Meet Gizzy, a gentle 12 year old Jack Russell terrier, our November Pet of the Month.
Gizzy was the victim of a horrific dog attack and when her owners found her, she was rushed into the clinic around midnight, collapsed and in a state of severe shock. The wee dote was so weak and shocked that she could not even lift her head and could only look at us with sad helpless eyes.
The big dog had inflicted some terrible bite wounds, with large lacerations over her chest and back, around her neck and down her legs. Her muscle tissues under her skin were severely torn and the muscles, veins and nerves were torn along the side of her neck. The pictures of the injuries were too horrific to publish here.
Gizzy's owners did not want to give up on her so the team worked through the night to stabilise her. She had intensive intravenous fluids, intravenous antibiotics and strong pain relief while the nurses closely monitored her vital signs. When Gizzy had stabilised sufficiently, we began the difficult task of reconstructing the torn muscles and skin. Special drains had to be inserted under the wounds to stop fluid and pus accumulating - dog bites nearly always get infected because dogs carry so many germs oin their teeth. By the time, we were finished, Gizzy had several metres over internal stitching and over 250 skin stitches on the surface.
Somehow, she survived that awful night. Day by day, Gizzy then got stronger and stronger. Her dedicated owners learned how to tend to her wounds, helping to clean and dress them every day and presenting Gizzy to the clinic for regular check ups and laser therapy on the wounds. Day by day, the tissue swelling started to diminish, the wounds started to dry up and Gizzy started to move her neck again a little. Safe and inexpensive, laser therapy is invaluable in speeding healing times of soft tissue and skin wounds.
After 6 weeks, Gizzy has made a full recovery - what a strong little dog! Her owners now look back with a smile and comment that with Gizzy being a little on the heavy side, it was maybe her extra layer of insulation that might just have saved her in this case :)
Harry Potter fans will know where this little kitten gets his name from. This little chappie was only 6 months old when disaster struck.
Albus was brought into the hospital with diarrhoea. He was wormed and give some medicine to cover for a tummy bug. This seemed to get better but within a few days he was going downhill fast and was presented to the hospital with severe vomiting. He had stopped eating, was very dull and had lost a lot of weight very quickly. His owner thought they could feel an unusual lump in his abdomen.
When Albus was assessed, we also could feel this unusual lump- he was rushed to theatre for emergency surgery as it was believed the lump could be causing an obstruction. Exploratory surgery revealed that Albus had an intussusception. This affects the intestine similar to a twisted bowel or a foreign body by causing a blockage when the intestine telescopes back into a section of itself. Unfortunately a section of Albus' intestine had died and had to be resected or cut out, with the two healthy ends joined together again surgically in a process called end to end anastomosis.
An intussusception is not an uncommon problem in young pets - it is sometimes caused by worms, Parvovirus, Feline enteritis or just prolonged diarrhoea. Thanks to Albus' owner bringing him to us so promptly when she realised something was wrong, this little dote made a complete recovery, regaining his lost weight and more very quickly.
Top tips for pups and kittens to prevent diarrhoea and vomiting...worm your young pet regularly - every 2 weeks until 3 months, then once a month until 6 months. Vaccinate your pet. Feed a decent dry diet as recommended by your vet and introduce new foods gradually over a week or so. Avoid scraps, tit bits and unhealthy treats.
If your pet has vomiting or diarrhoea don't be complacent about this - it could be a veterinary emergency. Sadly time is often lost in serious cases with owners trying different foods or ineffective pet shop remedies for pets that have vomiting or diarrhoea. We had one customer who tried seven different foods over 2 months for their dog who was vomiting before bringing him for veterinary attention only to find that he had oesophageal cancer which was too advanced to operate on!
This is Buttons, a pretty 2 year old female tabby cat. Poor wee Buttons was hit by a car and was brought into the hospital unable to stand and in shock. She was passing blood in her urine and from her back end and did not have any feeling in her back legs or taill.
Buttons' owners wanted to give her a chance so we put her on a drip and gave her strong pain relief and medicine to treat her for shock. She survived the night and the initial shock of the accident but things weren't looking any better for her back legs the next day. Her xrays showed that her spinal cord was squashed in middle of her back by three dislocated backbones. Understandably, Buttons' owners didn't want to put Buittons through major spinal surgery but still wanted to give her a chance.
So over the next month, Buttons had an intensive programme of anti-inflammatory medicine, physiotherapy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and laser therapy. Buttons' owners were very dedicated to her, visiting her every day, all the time not giving up on her even through a number of setbacks such as cat flu and cystitis and still knowing at the back of their minds that this might not have a happy ending.
Buttons was finally strong enough to go home. Her owners diligently continued her physiotherapy at home. After 6 weeks Buttons was able to stand and had regained most of the feeling in her back legs. Buttons wishes to thank the PDSA for their assistance with this case. There is a video of Buttons on u-tube taken 6 weeks after the road accident and spinal injury....
September 2016 update:- Buttons is now learning to walk again and has taken her first few steps again on her own.
If ever there was a dog with a will to survive, it has to be Jackie, a lovely black Labrador from Strabane.
