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Pet of the month – October – Sophie

by admin on October 3rd, 2017

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Sophie is recovering extremely well following the removal of a stick from her stomach using our new fibreoptic endoscope.

An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light source and camera at one end. Images of the inside of your body are relayed to a television screen.

Endoscopes can be inserted into the body through a natural opening, such as the mouth and down the throat, or through the bottom. An endoscope can also be inserted through a small cut (incision) made in the skin when keyhole surgery is being carried out.

Our three endoscopes range from one that is small enough to examine the nasal cavity to larger diameter ones for exploring the airways and gastrointestinal tract. It is amazing to be able to explore deep within the body yet with minimal trauma to the patient, and in this instance without the need for a surgical laparotomy to remove the stick. For Sophie this meant instant resolution.

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Pet of the Month – September 2017 – Lola

by admin on September 2nd, 2017

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We are delighted to report that Border Terrier Lola is recovering well from a procedure called gastrotomy in which an incision is made into the stomach under general anaesthesia.

Lola became unwell recently, quite out of the blue, and was in obvious abdominal pain. Medication was of little assistance so further investigation was undertaken. When a round opaque object was seen on radiographs of her abdomen an exploratory laparotomy was performed. A stone was located in and removed from her stomach.

Lola was a pleasure to look after and is now back to her former self as you can see in this picture.

Lola

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Pet of the Month – August 2017 – Harry

by admin on August 1st, 2017

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Pet of the Month this August is Harry, a handsome 7 year old German Shepherd Dog. We are delighted to report that he has recovered extremely well following recent surgery for Gastric Dilatation.

 

What is gastric-dilatation and volvulus (GDV)? Is my dog at risk?

Gastric dilatation and volvulus, or GDV as it is commonly abbreviated, is a relatively common clinical syndrome seen in large / giant breeds of dog. Dilatation refers to bloating of the stomach with gas, and volvulus refers to twisting of the stomach about its axis. The cause of this syndrome is not completely understood. In fact it is quite controversial which occurs first; the bloat or the volvulus (twisting). Indeed both components do not have to occur together and some patients will develop relatively simple bloat alone. GDV is a potentially life threatening condition and emergency veterinary attention should be sought immediately if it is suspected.

 

Why is GDV potentially life-threatening to dogs?

There are a number of serious and potentially fatal consequences that occur as a result of GDV. Initially the severe distension of the stomach stretches the blood vessels over its surface reducing the blood supply to the stomach walls. This is made worse by the twisting of the stomach which also twists the blood vessels, effectively shutting off blood supply to the stomach. A lack of blood flow means there is a lack of oxygen and nutrients delivered to the stomach and waste products are not removed. As with any organ this will result in parts of it dying. This process happens very quickly and in severe cases could result in part of the stomach wall rupturing and releasing its contents into the abdomen.

The large distended stomach occupies much more space inside the abdominal cavity and compresses surrounding structures. Severe distension puts pressure on the diaphragm and interferes with the patient’s ability to breath. It also applies pressure to a large blood vessel in the abdomen (the vena cava) that normally returns blood from the back half of the body to the heart. Pressure on this vessel obstructs flow therefore reducing the amount of blood returned. If blood can’t be returned to the heart, then it in turn can’t pump it out to the rest of the body. If there is insufficient blood being pumped, the blood pressure falls dramatically making the patient weak and potentially leading to collapse.

To add insult to injury, other organs in the body such as the lungs, kidneys, liver and intestines do not receive a blood supply and begin to fail. The lack of a functional circulation also means that toxic products build up in these organs that further compromise the patient. These changes can happen in a matter of hours, emphasizing the importance of early veterinary attention.

 

What are the symptoms of GDV in dogs?

The symptoms generally include obvious distension or enlargement of the abdomen with unproductive vomiting or retching. The patient may drool excessively and appear restless or agitated. As the condition progresses the patient may become increasingly weak or even develop shock and collapse.

 

What is the treatment for GDV?

The age and breed of the patient coupled with the clinical signs of a severely bloated abdomen will make your vet highly suspicious of this condition. They will immediately place one or more an intra-venous catheters to allow administration of fluids to support the circulation and dilute toxins in the blood. They may also analyse the patient’s blood to assess the severity of organ damage.

