A few months ago Obi, a lovely 18-month-old Siamese cat, suddenly became paralysed. Starting in his back limbs, overnight, Obi’s condition worsened drastically and he was quickly referred to the AHT’s neurology department as an emergency.
When Obi came in he had no movement in any of his limbs and could not blink completely with either eye. His neurological examination revealed that most of the nerves going to his limbs, tail and eyelids were suddenly losing their function; a condition called acute polyneuropathy.
Obi was immediately hospitalised and started on supportive care including an intravenous fluid drip and lubrication of his eyes. As he was unable to move, Obi needed to be turned frequently to prevent skin lesions and his bladder needed to be emptied. Following the first 24-48 hours of deterioration, with intensive physiotherapy sessions, Obi, very gradually, started to improve.
Further tests were conducted to try and determine the cause of Obi’s paralysis. No significant abnormalities were found suggesting a diagnosis of acute “idiopathic” polyneuropathy, where no clear cause can be identified. Acute “idiopathic” polyneuropathy can lead to death if it progresses to affect the nerves that control breathing. Luckily for Obi, he received treatment just in time.
Obi was discharged after 10 days in the AHT’s care with limited movement in his front limbs. Three days after being at home with his owner, Michelle, Obi managed to take some very wobbly first steps! and has continued to improve ever since.
Now he shows hardly any signs of illness and is living a very happy life in his home in Witham, Essex. Michelle said: “It was touch and go for a while but thankfully Obi has pulled through. He’s a really tough boy – clearly his name suits him as the force is strong!
“It was heart-breaking visiting him in the hospital as by then he had no movement whatsoever. Three days later, when I visited again, he had slight movement in his front legs and could sit up slightly. I took him in some chicken and he nearly took my fingers off, he was so excited. He was having physio three times a day and I was informed how much all the staff loved him as he is such a character.
“Obi is 100% back to his normal self now and I couldn’t thank Lorenzo and the rest of the team more. I know everyone at the hospital were sad to see him go as they all fell in love with him! It’s taken Obi a while to regain all the muscle that he lost from not moving for so long, but he looks great now and is always up to mischief with his sister. The only signs of his illness are what ‘Siamese experts’ seem to call fever mask; where a lot of his dark colouring has gone grey caused by a serious illness or stress, but he should get his dark seal point colour back eventually.
“Having obi taken so ill, so suddenly, was really scary but it is amazing having such a great facility so close to home and the AHT did an amazing job taking care of Obi. I’m so grateful to have this boy in my life. Huge thank you to all the staff who helped aid his recovery.”
Little Bear holds a big place in the hearts of owners Susan and Trevor Jones in Norfolk, who have had him since a kitten.
Now 17 years old, he has been incredibly lucky not to have any major health concerns until now, so it was even more concerning when his health took a turn for the worse very suddenly, putting his life in danger.
Susan and Trevor were quick to act when they first noticed Little Bear was not well and he was referred to the Internal Medicine and Soft Tissue Surgery teams in our Small Animal Clinic. His body was producing too much calcium, resulting in a build-up of kidney stones, which eventually blocked his ureter and the accumulation of toxins in his system were raised fatally high.
“This was a very serious situation,” explains Senior Clinician and soft tissue surgeon Daniela Murgia, “He needed emergency surgery - using a new surgical technique we implanted a device called a SUB, which creates a bypass of the damaged ureter and saves the kidney from further damage and toxin levels from becoming excessive. Little Bear is the oldest cat I have performed the surgery on, but he is a very strong cat and we wanted to do everything we could. Without the surgery, he would have died.”
“Daniela saved his life,” says Susan, “we are so grateful to all of the team for their care and support. I knew he was in safe hands and he had 24 hour care – I was so worried about how he was getting on, but Fabiane was very kind in reassuring me and giving me updates on how he was recovering.”
Little Bear was sent home and on strict rest for eight weeks whilst he healed from the surgery. Susan and Trevor persevered with feeding him through a tube and they were thrilled when he eventually ate solid food on his own! Now a few months later, he’s been back to the Clinic for a check up and Daniela and the team are extremely pleased with his progress, and happy to report he has made a full recovery. Well done Little Bear!
Find out more about our Small Animal Clinic.
Cancer still strikes fear in all of us, but there is new hope for equines that face this diagnosis or could be at risk.
Last year, we welcomed Anna Hollis, Oncologist and Specialist in Equine Internal Medicine, to the Equine Clinic, where she will be focusing on our range of cancer treatments; including high dose radiation brachytherapy for aggressive and invasive skin cancers; strontium plesiotherapy for more superficial skin cancers; and a new melanoma vaccine to treat predominantly grey horses at high risk of developing invasive melanomas, thought to be due to their skin pigmentation.
With treatments giving vets and owners alike more hopeful prognoses, Anna's services are in great demand. One patient who has already benefited from Anna’s expertise is Freddie...
Freddie is a six year old chestnut Warmblood gelding who developed a small area of depigmentation on the inside of his left nostril. Over time a small mass appeared in the same area. This lesion was removed and analysis revealed that this was an unusually located sarcoid (type of skin cancer). The area is very challenging to treat by most methods, and the decision was made to treat the scar with strontium plesiotherapy.
Strontium is a form of beta radiation therapy which has limited penetration and is therefore especially suitable for the treatment of small, superficial skin and ocular tumours (such as squamous cell carcinoma) and for the treatment of scars where recurrence is a concern. The limited penetration means that unwanted side-effects are uncommon and mild, and the high doses given to the area to be treated are veryeffective. Most cases can be performed with standing sedation and the treatment is quick and non-painful. As with all forms of radiotherapy, the area will become slightly sore and may have some minor skin sloughing in the early stage, and as it heals, depigmentation is expected.
The cosmetic appearance is generally very good and the overall prognosis for appropriate lesions is excellent.
Approximately two weeks after treatment, there were sore areas and more extensive depigmentation developed as would be expected. Now fully healed, Freddie was an excellent patient who now, two months after treatment (four months after the removal of the sarcoid) has a good cosmetic result with no evidence of sarcoid recurrence to date!
If your dog, cat or horse has been treated at the AHT and you'd like us to share their story, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about our cancer treatments in horses click here