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
Chime was heavily pregnant and fed up, she felt terrible. Her owner had been watching her closely and trying to convince her to eat but Chime wasn't having any of it. So she was packaged up and taken off to see Katherine the vet. Poor Chime was very dehydrated and weak, so onto a drip she went and blood tests were taken. Tests showed that Chime was severely anaemic but for now she was stable, so Katherine went off to the vets’ clinical meeting.
However, come 10pm there was a surprise waiting when she headed back for late checks; Chime had started giving birth prematurely. Katherine donned her midwife hat and put the kettle on; it was going to be a long night! By morning Chime was completely exhausted but she had three live kittens. She was doing her best to nurse and care for them but she was too weak so the decision was made to hand rear them. Convinced that Chime still had more kittens inside, Katherine performed an ultrasound. It was amazing, there was a kitten and against all the odds it was still alive, its little beating heart could clearly be seen. Chime was too weak to give birth naturally so the hard decision was made to take her to surgery for a caesarean. Incredibly she took the surgery in her stride and had an uneventful anaesthetic and recovery. An oesophageal feeding tube was also placed so that nutrition could be given to Chime who was still refusing to eat. The new kitten was taken home by Katherine, with its brothers and sisters, so that feeds could be given frequently throughout the night.
The next morning Chime was even weaker still, her anaemia was now life threatening, if she was going to pull through she needed a blood transfusion. Chime’s owner suggested using “Chudley”, a very handsome strapping male Siamese, who was Chime’s son from a previous litter. They were both blood typed and, very luckily, were a match. Chudley was lightly sedated for the blood donation but he was so good he hardly needed it; in fact he was a total hero throughout!
Chime was started on her blood transfusion and monitored very closely by Claire and Heather. The transfusion went like a dream and the difference in Chime was instantaneous: she went from a depressed, non-moving, non-caring feline to a walking, shouting feline in 4 hours! Chime stayed in hospital for the following few days, having regular tube feeds and lots of cuddles and love, each day we saw a very slight improvement.
Chime was then discharged and her amazing owner took up her care (as well as hand rearing Chime’s four kittens!). Over the following weeks Chime gradually started eating again and slowly her strength returned. We removed her feeding tube when she was eating normally. Her anaemia is also slowly resolving and she is now being a mother to the kittens again.
The exact cause of Chime’s anaemia remains a mystery to this day. We are all so chuffed that she is doing so well with the treatment she has been given. Chudley also deserves a special mention because he truly saved his Mum’s life!
Congratulations Chime on being September’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