Here's an update on a lovely little doggy with a hear that skips a beat when it sees me. To be fair, it skips a beat when it sees anyone because it has a heart condition that interferes with the rhythm of it's heart.
Betty was a normal little active 8 month old Cross-breed pup charging around as normal but one evening last April she suddenly collapsed at home and almost passed out. Her owners contacted us straight away and rushed her down to the surgery....
During the evening of Monday 16th January, a very sick Labrador named Clover was rushed to the Whitchurch branch of Leonard Brothers Veterinary Centre, as a suspected road traffic accident. She was so weak she was carried into the practice by her owner, unable to stand and struggling to breathe and had blood coming out of her nose. Clover was attended to immediately. Many tests were carried out and it became apparent that it was unlikely that she had been involved in a road traffic accident but more likely that she had consumed rat poison.
Rat bait acts as an anticoagulant (prevents the blood from clotting) by depleting the body's supply of vitamin K. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin which is essential in the formation of clotting factors in the blood stream. Signs of intoxication are associated with bleeding and can range from very subtle signs such as tiny bleeds on the gums to frank bleeding from anywhere. Normal everyday movement results in micro damage to blood vessels at the capillary level. When the body's clotting mechanism is working properly, these damages are repaired immediately without us being aware of it.
Clover had lost the ability for her blood to clot at all and for Clover even breathing was becoming more difficult despite being on Oxygen. An ultrasound scan of her chest was performed and it was found that Clover was bleeding into her chest.
Clover was in need of some clotting factors fast. Fresh blood was required, as once blood is frozen for more than 6 months the clotting factors in the blood have diminished, and it was these that were needed to save Clover. Clover would not start producing her own again for 24hours.
We’d tried a couple of the dogs registered as donors at the practice but there was no joy, it was past 11pm by this point. That’s where my boy Alfie stepped in. A rescue Staffy who didn’t have the best start in life. Being rescued from a boarded up house after his previous owner had been sent to prison, but he’s a lovely boy who loves everyone and always aims to please. But it wasn’t all rosy, blood donors are supposed to be over 25kg, but Alfie only weighed 23kg. Under the circumstances he was our only option.
I rushed home and got him out of bed, and returned him to the vets where he had a blood test to check he was healthy enough to give blood. His blood group was tested, he was DEA 1.1 negative, the same as Clover.
The equipment was sorted out ready for the blood donation, and for those of you that have given blood, it’s very similar to human donations. Alfie sat on the table, and the rather large needle was put into Alfie’s jugular vein, and Alfie didn’t move! The blood began to flow and the bag was filling, Alfie was a star, he had to stay very still as any movement could have meant that the needle may have come out of the vein. But he did it, he gave enough blood to help Clover.
Once the bag was filled the rate was calculated for Clover’s weight and it was connected to an IV catheter in Clover’s leg. The transfusion began. Clover needed to be monitored intensely at this stage in case she had a reaction, but she did really well. She was monitored for the next 4 hours until the transfusion was complete. Alfie at this point was very grateful for the big bowl of food he received after his donation and was ready to go back to bed!
At this time of year, whilst enjoying the great outdoors, one of the most common problems we see with our furry friends is the intrusion of grass seeds.
Talbot is a gorgeous 4 month old Cocker Spaniel who had parvovirus. Because he is such a superstar we wanted to share his story with you. Talbot first started with sickness and just being “off colour” about a week ago. At first he did not seem too bad, so was treated like he had a straight forward sickness bug. However 24 hours later it was obvious that he was a very poorly boy....
Max is a 14 year 10 month old doggie who is a regular here for his monthly cartrophen injections to help with his joints and mobility. As part of these appointments he gets a full health check every time he comes in and it was at one such health check we first noticed that he seemed uncomfortable in his abdomen and palpated a lump.
He came in the next day for a scan and x-rays to ascertain what the mass was attached to. It appeared to be his spleen. The worry with splenic masses is that they can rupture and cause a big bleed into the dogs abdomen which can be fatal, or that the mass may be cancerous and unfortunately there are some very aggressive types of splenic tumour which are fairly common.
After chatting through our findings with his owners, we decided to go ahead with an exploratory laparotomy which is an operation to look inside his abdomen and hopefully remove the mass.
During the operation his spleen (which was enormous and lumpy!) was removed and the rest of his abdomen checked to make sure it looked normal. Max's liver also looked slightly unusual so it was biopsied and sent of for histology along with the lumps from the spleen.
Max was very brave and made a good recovery. It took him a couple of days to get his appetite back after the operation but since then he hasn't looked back. We all had to nervously await the results from the lab and when they arrived everyone was relieved to here that the lumps were benign (not cancerous)! Great news!
Having a surgery like Max did would be a big deal in a patient half his age, but he yet again shows that with the right care and dedication, surgeries on senior patients really are possible and can be associated with an excellent outcome.