The next stage involves attempts to decompress the stomach. This is usually accomplished by passage of a specially designed tube through the mouth down into the stomach. There is a gag that can be used to assist in this process but many patients will require sedation or anaesthesia to complete the task. It can be very challenging or sometimes impossible to perform stomach tubing. This is particularly the case when the stomach is twisted 360 degrees or more. In this instance a cannula (tube) may have to be inserted through the body wall and into the stomach to allow deflation. Deflation is clearly an imperative step because it will relieve pressure on the diaphragm and help restore blood flow back to the heart through the vena cava.

Radiographs of the abdomen are often required to help distinguish between simple dilatation and dilatation with volvulus. In the latter case surgery will be required as soon as the patient is stabilised. The aim of the surgery is to de-rotate the stomach and assess it for areas of devitalisation. If there are areas of the stomach that have undergone necrosis (died), these need to be removed surgically.

It is vital that the stomach is attached to the inside of the body wall. This is called a gastropexy and it will prevent volvulus in the future. This is essential as up to three quarters of the patients that do not have this performed will have another episode in the future. This also applies to those patients suffering with bloat alone as they have the same risk.

 

What are the risk factors for GDV in dogs?

There are several factors that have been clearly demonstrated to increase an individual’s risk of developing this condition. These include:

  • Being a purebred large / giant breed
  • Having a deep and narrow chest conformation
  • Having a history of previous bloat
  • Having a history of bloat or GDV in a first degree relative (parent or sibling)
  • Increasing age
  • Having an aggressive or fearful temperament
  • Eating fewer meals per day
  • Eating rapidly
  • Being fed a food with small particle size
  • Exercising or stress after a meal

 

What breeds are predisposed to this condition?

The breeds most commonly affected are large purebred dogs that have a narrow deep chest confirmation. Those at most risk include:

  • Great Danes
  • Gordon setters
  • Irish setters
  • Weimaraners
  • St. Bernard’s
  • Standard poodles
  • Bassett hounds

Although these are the breeds we typically see GDV in, it is worthy to remember that it can happen in any patient.

What is the prognosis?

With improved understanding of the secondary consequences of GDV and excellent anaesthesia, surgical and post-operative care now available for veterinary patients a good prognosis can be achieved for this condition. Survival rates of 73-90% would be typical. There will always be a range quoted for survival because individual patient’s circumstances in terms of severity, age, general health and treatment received will have an impact on the outcome. One important factor that has been shown to decrease the survival is the presence of clinical signs for greater than six hours. This emphasizes the importance of prompt veterinary attention in all cases.

If you are in any doubt that your dog is suffering from bloat or GDV, please call your vet immediately.

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Pet of the Month – July 2017 – Henry

by admin on July 4th, 2017

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Our pet of the month is Henry who we are pleased to say has recovered fully from a severe bout of pancreatitis, which necessitated a period of hospitalisation.

 

What is pancreatitis?

The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen (tummy) which is responsible for releasing enzymes (types of proteins) to digest food. The pancreas also releases important hormones (such as insulin) into the bloodstream. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed (tender and swollen). In most cases pancreatitis occurs for no apparent underlying reason, although sometimes it can have a particular cause (such as scavenging food). Pancreatitis most commonly affects middle aged to older dogs, but in addition, dogs of certain breeds (e.g. Cocker Spaniels and Terrier breeds) are more prone to developing the condition.

 

What are the signs of pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from relatively mild signs (e.g. a reduced appetite) to very severe illness (e.g. multiple organ failure). The most common symptoms of pancreatitis include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain (highlighted by restlessness and discomfort) and diarrhoea.

 

How is pancreatitis diagnosed?

The possibility that a dog may be suffering from pancreatitis is generally suspected on the basis of the history (e.g. loss of appetite, vomiting) and the finding of abdominal pain on examination by the veterinary surgeon. Because many other diseases can cause these symptoms, both blood tests and an ultrasound scan of the abdomen are necessary to rule out other conditions and to reach a diagnosis of pancreatitis. Although routine blood tests can lead to a suspicion of pancreatitis, a specific blood test (called ‘canine pancreatic lipase’) needs to be performed to more fully support the diagnosis. An ultrasound scan is very important in making a diagnosis of pancreatitis. In addition, an ultrasound scan can also reveal some potential complications associated with pancreatitis (e.g. blockage of the bile duct from the liver as it runs through the pancreas).

