Patient of the Week 26 August
This week’s Patient of the Week is Foxy, a mare owned by Katie who came to us last January to see our world-renowned Head of Clinical Orthopaedics, Dr Sue Dyson, when a mystery lameness wasn’t improving.
Katie said, “Foxy’s a tough little character and even at her worst she was only showing very subtle signs of lameness. We were struggling to get to the bottom of the problem, so at the recommendation of my vet I decided to bring her to see Sue Dyson at the AHT.”
Within three days Sue had a diagnosis for Foxy and Katie – poor Foxy had extensive damage to both hind suspensory ligaments and a bruised pedal bone in her left fore. After much discussion, it was decided a double neurectomy (the surgical removal of all or part of a nerve) was the best option, and while Foxy was recovering this would also allow the left fore to heal on its own.
“The girls on the yard were fab during Foxy’s stay at the AHT, they spoke to me every night to assure me that Foxy was well and happy. Three days after her operation, I was able to come and pick Foxy up and take her home to continue her recovery, and my own vet took over from Sue.”
The road to recovery for Foxy was a long one, starting with total box rest and then an in hand daily walk – which Katie increased by 5 minutes every week until eventually they were walking for an hour and a half in hand daily! “As you can imagine this was far too long to walk in circles in the manege so very soon I was known in the village as the crazy lady who walked her horse rather than rode her!”
In November, Katie was finally able to get back on Foxy and she’s now back in a normal amount of work. Katie said, “There’s still a long way to go and I have to be careful about what surfaces I put her on but she’s happy and enjoying all of her work.”
We’re so pleased to see that Katie’s perseverance and Foxy’s resilience has paid off, with Foxy continuing her showing career this summer having competed at Equifest and Midarc.
Patient of the Week 19 August
This week’s Patient of the Week is Caspar. Caspar has had a long battle with illness, and although he’s not completely out of the woods, his owners, Bob and Pauline Scott, and his vet, Yordan, at the AHT, are so pleased with his progress that we had to share his story with you.
Caspar is an eight year old Italian Spinone who, according to his family, is the biggest puppy in the world. Rehomed three years ago via Spinone Rescue, he joined the Scott family and their other two Spinones, Louie and Russo, and is normally full of beans.
A few months ago Caspar started to slow down during walks and to limp on his left hind leg. Initial tests indicated he had cruciate damage and a small amount of arthritis, and he seemed to improve with pain relief. In June Caspar’s condition got a lot worse and he was referred to the AHT to see a neurologist as he was now experiencing shaking in his right hind leg.
A thorough neurological examination was performed but it was suspected that Caspar was in fact suffering from a serious medical issue, so Caspar’s case was handed over to Yordan in the AHT’s Internal Medicine Department. Yordan ran various blood tests and conducted an ultrasound and found that Caspar had an unidentified mass on his spleen and a large aortic thrombosis, which was compromising his hind legs.
The Scott family were prepared for the worst as Caspar was admitted for further tests to establish if the mass, which had the potential to rupture, was benign and to monitor the thrombosis, which is uncommon in dogs. Caspar’s kidney function was also monitored as it was suspected to be the cause of the aortic thrombosis.
The next day Caspar was operated on to remove the spleen and to take a kidney biopsy. Thankfully, the operation was a success and after four days on the AHT’s recovery ward Caspar was well enough to return home. Caspar was put on a strict renal diet and different medication to help his kidneys which were excreting too much protein due to a condition called protein-losing nephropathy.
It therefore was crucial to get Caspar over the operation and to treat the kidney disease, which had caused the aortic thrombosis. However, a week later Caspar started to go off his food. Further tests confirmed that he had an infection and revealed he had developed a new blood clot at the entrance of one of his kidneys. Caspar was hospitalised again and he pulled through. After four days the infection was under control but Caspar still lacked any appetite. It was suspected that he might be depressed, so he was discharged to see if he would eat at home.
A very frail and tired dog, Caspar was relieved to sleep once again alongside his pals, Louie and Russo, and gradually regained his appetite. Pauline worked hard and tried a variety of foods to tempt Caspar to eat and he eventually regained his appetite! Caspar seemed to be improving, but the blood clot was still an issue. Further tests showed Caspar was still losing protein from his kidneys, but Yordan was pleased with Caspar’s improvement and started Caspar on immune suppressants to stop his immune system from attacking his kidneys and lower the amount of protein that they were losing.
Right now Caspar is walking well, putting on weight and has a zest for life again, but it is crucial that the protein being excreted from his kidneys is controlled to prevent the formation of further clots. It’s been a long battle for Caspar, with several ups and downs, but the Scott family – and everyone in the internal medicine department – have everything crossed for him.
Pauline said: “It’s been three, long months of anxiety, in and out of the AHT, and a rare and challenging set of illnesses. There have been several moments where we really thought we would lose our beloved Caspar, but he is better now than he has been for months. Watching Caspar romping around in the fields behind our house is a sight we thought we would never see again!
“Yordan and the team have been absolutely amazing and we can’t thank them enough for all their hard work and for getting us this far. Thank you all, our fingers are crossed for the future.”
If your horse, dog or cat have been treated at the AHT and you'd like us to share their story as Patient of the Week, please email us at email@example.com.
