which will remain in place for the rest of Bhuna's life. Bhuna is recovering remarkably well since his surgery. Bhuna is due to have some more x-rays in a few weeks time to ensure all is well with the repair.
MOLLY - June 2015
Molly is a lovely 8 year old Springer Spaniel who came in to see us with a history of being unwell for one week. She hadn't eaten for a week and when she tried drinking, she would vomit. On examination, Molly was dehydrated and very painful when touching her abdomen. A possible object could also be felt in the front of her abdomen. A conscious x-ray was taken, which confirmed our suspicions that Molly had a foreign body. Molly needed stabilising before we could anaesthetise her to perform the surgery to remove the object. Her blood work showed that her kidneys were affected and that she had an infection. We put her immediately onto antibiotics and onto intravenous fluids to rehydrate her. Once she was stable, Molly was anaesthetised and taken into theatre. On examination of her intestines, the object was located and removed by cutting into the intestines (a process called an enterotomy). A 3cm ball was removed! Molly's intestines were very carefully sutured up. Because Molly's intestines were very bruised and weakened, we had to reinforce them by suturing a healthy piece of intestine over this (serosal patching). Molly's abdomen was flushed with a lot of fluid to help to remove and dilute any remaining bacteria before closing up her abdomen. Molly's bloods were repeated the next day, and all values were nearly normal again. Each day, Molly showed signs of improvement and she even started eating 24 hours after her surgery. Molly stayed with us for three days and then continued her recovery at home. We are very pleased that Molly has made a full recovery and is back to being her happy bouncy self!
Each month our staff team nominate a patient whose case has been unusual, complicated or just close to our hearts. At the end of the year we open up the voting to our clients, asking you to choose your favourite to be crowned
Pet of The Year 2015.
JOSEPHINE - July 2015
Josephine is a very sweet 6 year old Domestic Short Hair cat who was unfortunately involved in a road traffic accident in June. Her right hock (ankle joint) and fibular had a complete fracture and dislocation and she had also completely ruptured the ligaments in this joint. The fracture was in multiple segments, and unfortunately one of these fragments perforated the skin. The fracture was stabilised here at the practice with a supportive bandage, and shortly after, Christoph, a visiting expert orthopaedic surgeon came to surgically repair her leg. Josephine had pins in her leg and an external fixator (a frame with bars that stabilise the fracture) to repair her fractured leg. Josephine had this in place for six weeks and had to come into the practice for regular bandage changes, initially daily! Josephine has had a very long road to recovery but has been a model patient despite how severe her injury was and has remained so affectionate throughout. We are very pleased to say that Josephine is recovering well. She had her external frame removed in July and is beginning to use her leg well again
JUNO (now MISTY) - August 2015
Juno is a young female cat who was brought into us as a stray and was presumed to be around one year old. On examination, she was found to be heavily pregnant and ultrasound scan showed healthy fetuses with heartbeats. We took Juno in and she stayed with us so that we could monitor her to check she gave birth without any problems and to care for her to ensure she would have everything she would need for her kittens. We set her up a quiet area and a special box for her to be able to have her kittens in. She was fed kitten food to make sure she would get all the nutrients that she would need whilst being pregnant and in order to be able to produce milk for her kittens. Juno gave birth without needing any assistance and was instantly a fantastic mother, bonding well with her three kittens and giving them everything they needed. Juno and her kittens (2 boys and 1 girl) stayed with us whilst they needed care and attention and now all have loving homes to go to.
UPDATE: We are delighted to announce that mum and kittens have all gone to their new homes and are doing fantastically. Mum and daughter have found a loving home together and the two boys have both gone to homes where we know they will be loved and spoilt as well.
Chester - September 2015 Part two (We couldn't choose!)
Chester was a lovely 10 year old Labrador. He was initially seen out of hours as he was panting and in pain. After several tests and treatment, he improved a little but a few weeks later, he came back to see us as he suddenly went very picky with his food – very unusual behaviour for Chester! He had also started to lose weight, and his abdomen had become distended with fluid. Chester had lots of tests, including an ultrasound, x-rays and an abdominocentesis (a needle inserted into his abdomen to obtain a sample of fluid) – we drew a sample that was blood, and the ultrasound unfortunately confirmed our suspicion of a tumour. Chester was operated on to see if the mass could be removed but unfortunately it could not be. The mass was attached to his liver and very extensive – most likely a haemangiosarcoma. Chester's owners made the very difficult and brave decision to put him to sleep on the operating table to prevent him from suffering. We were all very sad to lose Chester as he really was a very sweet and kind dog. He had a lovely nature, and we certainly all will remember him fondly.