 

How is pancreatitis treated?

There is no specific cure for pancreatitis, but fortunately, most dogs recover with appropriate supportive treatment. Supportive measures include giving an intravenous drip (to provide the body with necessary fluid and salts) and the use of medications which combat nausea and pain. Most dogs with pancreatitis need to be hospitalised to provide treatment and to undertake necessary monitoring, but patients can sometimes be managed with medication at home if the signs are not particularly severe. At the other extreme, dogs that are very severely affected by pancreatitis need to be given intensive care.

One of the most important aspects of treating pancreatitis is to ensure that the patient receives sufficient appropriate nutrition while the condition is brought under control. This can be very difficult because pancreatitis causes a loss of appetite. In this situation, it may be necessary to place a feeding tube which is passed into the stomach, and through which nutrition can be provided (see Information Sheet on Feeding Tubes). If a dog with pancreatitis is not eating and will not tolerate a feeding tube (e.g. due to vomiting), intravenous feeding (using a drip to supply specially formulated nutrients straight into the bloodstream) may be necessary.

 

What is the outcome in pancreatitis?

It may be necessary for dogs with pancreatitis to be hospitalised for several days, but fortunately, most patients with the condition go on to make a complete recovery, provided that appropriate veterinary and nursing care is provided. In some instances, dogs can suffer repeated bouts of the condition (called ‘chronic pancreatitis’) and this may require long term management with dietary manipulation at the forefront.

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Pet of the Month – June 2017 – Louie

by admin on June 1st, 2017

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This June our Pet of the Month is Louie.

Almost 3 years ago he was discovered to have Atrioventricular Insufficiency (AVVI) during a routine investigation for an episode of acute pain, and has been managing very well since that time with appropriate medication.

 

Overview

AVVI is a degenerative disease that damages heart valve leaflets as it progresses. This damage prevents heart valves from closing properly, allowing blood to leak backward into the atrium. This leakage eventually results in a heart murmur detectable via auscultation with a stethoscope. Valve leakage impairs cardiac function and circulation, ultimately leading to congestive heart failure (CHF).

Estimates indicate that 10% of all dogs seen in primary care veterinary practices have heart disease.  As dogs age, the prevalence of heart disease reaches more than 60%.

AVVI, the most frequent cause of CHF in dogs, is a slowly progressing disease. The prevalence of this disease gradually increases with age. AVVI affects:

    • 10% of dogs 5 to 8 years of age
    • 20% to 25% of dogs 9 to 12 years of age
    • 30% to 35% of dogs over age 13 years

This increase is especially dramatic in small breeds, with up to 85% showing evidence of valvular lesions by 13 years of age.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WsT-iKe5vo

AVVI occurs most often in small- to medium-sized breeds of dogs.  Breeds most susceptible to AVVI include the Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Miniature Pinscher, Miniature and Toy Poodle, Pekingese, and Pomeranian.  Ultimately, all small breed dogs are at risk for CHF due to AVVI.

 

Management

When it comes to managing canine congestive heart failure (CHF) with the goal of improving and extending life, time matters. Though the early stages of heart disease can progress slowly, once clinical signs appear, immediate treatment is needed.

In fact results of recent longterm studies show that the early administration of appropriate medication to dogs with mitral valve disease who have echocardiographic and radiographic evidence of cardiomegaly (heart enlargement) results in prolongation of the preclinical period (period before any illness is evident) by approximately 15 months, which represents substantial clinical benefit.

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Pet of the Month – May 2017 – Bob

by admin on May 1st, 2017

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Bob is one of many cats we attend who suffers from IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).

IBD is not a single disease but a group of chronic gastrointestinal disorders caused by an infiltration of inflammatory cells into the walls of a cat’s gastrointestinal tract. The infiltration of cells thickens the wall of the gastrointestinal tract and disrupts the intestine’s ability to function properly. IBD occurs most often in middle-aged and older cats.

 

How is IBD diagnosed?

Symptoms of feline IBD are not specific. They may include vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, lethargy and variable appetite. The symptoms of IBD can vary depending on the area of the digestive tract affected.A definitive diagnosis of feline IBD can only be made based on a microscopical evaluation of tissue collected by means of an intestinal (or gastric) biopsy.

