Pet of the month

December pet of the month - Dudley

Dudley was one of those unlucky pets who had a testicle that failed to descend in its usual location (cryptorchidism). This descent should occur before 3 months of age and failure results in permanent entrapment and an increased risk of cancers in later life.  Castration is therefore necessary.  The problems with traditional surgical removal are mostly associated with attempts to locate the wayward testicle as it may be found anywhere from the kidney to outside the body wall.  Statistically vets have a proven accuracy of correctly identifying the location of a cryptorchid testicle, by examination, of 49% [oops!].  Surgical exploration can therefore become time consuming, very invasive, painful and expensive.

So Dudley became one of those lucky pets that was presented for his operation to be performed laparoscopically.  Introducing a 2.7mm diameter camera and a 5mm forceps through two tiny holes in his body wall, immediately enables identification and handling of the spermatic cord on both sides and localises the testicle.  In Dudley's case it was in the most awkward spot possible, trapped between the deep layers of the body wall.  Applying traction to the spermatic cord, we simply dissect down on to the area where we feel the movement of the tissue attachement and then pull out and remove the testicle in the normal way.  Importantly we don't need to make an incision into the body wall cavity larger than 5mm.

This was a very cost effective procedure.  It was less than half of the price of a similar but non laparoscopic case that we recently heard of.

Almost painless, minimally invasive and home for lunch.

Dudley posed for this picture only 20 minutes after the procedure.

 Dudley Gill 2

November pet of the month - Sooty

A few less teeth but much more comfort!

Sooty Vosper 1

Sooty the cat was seen at the practice recently because his owners had seen him drooling and he had had difficulty eating. When examined, he had very inflamed gums, tongue and mouth as well as bad breath (halitosis).

Dental disease and gum disease in cats are common. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is present to some degree in most cats and can make the gums bleed more easily and cause pain and discomfort in more severe cases. Gingivostomatitis (inflammation of the gums and other tissues of the mouth) is also seen in cats from time to time and can cause severe pain, leading to drooling and a poor appetite. This condition was a concern for Sooty. The cause of these processes is unknown- there may be a hereditary component to the condition, and diet is thought to play a part (feral cats that hunt and eat their prey have been shown to have less dental and gum disease than domestic cats, and there has been suggestions that drier food can help to prevent these problems because of the abrasive action this food has on the teeth). Cats with a cat flu virus called calicivirus are also more likely to develop gingivitis. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories can help to alleviate the symptoms but will often not cure the problem. Extraction (removal) of the molar teeth under a general anaesthetic can help to reduce inflammation in the mouth - it is not known exactly how this helps but this procedure is successful in many cases and cats can cope remarkably well with very few teeth, crunching biscuits with their gums after they have healed. Sooty had his molar teeth removed under anaesthetic and some biopsies of the sore areas were taken. He there was some improvement after removal of the teeth, but there was still inflammation present. Sooty’s biopsies revealed an inflammatory disorder called eosinophilic granuloma complex (a rarer cause of mouth lesions) which was treated with steroid therapy and he has been doing very well since- in fact he has been eating so well that his owners may have to restrict his food so he doesn’t put on too much weight! It is hoped that the steroid therapy can be tapered and stopped in the near future to avoid the side effects of this medication, as long as Sooty continues to do well.

To arrange a veterinary dental check for your pet, please contact us at the practice. Animals can mask the signs of one or two painful teeth or sores in the mouth very well (just as we can cope by eating on one side of the mouth when we have a sore tooth), and it is much better to remove the offending teeth than the pet being in any level of discomfort. It can also be a good idea to start some preventative dental care for your pet so that dental procedures are less likely to be required in the future. This could include tooth brushing with meat flavoured toothpastes (easier in dogs than in cats as they tend to be more amenable and can often be trained to allow tooth brushing). There are also a range of dental treats and diets, as well as antibacterial products that can be added to food or drinking water than can prevent plaque and tartar, which often lead to gingivitis. You could contact us at the practice to discuss these options further or arrange consultation with one of our nurses to help you to select the best dental care strategy for your pet.

Meet May pet of the month Humphrey

Humphrey before


Skin problems can be amongst the most challenging cases that we see, and unfortunately they often need to be managed rather than cured.

Humphrey the basset hound has suffered with skin disease from an early age, which for a long time had been logically managed through triumph to adversity.  Living with the assorted soreness, itching, hair loss, ear infections and odour can demand a lot of sympathy and patience from an owner and is extremely unpleasant for the patient.

Although Humphrey had a hugely complicated problem list with his skin, with many interrelating factors making management difficult, it appears that the introduction of the most recent part of his novel treatment regimes has completed this particular jigsaw.

Humphrey has recently started a polyvalent vaccine course to desensitise him to a bacteria that has been a large contributor to his itchy skin, as well as a tablet, which helps to reduce inflammation, itchiness and irritation. We are extremely pleased that he is managed free of steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs.

Humphrey after


Merlin - September pet of the month

Merlin Laker 1 edit 2

Merlin is a 6 year old cat who loves to hunt, and has a particular liking for birds.  He became very unwell this summer and was brought in to our practice for assessment. His appetite was reduced, he had lost a lot of weight and had developed a fever.  He had facial tremors, was dehydrated and was unsteady on his back legs.  He was admitted to our hospital for fluid therapy and medication to reduce his temperature.

Knowing that he hunts, we decided to test Merlin for an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis, a parasite that can be transferred to cats from the ingestion of rodents and birds.  The parasite infects a surprisingly large number of cats (it is thought up to 40% of the cat population have the disease) but it rarely causes any symptoms.  Humans can also develop the infection but is only normally a concern to pregnant women, as infection has been associated with miscarriage.

Merlin's blood test was consistent with a toxoplasmosis infection and he was treated with an antibiotic that the parasite is sensitive to.  It has now been several weeks since the treatment was started and we are pleased to say that Merlin has made a great recovery - his temperature reduced and facial tremors resolved within a few days and he is now a lot steadier on his feet, has gained weight and is eating normally again.  We need to monitor Merlin to ensure the parasite does not become a concern again but for now he is back to his normal ways, happily patrolling the garden.


March pet of the month Jack

Jack edited 4Jack is a 12 years old Labrador Retriever with a few health problems.  He is also a very happy, playful 'oldie' who enjoys life to the full, especially his food!  Jack has had a bit of a weight problem throughout his life, not helped by having an under-active thyroid, for which he has been on medication for many years.

A couple of years ago his legs started to give him a few problems and he started taking anti-inflammatories, initially when needed, then regularly, together with supplements, as his arthritis advanced.  He remained his happy self, though.

Then last September he started to slow down a bit and to cough with increasing frequency.  He was diagnosed with a heart condition and started on more tablets.  He soon regained his sparkle.

In December we added acupuncture treatments to help with the tension in his muscles, working hard to compensate for his arthritis.  Acupuncture also helps with his wellbeing, as it stimulates the release of 'happy' chemicals in the brain.  He his very good with the needles, as he looks forward to the treats he receives after each treatment.

His family not only make sure he takes all his tablets but also take care that his environment, exercise regime and feeding are appropriate to his 'oldie' needs.  Thanks to their dedication Jack is able to enjoy the best quality of life.

All our oldies, just like Jack, need and deserve the best care we can provide for them.  Age may or may not bring disease but it brings changes.  With adjustments to lifestyle, food, exercise and, if necessary, giving appropriate medication, we can ensure that their sunset years remain enjoyable for as long as possible.


©Copyright Springwell Veterinary Surgery , all rights reserved.
Use implies acceptance of our Terms and Conditions