Brave Pet of the Month
Max is a 5 year old cocker spaniel who came into the practice as he was very lethargic and vomiting profusely. Max had been seen by a neurological specialist recently and was already on treatment for spinal disease which caused him to struggle to walk and was improving on the treatment.
We took some blood from Max and it was noticed that his blood sample was very pink instead of the normal red. This indicated there was a lot of fat circulating in his blood and prompted us to check for pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas - an organ that lays along side the stomach and produces digestive enzymes. His pancreatitis blood test came back strongly positive.
An ultrasound scan was also carried out on Max and free fluid was seen in his abdomen which was sampled and found to contain lots of bacteria indicating Max had secondary peritonitis - a life threatening condition. We operated on Max to get rid of the bacteria in his abdomen, placed a feeding tube and started him on lots of intravenous medications - we were very concerned he might not make it.
Finally, after a week of intensive treatment and surgery Max started to turn a corner and started eating and getting much brighter - we were delighted!
We are pleased to say has made a full recovery now and came in for a recheck today; he is back to his normal excitable self and is walking well as well!
Wilfie is an eleven year old Border Terrier. His owners brought him into the practice after he started vomiting.
Wilfie was being sick so much that we suspected he might have swallowed a foreign body so we admitted him for some imaging.
Wilfie had an ultrasound scan that morning. Instead of finding a foreign body, we discovered an abnormality with his gall bladder. Gall bladders are normally filled with bile, which is a liquid, but Wilfie’s gall bladder contained a large ball of mucous which was completely sealing the duct into his intestines, causing him to be so ill. Gall bladder mucoceles (as this condition is called), are very painful, and so Wilfie was initially stabilised with lots of pain relief and intravenous fluids, as he was quite dehydrated after being so sick! Paul then successfully performed an intricate and challenging surgery to remove Wilfie's blocked gall bladder.
Recovery is often the hardest part of this surgery, as dogs can be very painful post op, but we managed to control Wilfie's pain really well and he recovered fantastically. What a little fighter!
Wilfie will need to be on medication for life to make sure that the bile he produces stays quite thin, as he no longer has anywhere to store it, but he should hopefully live a happy life without his gall bladder. Here he is wearing his special t-shirt in the practice during his stay with us (this was to cover up a medicated skin patch designed for pain relief, but we think he looks super cute wearing it!)
Ben is an 8 yr old Border Collie who developed a swelling on his right foreleg, next to his elbow. He was also lame and had a temperature.
He was given pain relief and antibiotics, which didn’t help so he was then sedated and x-rayed.
The x-ray showed bone destruction of the humerus, just above the elbow and an aggressive tumour was diagnosed
Amputation was considered his best chance of survival as these kind of tumours spread rapidly to the lungs or elsewhere. The surgery was carried out successfully and he went home to find his balance on 3 legs. He recovered incredibly well and jumped over a gate after 3 days!
His owner is in awe of how well he has coped and here is some footage of him post op. He is very keen to go sheep herding again so she will try him and see how he manages.
A lot of people are very scared of amputation but animals don’t think like we do and whilst some may be depressed for a few days, they always (in my experience so far) adjust and get on with their lives. They are truly inspirational.
Dash is a 9½ year old English Springer Spaniel. In April one evening, Dash was admitted to the surgery as an emergency. She had gone missing for 5½ hours and was found in some woods impaled on a sapling. The piece of wood had gone through the top of her foreleg and armpit, damaging the muscle and leaving a very large wound.
Dash was anaesthetised and the wound cleaned and flushed with sterile saline and then sutured together. Healing of these types of wounds can be challenging due to the contamination and the traumatic damage to the tissue.
Unfortunately but not unsurprisingly the wound started to breakdown and open up, despite the stitches, about a week later. Dash was admitted to the clinic again for a further general anaesthetic and surgery to flush, debride and re-stitch the wound. Approximately 50% of the wound had opened up and we could see that the remaining 50% was beginning to heal up well.
Dash had to be kept on strict confinement following her second surgery to try to give the wound a good chance of healing, not easy for an active springer spaniel but throughout her recovery dash showed herself to be an extremely good and tolerant patient.
Disappointingly the wound once again opened up 5 days later. However the tissue looked clean and healthy so we decided to let the wound heal by secondary intention (i.e. allow to heal without stitches). We do this by keeping the wound infection free and using a mixture of medical grade manuka honey and hydrogel to promote moist wound healing.
Over a period of 4 weeks the wound gradually healed up. We saw Dash twice a week to clean and redress the wound. The wound had totally healed by the end of May.
Dash was very brave and an excellent patient. Thanks also go to her owner for being diligent in her care of Dash throughout her recovery. Dash is now back to her normal activities and exercise.