 

How is IBD treated?

The treatment of IBD usually involves a combination of change in diet and the use of various medications. There is no single best treatment for IBD in cats. Your veterinarian may need to try several different combinations to determine the best therapy for your cat.

Hypoallergenic diets are usually tried first. Corticosteroids like prednisolone may be used to reduce inflammation of the gut. Antibiotics such as metronidazole are commonly used.

 

What does the future hold for a cat with IBD?

IBD is a chronic disease. Few cats are actually cured. Symptoms of IBD may wax and wane over time. IBD can often be controlled such that affected cats are healthy and comfortable. Vigilant monitoring by the veterinarian and owner is critical.

We are very pleased to report that Bob has responded well to dietary management and is currently not requiring additional medication. Luckily he is not adept at hunting and so we have no fear that he might upset the illness through illicit snacks!

Bob

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Pet of the Month – April 2017 – Diarmuid

by admin on April 1st, 2017

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Meet Diarmuid a handsome six month old flat coated retriever. Diarmuid has Distichiasis (‘extra eyelashes’).

Distichiasis is a common condition in dogs. It occurs when eyelashes are abnormally positioned and emerge too close to the eyelid margin.

Distichiasis can occur in any breed of dog but is most commonly seen in the American Cocker and Cocker Spaniel, Miniature and Longhaired Dachshund, Bulldog and Weimeraner breeds.

 

What are the signs of distichiasis?

In many dogs the extra eyelashes do not cause a problem, but in some cases they can rub the surface of the eye and cause irritation. The most common signs that you will notice are increased blinking/squinting of the eye, increased watering, and redness of the ‘white’ of the eye.

 

What are the treatment options for distichiasis?

Distichiasis only requires treatment if the hairs are causing irritation, conjunctivitis or corneal ulceration. There are a number of treatment options:

  • Ocular lubricants. In mild cases of distichiasis, daily use of a lubricating gel such as Viscotears, Geltears or Lacrilube may be sufficient to soften the hairs and reduce their irritation. Lifelong treatment will be required.
  • Plucking.   Sometimes the extra eyelashes can be plucked using special epilation forceps. This is particularly useful when there are only a few long hairs present. However, because the hairs will grow back after a few weeks, regular and lifelong treatment will be needed.
  • Electrolysis. Under general anaesthesia, a fine electrode is inserted into each hair follicle and a current is applied to permanently destroy the hair follicle. Once the hair follicle is destroyed the distichia cannot regrow. However, because only those hairs that happen to be present at the time of treatment can be identified and removed, new hairs may emerge at a later date and also cause irritation. The success rate of electrolysis per treatment is around 70-80%. The procedure can be repeated a number of times if necessary. Rarely, electrolysis can cause some scarring and depigmentation of the eyelids, but this is not usually severe.
  • Cryotherapy. This technique may be useful when many hairs are present. Under general anaesthesia, a probe is applied to the inner surface of the eyelid in the region of the hair follicles. Via this probe, the eyelid is frozen to destroy the hair follicles. The technique can cause some scarring and depigmentation of the eyelids. This procedure may also need to be repeated, and has a similar success rate to electolysis.
  • Surgery. Excision of a very small portion of the eyelid margin from which the distichia are growing.

As the few distichia do not appear to be bothering Diarmuid’s eyes excessively, artificial tears are being used alone at present. Should the distichiasis become more of a problem then intervention along one of the lines described above will be necessary

Diarmuid

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Pet of the Month – March 2017 – Prince

by admin on March 1st, 2017

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Our pet of the month this March is a delightful and photogenic Pomeranian puppy called Prince.

Prince had to have his right foot X-rayed after he jumped off a bed and landed awkwardly. Unfortunately, in the process he fractured all the toes of his right paw and was unable to bear weight on it.

Following surgery to stabilise the fractures using small metal pins we are really pleased to report Prince is making good progress and hopefully will be back to normal very soon.

Pet of the month - Prince - March 2017

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Pet of the Month – February 2017 – Hadley

by admin on February 1st, 2017

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Hadley has featured in this column before and his return to this newsletter is to highlight the need for vigilance in respect of skin tumours. Hadley suffers from a very serious form of skin cancer called a Mast Cell Tumour (MCT), and he is recovering very well following surgery to remove yet another recurrence. MCT can be very deceptive as they often start as small bumps which may remain static for many months before growing larger. It can be extremely difficult to contain, frequently recurs and may be life threatening.

