Just before Christmas, lovely but greedy Woody the Labrador decided to have a munch on some mince pies. Knowing that raisins can be very toxic to dogs, his owner sensibly brought him to Blue House where we gave him an injection to make him vomit everything back up. He had a blood test the next day to make sure his kidneys were OK, which happily they were. However we noticed that his calcium level wasn’t normal.
Increases in calcium aren’t very common in dogs, so we decided to do a further test measuring the calcium in a different way and looking at the level of parathyroid hormone – which controls calcium levels. These showed that both were high. This indicated that the most likely issue was a tumour in one or more of his parathyroid glands. The parathyroid glands are four usually very small glands in the neck near to the two thyroid glands. Left untreated, Woody would have become weak, sluggish and could have fallen into a coma and potentially died.
To diagnosetreat Woody’s tumour, he needed specialist ultrasound and then specialist surgery. We looked at the options for referral but they all meant Woody having to stay away from home for around a week, and two separate anaesthetics (one for the scan and one for the surgery). Luckily Kay was able to call on the services of Visiting Vet Specialist Catherine Sturgeon who was able to provide a specialist ultrasonographer – Jerry Shimali - to locate the tumour, and then to operate and remove the tumour herself (aided by Kay) on the same day.
The ultrasound scan showed a single tumour of around 1cm within the neck tissue. Catherine and Kay performed the delicate surgery to remove the tumour without disturbing the other glands and vital structures in the neck. Joel and Lucy monitored Woody to ensure his anaesthetic went smoothly. Catherine then placed a cannula into the jugular vein on the neck to allow regular blood sampling, and to give intravenous calcium if the levels dropped too low after surgery. This can be a life-threatening complication after this type of surgery (as the body adjusts to losing a very overactive hormone), so Woody would need very close monitoring over the coming weeks. Woody was able to go home on the same day as his surgery, and left with his tail still wagging!
Woody recovered well from his surgery and soon became used to his owner having to flush the catheter in his neck four times a day (a tricky task but one she coped with admirably), and to Kay taking daily blood samples. His calcium levels stabilised over 2 weeks and he was able to have his jugular cannula removed – much to his and his owner’s relief!
The tumour was sent off to the pathologists who reported that the tumour was benign so we all breathed a sigh of relief! Two weeks post-surgery and Woody has been showing energy levels that his owner hasn’t seen for around 6 months – he is back to being the dog he was, playing with toys and his friends. He also sent us an amazing cake (veterinary staff are like Labradors – the way to the heart is through the stomach)!
Our new design Blue House jute bags have arrived! Beat the carrier bag charge, be environmentally friendly and fit in lots of shopping. Free to all clients, new or old, with any purchase. Ask for yours at reception today! (One per customer, whilst stocks last).
Here is Shosh's cat Bagpuss inspecting his!
Squeak is a lovely 7 year old one eyed black cat. His owner brought him to see us because she was concerned about a habit he had developed—eating the pellets from a nerf gun. Whilst he usually brought them back up, she was concerned one may have been stuck. Squeak developed vomiting and became very poorly, so much so that his kidneys began to fail and his life was in danger. His blood results showed that putting him through surgery immediately was not an option as it would likely have been fatal. He needed intensive fluid therapy and monitoring so he was transferred to our out of hours service at vets now so that he could be monitored round the clock overnight.
The following day he had improved enough to allow us to operate. Squeak had complications at the start of his anaesthetic which meant that he stopped breathing for himself so the nursing team had to breathe for him for 40 minutes. Once his anaesthetic improved Neil managed to remove the nerf gun pellet from where it was lodged in his small intestine. Luckily the intestine had not perforated and the rest of his surgery was completed quickly to minimise his anaesthetic time.
Squeak took a few days to recover and had to be syringe fed to encourage him back to health. Now he is a much happier cat, and his owner has made sure he doesn't have access to the pellets any more!
Lady’s owners called our emergency vets when they noticed that she seemed completely out of sorts. She wasn’t eating or moving and was lying down panting. She had been in season a few weeks earlier and had some discharge. The emergency vets at Vets Now in Longton saw Lady straight away and quickly determined with an ultrasound scan that she had a potentially life threatening condition known as pyometra. This is a uterus (womb) infection where the uterus becomes full of pus. They took bloods from Lady, put her on an intravenous drip to stabilise her and gave her antibiotics and pain relief. She started to feel much better after a few hours and she was transferred back to Blue House in the morning to have the surgery she needed.
When Lady arrived at Blue House, she was assessed by Kay who agreed that surgery was the best option. Lady needed a general anaesthetic to remove the uterus and both ovaries (ovariohysterectomy), plus a lump in the breast tissue which was also present. This procedure is much more complicated than a spey operation (performed usually in young dogs to prevent them from having seasons, becoming pregnant or developing pyometra). This is because the uterus becomes much larger and there is a risk of infection and peritonitis due to all the pus. A dog with a pyometra is also usually unstable because of all the toxins inside the uterus and can lead to a difficult anaesthetic and recovery.
Lady did well with her anaesthetic and surgery, and was awake very quickly in her recovery kennel. She was able to go home the same day for lots of TLC and is now recovering well.
Pyometra can be prevented by getting your dog speyed (also known as neutering). We recommend neutering for all female dogs in good health if you are not planning on breeding. In young dogs it also massively reduces the chance of your dog developing breast cancer.
Receptionist / Administrative Support – maternity cover
Blue House Veterinary Centre in Biddulph requires two exceptional individuals to join our friendly team of award-winning receptionists. Both positions are to cover maternity leave, one on a full-time basis and the other part time, starting December 2015. Excellent communication skills and good presentation are essential, to provide our clients with the high level of service to which they have become accustomed.