Amber, a 4yr old Labrador misjudged a jump into a pickup truck and landed with her belly on the tailgate. She quickly became very ill and started vomiting. We operated and discovered she had ruptured her bladder. Secondary to this, peritonitis, a very serious condition had occurred.
She was given a guarded prognosis and treated aggressively with medication and fluids. Later that evening she developed ventricular tachycardia- a serious heart condition that can develop after severe trauma or gut bacteria getting into the blood stream from damage or peritonitis. Her heart was irregular and beating very fast, we were concerned we would lose her.
She was given medication to settle her heart which thankfully worked and a day later she was allowed home. She had her staples removed 10 days later and was completely back to her usual self. Here she is being visited by her owners whilst she was hospitalised. Amber has now made a full recovery much to her dedicated owners relief.
Pudding was named by her rescuers and is currently under the care of Milnthorpe Kennels and Cattery.
When she was first brought into the surgery she was is in a bit of a bad way. She was underweight and had severe ear infections. She also has a number of broken teeth. Despite all of this she is such a friendly girl.
Pudding was first spotted wandering alone in Big Bell Wood in Foulshaw one Sunday but it was not until the following day that a member of the public was able to catch her and rush her to a vet for care.
It is feared she had been fending for herself for days, eating pheasants to survive before she was found. RSPCA inspectors are investigating how she came to be dumped in the woodland and where she came from. Unfortunately she did not have any form of identification and it has not been possible to trace her owners.
She has been undergoing vet treatment for her ears and being fed regularly to help her gain weight. She was back at our Kirkby Lonsdale surgery recently for a check up and we are pleased to report she has gained 4kg’s in weight, her ears are improving and she is getting a beautiful shine back to her coat.
Despite all this she is a happy, friendly girl, always wagging her tail, hoping to get the forever home she deserves soon.
Oscar is a 3½ year old Border Collie who, like many Border Collies, likes to attack moving car wheels.
Sadly he ended up with a crushed foot involving severe tissue damage. The skin was sutured as best we could and it was bandaged every 3-4 days for 4 weeks whilst it healed. At first he had to be sedated, as it was very sore and he was always nervous at the vets. After a couple of weeks, he was coming in so happy and waggy that we were able to just gently hold him to re-bandage.
It is now healed enough to leave un-bandaged.
He’s been such a pleasure to deal with and seemed to know we were trying to help him.
Bonnie is the cutest little Chihuahua. She was due to come into the surgery for routine neutering but on the day of her operation her owners commented that she had been sick a couple of times. She was very bright and lively in herself so to be on the safe side we gave her some medication for the sickness and postponed the operation.
A few days later she came back again as she was still being sick and now had stopped eating and looked very miserable. This made us suspicious there was more going on than just an upset tummy so she was admitted to the hospital for further tests and treatment.
An x-ray was taken of Bonnie but nothing conclusive could be seen but all the history made as suspect that she might have a foreign body. So with her owner’s permission she was taken into theatre for a exploratory laparotomy.
To everyone’s surprise, including the owners, a piece of one of her toys was found stuck in her stomach. Nobody could believe that such a small dog could swallow something so large, which turned out to be a leg off her giraffe toy.
Bonnie made a very quick recovery after the surgery and seemed to quite enjoy all the attention she was getting whilst in hospital, which included being hand fed whilst she lay in her bed.
A few days later Bonnie was back in the surgery for a post op check, back to her normal, cheeky self, standing on the reception desk getting cuddles from everyone. (Sadly all her soft toys have been thrown away to prevent this happening again)!
Jazz an 8 year old Bichon Frise. Her and her family were enjoying a caravan holiday in Ayrshire. Her owner gives her raw chicken wings as a treat but had none left so she went to the local butchers who suggested a chopped marrowbone instead.
Jazz ate it happily, then her tummy bloated and she was snorting and uncomfortable. Her owner rushed her to the nearest vet and x-rays were taken which showed some bone stuck in her oesophagus – the tube from the throat to the stomach. She was given medication to relax her, in the hope it would pass into her stomach. The next morning another x-ray showed it was still in the same position and needed urgent treatment. Left as it was, she would have been unable to eat, even water would struggle to pass it and the bone could penetrate the oesophagus which could be fatal. Unfortunately the vets and other vets in the area didn’t have an endoscope (a camera in a tube to pass down the oesophagus to look at the obstruction). This would have hopefully enabled them to grasp and remove it, otherwise she would have to have had major and risky thoracic surgery.
Her owner rushed her back to us and after a long struggle the bone was safely removed.
Giving bones is controversial with strong views for and against. As a practice we don’t recommend feeding bones to your dog as we see what happens when things go wrong, particularly when they actually eat them rather than just gnawing away.
Jazz quickly bounced back thankfully and is back to herself now. She has a great zest for life as you can see from the photo. She is a big ‘foodie’ and defiantly bit off more than she could chew!