MCT is the most common skin tumour in dogs; it can also affect other areas of the body, including the spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and bone marrow. MCT represent a cancer of a type of blood cell normally involved in the body’s response to allergens and inflammation. Certain dogs are predisposed to MCT, including brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds such as Boston Terriers, Boxers, Pugs, and Bulldogs, as well as retriever breeds, though any breed of dog can develop MCT.

When they occur on the skin, MCT varies widely in appearance. They can be a raised lump or bump on or just under the skin, and may be red, ulcerated, or swollen. In addition, many owners will report a waxing and waning size of the tumour, which can occur spontaneously or can be produced by agitation of the tumour, causing degranulation. Mast cells contain granules filled with substances which can be released into the bloodstream and potentially cause systemic problems, including stomach ulceration and bleeding, swelling and redness at and around the tumour site, and potentially life-threatening complications, such as a dangerous drop in blood pressure and a systemic inflammatory response leading to shock.

When MCT occur on the skin, they can occur anywhere on the body. The biological behaviour of these tumours can vary widely; some may be present for many months without growing much, while others can appear suddenly and grow very quickly. The most common sites of MCT spread (metastasis) are the lymph nodes, spleen and liver.

Diagnosis can be simply achieved via a fine needle aspirate. This requires no anesthesia and only rarely sedation. Early identification and surgical removal are key to the most favourable outcomes however aggressive forms may require radical surgery and necessitate referral to a specialist cancer referral centre.

Hadley initially found the operation sites to be very itchy after surgery, something not uncommon with MCT. After removing a few of his own sutures Hadley was given additional medication, resutured and had to wear a full body suit! We are pleased to report he is making very good progress.

Hadley Pet of the month Feb 2017

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Pet of the Month – January 2017 – Sophia

by admin on January 3rd, 2017

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Sophia Pug Pet of the month for January is Sophia, an 11-year-old Pug. She is seen here in post-op recovery having just had an ovariohysterectomy to treat a condition called pyometra.

Pyometra is an infection of the uterus (womb).  It is a common condition in older female dogs that have not been spayed but can occur in un-spayed dogs of any age.  Occasionally we see cases occurring in cats.

What causes pyometra?

Each time a female dog has a season (usually about twice a year) she undergoes all the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy – whether she becomes pregnant or not. The changes in the uterus that occur during each season making infection more likely with age.  A very common organism called E. coli, found in your dog’s faeces, usually causes the infection.  We most commonly see cases of pyometra in the 4-6week period after a heat.  Injections with some hormones to stop seasons or for the treatment of other conditions can also increase the risk of pyometra developing.

 

What are the signs of pyometra?

Pyometra is of course, only seen in females (since males do not have a uterus). It is more common in older females (above 6 years of age) but can be seen at any age. The signs usually develop around 6 weeks after the female has finished bleeding from her last season, but in some cases, the bitch appears to have a prolonged season.

 

Early signs that you may notice are that your dog is:

  • Licking her back end more than normal
  • Off colour
  • Off her food
  • Drinking more than normal  (and will probably urinate more)

 

These signs will progress and you may see:

  • Pus (yellow/red/brown discharge) from her vulva
  • She may have a swollen abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

If left untreated signs will worsen to the point of dehydration, collapse and death from septic shock.

 

Diagnosis

Your vet will probably suspect your dog has a pyometra based on your description of the signs and from their examination of your pet.  They may suggest procedures such as ultrasound and blood tests confirm the diagnosis, rule out other possible causes and to check that your pet is well enough to undergo treatment.

 

Treatment

The treatment of choice for pyometra is surgery to remove the uterus as soon as possible.  The operation is essentially the same as a routine spay, however, there is more risk involved and a higher chance of complications when the operation is being carried out on a sick pet. Your dog will also be given intravenous fluids (a drip), antibiotics and pain relief.

Most dogs will make a full recovery after treatment for a pyometra if the condition is caught early.  Spaying your dog before she develops a pyometra will prevent this condition occurring.

We are delighted to report that Sophia has made a full recovery after surgery.

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