Jackie's owners noticed that she had been getting tired lately but one morning she collapsed on her back legs. When she arrived in at the hospital, she was cold, her breathing was fast and her gums were very pale. She was losing a lot of blood into her intestine and was passing blood from her back end. We admitted Jackie to find out where the blood was coming from and to try and stabilise her. Her blood tests showed that she has lost most of her blood and only there was only about 20% remaining.
To save Jackie she had to have an immediate blood transfusion and she improved very quickly that day. However the intestinal bleeding did not stop, even in spite of heavy doses of medicine to encourage clotting. Further investigation revealed that Jackie had an unusual clotting disorder and her blood clotting times were very slow.
In order to be able to have further blood transfusions, Jackie had to be cross matched with the dogs that were donating blood. Like people, dogs have their own blood types and for repeated blood transfusions cross matching is necessary. Jackie's blood type was DEA-1 negatiive. Jackie's intestinal blood loss continued over 2 weeks, stubbornly refusing to stop in spite of all efforts and medications. Her owners were even called in when things looked very bleak to consider letting her go. But Jackie didn't give up and after some ten transfusions from around 8 different dogs, Jackie's bleeding finally stopped and she ultimately made a complete recovery.
Many thanks to the PSNI for assistance in locating suitable donors for Jackie. As a result of Jackie's case, All Creatures now has a large list of blood typed donor dogs available for future emergencies. Jackie is also most grateful to Petplan who funded the cost of her treatment (a single unit of packed red cells from a canine blood bank currently costs around £300!)
Meet Max (affectionately known by the team as Mad Max), the handsome young Boxer. This poor little chappie fell and broke the two main bones, the radius and ulna, in his front leg. Ouch that's gotta hurt!
Being quite active and spending a lot of time outdoors, we decided to apply a series of supporting pins from the outside of Max's leg - this is called an external skeletal fixator. Within 3 days, Max was using his leg quite well. You can check him out on our u-tube page (https://youtu.be/kHOyu9qlZWg)
Many thanks to Max's owners for their time and commitment to his post operative care, keeping him rested and attending his many check ups to keep an eye on the pins while his fractures were healing.
April update - great news those pins are finally out and he's a free lad again. Stay out of trouble pal.
Meet Tigger, that's the little guy on the left - a happy-go-lucky Shih Tzu.
And beside him, his new "blood brother" , Louise's black labrador who helped to save his life.
Tigger's owner noticed that he had stopped eating and seemed really tired. He looked really sick with runny eyes. He was promptly brought to our clinic and on his examination we noticed also that the colour of his gums was very pale, almost white, instead of a nice pink colour and he had a high temperature. He had some blood tests performed immediately which showed that he had severe anaemia - he only had about 25% of his red blood cells remaining! It was a true life or death situation. Further examination of his blood smears showed that Tigger's own immune system was attacking and destroying his red blood cells. He was suffering from an unusual disease called immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA).
The only thing that could save little Tigger was a blood transfusion and the most suitable donor was Louise the vet's own black Labrador. So after a nerve wracking 24 hours, Tigger's red blood cell count had stabilised and Tigger had started some medicine to prevent his immune system from producing the harmful antibodies which were destroying his red blood cells.
Well done to Tigger's owner for bringing him to the clinic to quickly - sometimes when a dog is tired or not eating it can unfortunately mean that something serious is wrong and prompt attention can mean the difference between life and death!
3 month update:- Tigger is still doing really well and we are carefully reducing his medication.
This cute little Pug was hit by a lorry and had a fractured pelvis. Poor little Kiki was treated initially with intravenous fluids to counteract shock and given strong painkillers as this is a very painful type of fracture. Luckily her X-rays showed that the type of fracture she had should heal up without a need for major surgery.
She had to have 3 weeks of restricted rest in a small cage to allow her bones to knit together again. Now Kiki is enjoying hydrotherapy to build up her muscles again. She is a brilliant little swimmer and well done to her owner for letting her avail of this invigorating rehabilitation therapy.
Meet Charlie - this handsome Labrador Retriever from Ballykelly was found collapsed one morning by his owner. He seemed to have lost the feeling in his right front and right hind leg and was unable to walk - things looked dire. The veterinary team thought initially he may have had a "slipped disc" but investigations revealed that he had a suffered from a fibrocartilaginous embolism. In this unusual condition, a small piece of cartilage had broken away from one of Charlie's intervertebral discs and had lodged in a vital vertebral blood vessel, cutting off the blood supply to a vital section of the spinal cord. The outlook for recovery did not look good but Charlie's owner did not want to give up.
Over the next 2 weeks, Charlie underwent a period of intensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy at All Creatures and received a range of medications to assist spinal nerve recovery. He was having two assisted swims each day, allowing him to remain mobile and keep his leg muscles strong. Day by day, Charlie's legs started to get stronger and the feeling in his legs started to return. After one
week he was using his right hind leg almost fully and around three weeks later he got his feeling back in his front leg.
Well done to Charlie's owner for not giving up on him and many thanks to Petplan who covered Charlie's physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatment in full.
Charlie now enjoys big walks in Ballykelly Forest every day again.