Due to Max being so brave and his brilliant recovery for a senior doggie we have decided to make Max our 'Patient of the Month' for December.
Herbie is usually a very handsome black and white cat but on the morning of the 11th August he had definitely lost some of his usual good looks. He was rushed down to us because his very caring and dedicated owner had noticed he was breathing funny. By the time he arrived at the practice he was panting and in serious distress. He was immediately put in an oxygen tent and left to calm down. Cats are very fragile when they are in respiratory distress and need very gentle handling. Over the next 15 minutes his breathing rate decreased from 120 to 60 and Katherine felt it was safe to examine him. His chest sounded terrible, his gums were pale and he was clearly very ill indeed.
A small amount of sedation was given and an x-ray was taken of his chest. This showed Herbie had a pleural effusion (fluid around his lungs) which needed draining as soon as possible so that his lungs could start inflating properly again. The whole team went to work, the nurses clipped up and scrubbed the side of his chest, Katherine scrubbed her hands and we all wondered what the fluid was going to be. A small needle was inserted into his chest, Herbie was still slightly sedated and on oxygen so he didn't mind at all. The fluid we got out surprised us all – pus! Herbie had a “pyothorax”. This is where pus accumulates in the chest, it is a rare condition and can be caused by several things. It is still not clear what the underlying cause was in Herbie.
Herbie really was very ill, and he was going to need serious intensive care to get through this. His owner wanted us to do everything we could so we went ahead with life saving treatment. He was started on intravenous fluids, a chest drain was placed so that all the pus could be drained and his chest “flushed” with sterile saline. A feeding tube was placed as there was no way that he was going to feel like eating. He was also started on pain killers and a combination of three antibiotics. His blood tests showed that this infection was very close to over whelming him and we had only just got to him in time. We all worked very hard over the following days and nights, Herbie was a true team effort.
Herbie was a simply amazing patient, he took everything in his stride. It took about 48 hours for him to start showing a good response to treatment. He stayed in hospital for a total of 8 days then went home, still on antibiotics but his chest drain had been removed. He came back in on the 24th of August for reassessment and more chest x-rays. They were amazing, his chest looked more or less normal and his blood results were completely unremarkable. We were all chuffed to bits.
Herbie is due to finish his antibiotics in the next few days which should (we all hope!) bring this whole episode to a close. He will always remain a special patient to the staff at LBVC. Well done Herbie, you are a truly amazing feline person.
Betty is a 10 year old diabetic cat. He was diagnosed with diabetes in October last year and has been having twice daily insulin injections ever since. Diabetic cats are very special and can go into “diabetic remission”, this means that if the diabetes is well managed cats can recover and be cured of their diabetes.
Betty was at home one evening, he had his insulin as normal then went out for a night on the tiles as usual. What we had not realised is that he was starting to go into remission. The next morning Betty was discovered lying outside in the freezing cold, crying out and trembling uncontrollably. His Dad rushed him straight into us.
Luckily when Betty arrived at the practice Katherine was free (well she was drinking her morning brew but as she is a very dedicated vet she put this down and rushed to see Betty). He was in a state; he was so cold we could not get a temperature reading, he was trembling, randomly meowing and was very disorientated. He was started on warmed intravenous fluids and surrounded by heat mats, blankets and beanies in a attempt to warm him up. Hypothermia like this is life threatening and Betty was in an extremely critical state. It was still unclear was what had caused him to collapse in the first place – had he been hit by a car, or eaten something toxic or was he having a hypoglycaemic crisis?
Blood tests showed that Betty's blood glucose was normal at first but as we warmed him up it starting dropping to dangerously low levels. So he was started on a special drip with glucose in it.
It took three hours of intensive warming and monitoring for Betty's temperature and blood glucose to be back within the normal range. During this time Betty transformed back into his normal self, he stopped trembling and vocalising and he seemed much more aware of his surroundings. Within 5 hours of being admitted he was up and about, eating and drinking as normal, like nothing had ever happened! That evening he was discharged from hospital and went home.
The reason for Betty's collapse was that he had started going into diabetic remission. Owning a diabetic cat is hard work and takes a lot of care and dedication. Cats are so much more subtle than dogs, so early warning signs of a hypo episode can easily be missed. Betty is still diabetic now although he is only on a tiny dose of insulin. He is simply a gorgeous boy who has a true desire to live!
Congratulations Betty the Boy on being our patient of the month for March
Jess was usually a typically nutty Boxer dog, but over the last couple of weeks she had been feeling distinctly under the weather. Food just wasn't on her mind and anything that went down was coming straight back up so it was time to go and see the vet.
Sarah took one look at Jess and knew she wasn't right. Her tail was still trying to wag but all four legs were on the floor rather than bouncing around like usual and she thought she could feel a lump in her tummy.