Patient of the Week 13 August
This week’s Patient of the Week is Earl, a very sweet ten-year-old Border Terrier. Earl has a new found lease of life after receiving treatment for his cataracts.
Before, Earl was completely blind in both eyes and his owners, Nick and Nikki, noticed him becoming more and more withdrawn every day. Earl was losing weight, losing confidence, and he no longer wanted to venture outside, play with his brother, Red, or enjoyed his favourite spot on his bean bag which overlooked the back garden.
Earl, a dog who has always been so full of life, was becoming a very sad and withdrawn little dog. Expecting to hear that Earl’s loss of eyesight was due to his age, Nick and Nikki sought advice from their family vet, who diagnosed Earl with cataracts and recommended referring Earl to the Animal Health Trust to see if cataract removal was an option. After researching what was involved, Nick and Nikki decided to follow their vet’s advice. They were immediately at ease with the way Earl was received at the AHT and a series of tests were conducted to check if Earl was suitable for treatment.
Thankfully, there was hope for Earl and he was suitable for surgery on both eyes to remove the cataracts, however Nick and Nikki opted to just have one eye operated on, preserving the other eye in case the operation was unsuccessful. They had read research that showed dogs adapt extremely well to just having vision in one eye, and felt that was the right option for Earl.
Rachael Grundon, pictured far left, in our Ophthalmology team, was able to successfully restore Earl’s vision in one eye, and, twenty months later, Earl is still doing brilliantly. He is once again playing with Red and his new brother, George, is back in his bean bag, and has clean bill of health from Rachael and the team.
Nikki said: “The Animal Health Trust have taken such great care of Earl; we have always felt like Rachael and the team have treated Earl like their own family, giving him encouragement, love, cuddles, and, of course, Earl’s favourite, biscuits!
From the first appointment, the AHT have always kept us informed, alleviated any concerns, and are always there to personally support us 24-7. We cannot express how grateful we are to see Earl back to his usual bouncy self.”
Nikki is so pleased with the transformation in Earl’s health that she’s decided to run her first competitive 10k on Sunday 30th August, having only taken up running recently, to raise vital funds for the AHT.
So far Nikki has raised over £1,000 and there’s still a few weeks to go until she hits the streets of Norwich to complete the Run Norwich event, 10k in and around the city centre.
“I am fundraising for the AHT to give something back in return for bringing Earl back to us, and to help bring hope to other animals and their owners." she said.
"Seven weeks ago I started my training plan and so far I’ve run over 100km in total (more than 64 miles!). I’ve been training in soaring temperatures and in torrential rain. A battle of both endurance and mental strength, and a few injuries along the way, I’m feeling fighting fit and I hope to finish the run in just under 60 minutes.
"More importantly, however, Earl and I have raised a fantastic amount for the Animal Health Trust so far, and hope our story continues to inspire others to donate.”
To sponsor Nikki, and support the AHT, please click here
Patient of the Week 5 August
Gizzy began her life in Turkey, where her owners, Anna and Chris, adopted her as a young stray cat who kept visiting them for food and had become good friends with their Greyhound, Magic. The Ward family have been back in the UK since 2012, with Gizzy in tow, who is now about six years old.
A few months ago Gizzy’s left eye became very red and she didn’t want anyone to touch it. At first Gizzy’s local vet thought this might be down to conjunctivitis, but was very concerned about the way Gizzy’s pupil was dilated and asked Anna to bring Gizzy back the next day if there was no change. The next day Gizzy’s eye had completely closed up and was very swollen.
The difference in Gizzy’s pupils indicated there could have been a neurological problem, so she was immediately referred to the AHT to see a specialist neurologist and an ophthalmologist to find out what was wrong.
Once at the AHT a series of tests were conducted and it was established that there was not a neurological problem but that Gizzy had an ulcer in her eye, and this was causing the difference in her pupil size.
Gizzy’s eyes were thoroughly examined by Ben Blacklock in the ophthalmology team and Gizzy was started on medications to treat the ulcer. Over the next few days, despite receiving all of her medication, Gizzy’s eye continued to deteriorate. Her cornea (the see-through part at the front of the eye) began to swell dramatically, developing into a serious condition known as acute bullous keratopathy.
Surgery was required to save the eye, so Ben stitched Gizzy’s third eyelid across the cornea (known as a third eyelid flap) and stitched the eyelids together while the ulcer healed. The stitches were removed after about five days, at which point the ulcer and swelling had improved. Gizzy was not yet out of the woods and she continued to require intensive medication at home for a few weeks. At the last check-up Gizzy was doing very well and her cornea had healed with minimal scarring.
Anna said: “We’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster ride with Gizzy’s treatment. Apparently the type of ulcer she had normally clears within a week, but not for our poor Gizzy! At one point she was having nine eye drops a day! Then she had to have the operation and wear a protective collar while she had the stitches in her eye, which she hated, but it was all worth it. And she was always friendly and loving when we took her to see Ben!
“I really cannot say how lovely and helpful Ben and the staff at AHT have been, they really seem to care not just about the animals but for the owners too and I’m so glad that Gizzy has recovered and still has her eye. Thank you.”
Has your horse, dog or cat been treated at the AHT? Would you like to share their story to help spread the word about the Animal Health Trust? If so, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org