Patient of the Week 30 October
Errol is a very lucky cat and this week’s Patient of the Week! As a kitten, Errol was one of a large litter of feral cats rescued by the RSPCA and fostered by AHT nurses. Errol found his forever home with Julia Freeman, one of our neurology technicians, and now, two years later, Errol’s life has once again been saved by the AHT.
Suddenly one night in July Errol disappeared, causing his family a lot of distress, concerned he may have been hit by a car. He was found hiding up in the back garden but he was out of sorts and had been sick. The next morning he was sick again and breathing heavily through his mouth, so Julia followed her instincts and Errol was rushed into the AHT for an emergency consultation with our internal medicine team. Julia was concerned that he may have been poisoned.
Errol was thoroughly examined but the only signs he was showing were a bit of discomfort on palpation of his tummy, and somewhat rapid breathing. The decision was taken to give him an x-ray and then an abdominal ultrasound to see what was going on. The specialists were very surprised to discover that Errol had an intussusception; where part of the intestine folds into another section of intestine, which can often result in an obstruction. This is quite unusual in an adult cat, being more common in young puppies and kittens. An intussusception is a surgical emergency and Errol was scheduled for surgery later that same day. In Errol’s case, it had indeed caused an obstruction and some of the intestine had already begun to die.
Julia said: “Afterwards, the surgeon, Georg, informed me that I had done the right thing bringing him in so quickly, and not waiting another 24 hours “just in case” as had I delayed any further his intestine could very well have perforated. Then he would have been in serious trouble and been susceptible to life-threatening infections such as peritonitis, and possibly septicaemia. Georg had to remove a large part of the intestine which was beyond repair and place a feeding tube to help with Errol’s recovery.
“I’m very pleased to report that even immediately post-op, Errol was feeling much better! He stayed in hospital for a little while so the vets could monitor him, and make sure his intestines were working and that the wound was OK. Then he came home, and had to be kept in whilst his wound healed. Unfortunately, nobody told Errol that he’d just had major abdominal surgery, and he did not take kindly to being kept “under house arrest” (especially as my other cat was allowed out!).
“We tried cage rest, but Errol had other ideas and trashed the lovely comfy cage we’d organised for him, trying to get out! About 10 days post-op he was finally allowed out (much to his and our relief!), and ever since, he’s been absolutely fine. Now the fur’s grown back, you would never be able to tell he’d been “unzipped” right down his tummy, and I’ve got my boy back.
“I’m so grateful to the team who diagnosed and “fixed” him. I knew the people at the AHT were wonderful, but having experienced it from the other side, I’m more convinced of it than ever! It was a real team effort, with Theatre, Anaesthesia and the Nursing and Kennel staff all involved in his care as well as Internal Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging and Surgery in finding the right diagnosis and performing the operation. I’m so, so happy with the outcome! And so is Errol!”
Patient of the Week 22 October
Pebbles, a three-month-old Beagle puppy, gave her new family quite a scare when she suddenly became very ill and was rushed to the vets. She had developed signs of acute kidney failure and was transferred from her local vet to the AHT for further tests and urgent treatment. Pebbles was seen by our internal medicine team who diagnosed her with Addison’s disease. Addison's disease, or hypoadrenocorticism, is an uncommon endocrine disease where the adrenal glands do not function properly. It is usually seen in middle-aged female dogs, so it is very unusual for Pebbles to develop Addison’s disease at such a young age.
Susan, Pebbles’ mum, said: “Pebbles and her family would like to thank everyone who looked after and ultimately saved her life, we are all pleased to have her home. We have a long way to go through her lifelong treatment but she is a happy little puppy now!”
In normal dogs, the adrenal glands produce mineralcorticoids, which are responsible for the electrolyte and water balance in the body; and glucocorticoids, which are also called the "stress" hormones and help the animal cope with stress situations. Clinical signs associated with a lack of these hormones are usually vague and can be varied, including lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration or collapse.
The disease can mimic other conditions such as gastrointestinal, renal or neurologic diseases so it can be very hard to diagnose and therefore the clinical signs can become very severe before the correct diagnosis is found. Although currently there is no cure, the prognosis is excellent as Addison's disease can be effectively treated with life-long hormone supplements.
Patient of the Week 14 October
Honey, a five-year-old, bright and bouncy Labrador. Thanks to an intricate double knee operation she is now facing a much happier future. Before being referred to the AHT for a consultation with one of our orthopaedic surgeons, Honey could barely get in and out of her basket and was in intense pain. Cruciate ligament damage was suspected but initial treatment with pain relief wasn’t working. Honey began limping all the time, and it was clear she was heading for surgery.
X-rays showed that both cruciate ligaments were very close to severing and beyond repair. The only option was to operate to change the way Honey's knee joints work by reshaping the top of the shin bones, called a TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy). This way the cruciate ligament is no longer needed in order to restore normal joint function. This is highly complex surgery and required nine weeks of confinement and gentle exercise - after each operation - while Honey’s knees healed.
Now, four months on, Honey's family said: “We’re really pleased that Honey was able to have the operation done on both knees – the change in her now is just incredible. The care Honey received while at the AHT was amazing and Georg, her surgeon, was brilliant. He kept us updated all the time and was really good at explaining everything to us – and Honey just adores him. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back to the AHT if Honey has any more problems.
“Honey has gradually been able to exercise more vigorously and on our summer holiday this year was able to swim in the sea – which was pure joy to watch. We’ve got to be really careful with her weight from now on, but fingers crossed she’s going to be ok and live a relatively active life! We can’t thank everyone at the AHT enough for what they’ve given us.”
Could your horse, dog or cat be our next Patient of the Week? We'd love to hear from you if your animal has been treated at the AHT and you think it's a story worth sharing! Get in touch by emailing the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patient of the Week 07 October
We’re pleased to share with you Izzie as this week’s Patient of the Week! Izzie is a beautiful six-year-old Bearded Collie cross who started chemotherapy treatment here at the AHT in July for lymphoma. Izzie is halfway through her treatment, is currently in remission and seems back to her old self!
Fiona, Izzie’s owner, said: “A huge thank you to Ana Rita, Jody and the rest of the cancer team at AHT. Although Izzie is now starting to lose her hair, which Ana says is unusual for most dogs having chemotherapy, and despite all she is going through, Izzie remains the most placid, happy dog and we all love her dearly. Thank you for giving Izzie a bit longer with us.”
Ana Rita commented: “Izzie is a lovely patient and a pleasure to take care of. She has been tolerating the treatment very well. Izzie is showing an uncommon side effect for dogs undergoing chemotherapy: only a few breeds lose their hair during the treatment and it should resolve once chemotherapy is over.”