Raz is a lovely collie who damaged his pads whilst running on hard ground.
The initial treatment was pain relief and he was given paw covers to protect his feet. A week later he was back with a temperature and very sore front paw. One toe was swollen and painful so we x-rayed his foot, no fracture could be seen so he was put on antibiotics and more pain relief. After 3 weeks the toe was still causing problems so Raz had an operation to remove the hard, damaged section of the pad in the hope that it would finally settle.
However the toe continued to be swollen and painful and Raz was getting depressed and frustrated as he hadn’t had a proper walk for 6 weeks. It was decided to amputate the toe.
After a further 2 weeks treatment and care we were able to leave the bandage off and he is now walking normally and enjoying proper walks.
The toe was sent to the laboratory for analysis and had plant material deep inside the toe, so it would never have healed and amputation was right thing to do. Dogs can run and walk normally with a missing toe.
Here is Raz looking peeved during his long, long treatment! He would swear quietly under his breath when his foot was being bandaged which made us chuckle because he has a lovely temperament.
Sam is a 10yr old Border Collie who has diabetes. He recently suffered from a vestibular episode – similar signs to a stroke but caused by the inner ear.
He vomited and was very wobbly on his feet and his eyes were flicking from side to side. These episodes are quite common in older, medium to large breed dogs. Thankfully affected dogs usually rapidly improve over a few days and eventually fully recover. Treatment involves antinausea medications, as they tend to feel very sick and sometimes drugs that improve blood circulation in the brain.
Sam’s diabetes complicated things a lot because he would vomit food back or not want to eat and we had to alter his dose of insulin daily to prevent his blood sugar dropping dangerously low. His owners were very worried about him and hugely relieved when after 5 days he was happily eating again.
He still has quite a severe head tilt but this will improve over the next few months and he should return to normal.
We check his blood glucose regularly and he always has a bit of chicken afterwards to reward him so he gets very excited and waggy when he sees us. He is a lovely boy and we are all very glad that he’s himself again.
Over the past year, Walter, a 13 year old Border collie with a fondness for chicken, has become one of our most popular visitors, gaining a place in the hearts of all the Kendal staff.
Walter has been a regular visitor to the practice since he was diagnosed with lymphoma (a type of cancer) a year ago.
Without treatment, this aggressive cancer would have rapidly made Walter very unwell and he would not have been expected to survive more than 6 weeks.
Thankfully, although it is not possible to cure lymphoma, many dogs respond well to treatment with chemotherapy. Our lymphoma patients experience few (if any) side effects and often live happy and normal lives whilst undergoing treatment.
Although chemotherapy may not be suitable for all cases, Walters’s family opted to try the treatment and happily Walter responded well.
Over the past year Walter has regularly attended the surgery for his chemotherapy sessions, quickly realising that chemotherapy comes with chicken. So maybe the vet’s isn’t so bad after all?
Despite the cancer returning recently, Walter still remains with us a year following his initial diagnosis and continues to enjoy a normal happy life, with his family.
It is Walters’s attitude, as well as his willingness to please, that has meant he has been awarded our very worthy brave pet of the month.
Monty is a typical happy, lively 2 year old Flat Coated Retriever who was brought into the surgery by his worried owners after he had eaten some of the children’s home made Easter decorations. Although Monty didn’t look unwell the owners reported that there were approximately 21 pins used in the decorations which were now missing!
Monty was admitted to the surgery and an x-ray taken of his stomach, which confirmed our suspicions. The pins could be seen quite clearly on the x-ray!
After discussion with the owner it was agreed that Monty would require an exploratory laparotomy to remove the pins. The surgery itself can have complications but the risk of leaving the pins to ‘pass through’ was even higher.
The operation took over an hour but luckily, the surgery went well, all the pins were removed and also a button! Monty recovered well after his operation and was able to go home the same day with strict instructions to watch what he ate!
Martha, an 8 week old very small Jack Russel pup was brought into us because she had suddenly become very lethargic and had diarrhoea.
On examination, she was very flat and had extremely pale (white) gums which should be a healthy pink colour. A blood test showed her red blood cells were at 5%, they should be 35% and she was critically ill. Here is a photo of her blood and a normal blood sample.
She was given an emergency blood transfusion and the next day she looked much brighter. She was put onto steroids – following our original diagnosis of autoimmune, and she is doing amazingly well.
We will reduce her steroids gradually and hopefully she’ll be fine. Here she is a week after her transfusion.
Cocoa is a bright and bouncy 11 year old chocolate Labrador. Her owners brought her in after they found a lump growing on her lip. A biopsy confirmed that she had a cancerous tumour. To prevent the cancer from spreading she underwent an operation to have a section of lip, including the tumour, removed.
Here she is 10 days post-surgery. She loves coming to the vets and it took several attempts to get a photo because she is gets so waggy and excited.