Jackson - September 2015 Part one (We couldn't choose!)
Jackson is an adorable six month old cocker spaniel puppy. Jackson came to see us at the start of September after he accidentally caught his tail in the door. He had a de-gloving injury – where he had pulled 4cm of skin off from his tail and the tail bone was exposed. Despite having such a painful injury, Jackson was very brave and remained happy and wagging his tail throughout! Jackson was booked in for surgery, and had the end of his tail amputated, which we are very happy to say has now healed well!
Under the same anaesthetic, Jackson was also castrated. Jackson's castration wasn't the normal straight forward procedure as he was a cryptorchid - which means that he had one testicle that hadn't descended into his scrotum. It is very important to castrate dogs when they have a retained testicle as if not, there is a chance that the testicle can turn into a tumour later on in life. Dogs that have retained testicles are either in the groin or in the abdomen. In Jackson's case, it was in his abdomen so he had an incision to look for his testicle in his abdomen. Jackson has recovered well from both aspects of this surgery and is now back to running around and enjoying life!
Elvis - October 2015
Elvis is a very sweet 7 year old domestic shorthair cat. He had two of his toes amputated earlier on in the year due to having a tumour between his toes called a spindle cell sarcoma. These tumours do not tend to spread around the body but unfortunately can spread in the localised area by leaving microscopic cells outside of the main tumour in what appears as normal skin. Unfortunately this happened in Elvis' case, and the tumour recurred nine months later in October. The tumour was growing rapidly and causing Elvis discomfort. The only treatment option that remained was to amputate Elvis' leg as we could not remove any more toes as he wouldn't be able to walk on that leg. His leg was amputated mid-way up his femur. Elvis recovered very quickly from his operation and was well enough and calm enough to go home that day. He made a rapid recovery, starting to walk the next day and at his routine three day post-op check was happily walking around the room! Elvis then had to spend time indoors to continue to learn how to balance fully and to build up his muscle strength before being allowed to go outside. Cats tend to recover very quickly after a limb amputation and generally can go on to live a normal life going outside once they have adapted. We are very happy that Elvis made such a great recovery and is back to enjoying doing the things he likes to do!
Betty - November 2015
Betty is a 5 year old boxer. Betty has been a frequent visitor to the practice with skin problems due to her allergies, urinary issues, spinal pain and knee problems. Betty had knee surgery in February 2014 on her left knee. Betty came to see us in Autumn 2015 with lameness in her right hindleg. After investigations, it was confirmed that Betty had ruptured the cruciate ligament in her right knee. This meant that her knee was not stable and that the bones making up the knee joint slipped forwards slightly every time she put weight through her knee. Due to Betty's health problems, she could not be operated on immediately so we managed her condition with rest and pain relief whilst we medicated her for her skin and urinary problems.
In November, Betty's conditions were finally under control, and she was able to have surgery on her knee to re-stabilise it – a procedure called a tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO). In this procedure, a cut is made into the top of the tibia bone to change the angle at which it sits. A plate is then put onto this bone to hold it in place and this stabilises the knee.
Betty's surgery went well but unfortunately, two and a half weeks after her surgery, her surgical wound broke down. The screws from her plate were loose and visible. Betty had another surgery that day to clean the wound, replace the screws and to place a drain. This was thought potentially to have happened due to an infection in the deep tissues which had caused the screws to loosen. Fortunately, complications like this are rare and due to the fast acting of Betty's owners and our visiting expert orthopaedic surgeon Christoph, we were able to treat the problem straight away. Despite Betty's set back, she has made real progress. She is still in her recovery phase but is a model patient and has remained such a sweet natured dog throughout!
Holly - December 2015
Holly was a very sweet twelve and a half year old Newfoundland. Holly had osteoarthritis and mobility issues. She saw us regularly towards the end of the year with recurrent urinary tract infections, which led to her getting infections of the skin around her vulva. Holly had investigations to try to find a cause as to why she kept developing these infections. It was found that Holly had crystals in her urine. These crystals irritated the lining of her bladder causing cystitis. The optimal way to have treated this would be to remove the crystals under a general anaesthetic directly from her bladder (a cystotomy). Due to Holly's age, she was not a good candidate for an anaesthetic, so it was decided that we would treat Holly medically with antibiotics when she had these flare ups to improve her quality of life. Holly proved difficult to treat as she had a very sensitive stomach so would vomit with oral antibiotics. She had to come to the practice daily for antibiotic injections as she couldn't tolerate oral tablets. She very quickly became popular with the nurses who injected her in the car everyday! Unfortunately, Holly's quality of life deteriorated in December and she was put to sleep in the new year. She really was a very sweet dog, and we will all remember her very fondly here.