Your previous experience should include reception duties as well as customer service and administration. You should be articulate and able to empathise with clients, enthusiastic and proactive, with a good sense of humour. This is a busy role where a calm but friendly and outgoing personality is needed to deal with visitors, the telephone, general enquiries, messages and the occasional emergency – sometimes all at once! Responsibilities will include meeting and greeting clients in person and on the phone, ensuring front of house is clean (including hoovering and mopping), assisting with office duties, stock control, handling lab samples, dispensing medication and lots more. This is a real hands-on role which requires a professional approach, lots of common sense and a bright helpful attitude. Computer literacy is essential. Veterinary knowledge is not necessary as training will be given, but a love of animals is required.
Working hours vary 8am-7.30pm Monday to Friday and some Saturday mornings 8am-1.30pm on rota.
To apply please send a CV and covering letter by email to email@example.com
Closing date for applications: Saturday 10th October 2015
Surgical “Wiz” helps Oz
Ozzy and his brother Mason came to see us at Blue House because their fosterer at Iris’s Cats In Need had noticed that there was something wrong with their chests. When Kay examined them, she confirmed that they had a condition called ‘pectus excavatum’. This is an abnormality present from birth, where the sternum (breastbone) and ribs are deformed, resulting in a narrowing of the chest and compression of the heart and lungs. X-rays showed that they were both very severely affected and would not survive without very risky surgery to correct the problem.
The surgery was performed by Royal College specialist surgeon Catherine Sturgeon here at Blue House following a crowd funding appeal. A chest plaster cast was moulded to each kitten, and needles passed through the chest, narrowly avoiding the heart and lungs. Ozzy’s surgery went well, but Mason had a lot of difficulties including his heart stopping following surgery, and sadly had to be put to sleep the following day despite some very intensive care. It was always a risk but we knew he would not have survived if the surgery had not been done.
Fortunately, Ozzy recovered well and adapted to his cast which was removed 3 weeks later. He is now doing really well, and will be ready for adoption soon. If you are thinking of getting a new cat or kitten, Iris’s Cats In Need have a great many that deserve new homes. You can find them on facebook.
Maggie’s back on track!
Maggie (or Margaret if she’s been naughty) is an eight-year-old Bassett Hound who was having problems with pain in her back. Neil referred her to Northwest Surgeons, where she had 2 MRI scans and it was found that she had a large disc extrusion (a squashed disc between the bones of her spine). She had to have a major spinal surgery (a hemilaminectomy) to try and prevent her from becoming paralysed.
The surgery was difficult, but she recovered well. She then needed intense physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to try and restore the function in her back legs. Kay referred her to Physiovet to give her the best chance at recovery. After a programme of rehabilitation, Maggie has improved really well and is almost back to normal. She is now a very happy camper!
Leo is a lovely Labrador who came to see us with an itchy lump on his tail. This didn’t improve after a course of medication so it was decided he needed surgery to remove it. Unfortunately due to the size and location, of the lump, there was not enough skin to close the wound completely. We debated whether we could save his tail or not but thought it was worth a try. This meant that Leo’s tail needed bandaging. Tail dressings are never easy to keep on, and Leo was quite good at getting out of them. With daily dressing changes, often under sedation initially, we had to come up with a way of keeping his dressings on.
Joel, one of our Veterinary Nurses had the great idea of attaching the dressing to a t-shirt, and Lucy (our student nurse) donated a very fetching pink vest to the cause! Luckily this helped keep Leo happy and his dressing stayed on. He quickly became more comfortable and his tail started to heal. It took quite a few weeks, but his tail is now all healed and as waggy as ever.
He still loves coming to see us (we think it was all the treats) and we love seeing him too! We are monitoring him closely for any signs of the tumour coming back but so far so good.
Who’d have thought a t-shirt could play such an essential part in Leo’s recovery!
After weeks of anticipation, we are pleased to announce that from 15000 nominations across the UK for veterinary staff for 6 awards, our amazing team at Blue House Veterinary Centre have won 2 awards at the Petplan Veterinary Awards 2015! We are so proud of our staff Victoria Jane Smith and Marcia Titterton for winning in their categories. Thank you to those who nominated us in all categories. We received our highest ever number of nominations and to win 2 awards from the same practice is almost unprecedented. Very well deserved awards for Victoria and Marcia and a lovely evening presented by Alexander Armstrong. Congratulations!
Videos are available on our facebook page and the Petplan website, and more photos and videos will be appearing from the ceremony soon. We are so proud!
A yearly health check prevents a big problem for Dollar
Miniature Dachshund Dollar visited Blue House for her health check and booster vaccinations recently. Dollar is three years old, fighting fit and had just raised a litter of pups - so as far as her owners were concerned she was absolutely fine.
We always perform a full health check when pets come in for their annual vaccinations, and this time was no different. Kay was not expecting to find anything wrong with a healthy little dog like Dollar, but when she felt her abdomen she found a hard round lump hidden in there!
Of course this was very worrying for her owners. Dollar had been showing no symptoms whatsoever, so what was this strange object in her tummy? Kay conducted an ultrasound scan of Dollar’s abdomen, and it was confirmed that the ‘lump’ was in her bladder. Despite that fact that Dollar had shown no signs of discomfort or bleeding when she was urinating, we suspected a bladder stone; she was booked in for an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis and surgery to remove the stone.
The surgery went well and Kay was able to remove a single bladder stone that was almost the size of a golf ball! It is remarkable that Dollar had shown no symptoms with most of her bladder occupied by the stone. Dollar has now recovered well and is now on a specific diet designed to reduce the chances of more stones forming. However, her little story demonstrates just how important regular health checks are, even when your pet seems well. If the stone had not been found it would have eventually caused significant discomfort for Dollar and may have led to permanent bladder damage.
If you would like your pet checked for any reason, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and make an appointment!