Jess was admitted for some blood tests, x-rays and put on a drip. Her blood tests were nice and normal other than dehydration so this was a relief. The x-ray didn't show any evidence of a foreign body...so what was this lump?
Sarah and Andy scanned Jess and could see it but couldn't tell exactly what it was attached to, so it was decided that Jess needed an exploratory laparotomy to see what and where this mass was and hopefully to remove it.
The following day Jess was operated on and the mass (which looked like a weird jellyfish!) was found to be in the middle of the jejunum (part of the small intestine), which meant Sarah could perform an end to end anastomosis (cut the mass out and suture the two ends of the intestine back together) to completely remove the mass with good margins.
With this type of surgery there is always a risk the sutures could break down and the patient could develop peritonitis, so even if the surgery goes well, everyone has to hold their breath until at least 5 days after the operation when the risk of this happening is much reduced.
After a rocky first night, Jess did brilliantly and the following day she was eating, bouncing and generally ready to go home.
The histology confirmed the mass was a type of cancer but as Sarah managed to remove the whole tumour, the prognosis is very good and we hope the surgery will have been curative.
She has recovered completely and after being so brave we are pleased to make her January's Patient of the Month!
Baloo woke up and was feeling rough. He felt weak and standing up was far too much effort. His eye and cheek hurt and when he caught sight of it he looked like he'd gone 4 rounds with Mike Tyson, but he didn't remember it at all. Mum offered him some breakfast but despite his inner Labrador self, he just couldn't face it.
A trip to see the vets was called for.
Sarah had a look at him and was worried. His gums were white and he was coughing. When she listened to his chest it sounded loud and crackly. He had a swollen cheek and he had a haematoma in the conjunctiva so it was difficult to see his eye but no one knew why this had happened.
The main thing we were worried about was where had his blood gone all of a sudden?!
To start with he had some blood tests to try and figure out what had happened. There wasn't much wrong with the bloods other than a low PCV (packed cell volume) which meant he was definitely severely anaemic.
There are a few things that can cause a dog to become anaemic but only a few that cause their blood to stop clotting and we suspected that Baloo had a clotting disorder given the excessive injury on his face with no history of trauma.
A clotting disorder is something that can occur for various reasons that prevents an animal's blood from clotting as normal. This means they can bleed a lot from what would normally be fairly minor injury and eventually they can bleed to death.
Lung worm infection can cause clotting disorders as well as a cough so this was one of the first things we ruled out. We ran a test for this which came back negative.
Next, we xrayed Baloo to find out why his chest sounded so terrible. On the xray we could see that his trachea (wind pipe) looked very narrow which can be a sign of rodenticide poisoning (rat bait poisoning).
Baloo hadn't knowingly eaten anything unusual but we were concerned that maybe he had been helping himself to things he shouldn't have been (he is a Labrador after all!).
Even though Baloo's owners didn't think he could have had access to any, sometimes when dogs go roaming across fields and getting into mischief they may accidentally find rat bait that other people have left out. Unfortunately, I think Baloo had been one of the unlucky dogs that had done this and it was likely he had been getting access to it for a while.
Vitamin K is the treatment for rodenticide poisoning so we dosed Baloo up with lots of it but it takes some time to work. It was getting touch and go whether he would have any blood left by the time the medicine started to work so we decided we needed to step in and help him out.
Peaches, our Vet Nurse Heather's dog stepped up to the rescue as she was a suitable blood type for Baloo. She came in and we took 350ml of her blood and then slowly transfused it into Baloo.
Although he had the transfusion very slowly over about 4 hours, his temperature started to rise and he still looked very poorly. We were all very worried about him.
A few hours later, once the transfusion had stopped Baloo started to feel like himself again. He snoozed overnight and by the morning felt like a new dog, tail wagging and appetite back.
He went home that evening, still on the vitamin K tablets and had to be very careful not to bump himself for a few days so lots of rest and relaxation was on the cards.
After a rodenticide poisoning the Vitamin K tablets have to be continued for a long time, about 2-4 weeks depending on the type of rat poison they have eaten. As we don't know which poison Baloo had we sent off some blood to the lab so that they could tell us how long to continue with treatment for.
When Baloo came back in for his recheck a few days later, he was bouncing off the walls and looked unrecognisable to the collapsed, poorly dog that first came in to see us. It was great to see him back to his usual happy self.
Because he was such a fighter Baloo has been crowned October's patient of the Month!
A Big Thank You...
...to all our patient's owners who gave their kind permission to share their stories
Sat 8.30am - 12.20pm
Leonard Brothers Veterinary Centre
501 Crewe Road
Sat 8.30am - 12.20pm
Leonard Brothers Veterinary Centre
Unit 7-8 Brownlow Street Arcade