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
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!
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 Ltd
Unit 7-8, Brownlow Street Arcade
Sat 8.30am - 12.20pm
Leonard Brothers Veterinary Centre Ltd
501 Crewe Road
Opening summer 2019
Leonard Brothers Veterinary Centre Ltd
Unit 2, Nantwich Trade Park
Beam Heath Way