Pet of the month

February Pet of the month - Coco 

cocoa Jessop 3Coco had a cough which had been on going for a few weeks and did not respond to initial medical treatment. She had also lost weight despite eating well, so she was admitted in for further investigations. Chest X-rays showed an abnormal area in her left lung. We immediately proceeded to assessing her bronchi with an endoscope (flexible camera), which showed blood in the left bronchus which was coming from the smaller, deeper airways. In order to assess further we performed a thorocoscopy (Keyhole exploration of the chest). A lung mass was found and biopsies identified the mass to be most likely benign.

Coco underwent further surgery where we removed the affected lung lobe. She has recovered well and is now back to her normal self. 

Take a look at the video below showing the endoscopic removal of the lung mass.

Warning this video contains surgical images.

Meet October Pet of the Month - Millie Nicholls

Millie Nich edited

Millie is a 6 year old female neutered Whippet x Bedlington Terrier. Millie has been a regular patient of ours since she developed a severe anaemia. Millie has been spayed at the beginning of May after suffering with an infection in her womb known as a pyometra. She had a slight anaemia (low red blood cell number) at this stage but unfortunately this became progressively worse. At the end of June she visited the practice again as she had been losing weight and was very slow on her walks. When she was examined we identified that her gums were very pale and immediately tested her blood to check number and percentage of red blood cells present. A normal dog has a red blood cell percentage or PCV of about 35-55% but Millie's PCV was only 11%. Red blood cells normally deliver oxygen to tissues and organs, which is used to create energy. Millie had become lethargic because her reduced number of red cells meant that she couldn't produce enough energy. Millie also did not have many immature red blood cells in her blood, which indicated that she was having a problem producing cells. We needed to try to identify the cause of her anaemia, so we ran some more tests including urine tests, coagulation blood tests (to make sure her blood was capable of clotting) and a Coombs test which looks at whether her immune system is targeting her red cells (this is known as a an immune mediated anaemia). The Coombs test was positive indicating that Millie's immune system may be the cause of the anaemia, but we needed to biopsy her bone marrow to confirm this. As Millie's anaemia was severe, she needed to have a blood transfusion of packed red blood cells before we could administer an anaesthetic and take the biopsy. We confirmed Millie's blood type so we could order in a match from the Pet Blood Bank (an organisation who collect and store blood products donated by healthy pets).

The following day, when we had received the packed red blood cells, Millie had her transfusion. In total she received 350mls (over half a pint) over 5 hours. We had to monitor her closely because some animals can have a severe reaction during a transfusion. Once her PCV had risen to 20%, she had an anaesthetic and we took a bone marrow biopsy from her femur (thigh bone). She recovered from her anaesthetic well and went home with her owners that evening.

When we checked Millie again the day after her transfusion, her gums seemed pinker and her PCV had risen to 31% - almost back to normal! Over the next few days her energy levels improved and she started to gain weight. Her bone marrow biopsy results confirmed an immune mediated cause of her anaemia so she was prescribed a course of steroid therapy to suppress her immune system. She has been having regular blood tests to monitor her red blood cell levels. Her body took time to respond to the therapy so her PCV dropped a little initially but recently it has been rising. Her last reading was 29% and she is doing well. She is experiencing a few side effects to the steroid treatment (increased appetite and thirst and her coat has become thin) but we hope that these will settle as the steroid dose is gradually reduced.

Millie would not have recovered without the blood products supplied by the Pet Blood Bank and the wonderful owners who brought their pets forward to donate. To see if your pet meets the criteria to become a donor, visit and consider joining the register – it can save lives!

What has our May Pet of the month been eating?

Eric is a typical 6 month old Labrador puppy, full of energy and loves his food.  When he became quiet, started to vomit and was refusing to eat, his owners knew there was something wrong.  Three months prior to this Eric had stolen a pastry brush from the dishwasher.  When he gave it back the rubber head was missing, not to be seen again until....

Eric's owners brought him to the practice for assessmentAs part of our investigations Eric was given some barium to drink.  This enabled us to see its passage from the stomach, through the intestines and into the rectum.  As can be seen in the x-ray below, the barium highlighted a very suspicious object in Eric's intestine.

Eric underwent major surgery to remove the rubber brush from his small intestine. He has now recovered fully from his operation and is back to being his normal happy self.

Eric edited

July pet of the month: Monty

Monty is a 12 year old Flat coat retriever, so is quite old for his breed.  He had been slowing down a bit recently so he was brought in for a health check to ensure it was just age related changes.

When we examined Monty we noticed that he was looking a bit pale, so recommended further investigations.  A blood sample was taken at the time of his examination and the results analysed the same day.  These showed that Monty had a low level of red blood cells.

After performing an x-ray and ultra sound scan, we found that Monty had a tumour in part of his intestine.  He was taken straight to theatre where surgery was performed to remove the tumour and part of his gut.  This was performed quickly using a new titanium stapler which halved the time normally taken to perform this surgery. This new method also reduces the post operative risks of this procedure significantly.

Monty went home the following day and his owner reported that he was back to his normal self within a few days.

Following analysis, the tumour was found to have a low risk of spread to other organs.  So hopefully Monty will be fit and well for years to come.


Pet of the month

(Article written by Inca's owners)

Inca 7 days after op editedAs a puppy, Inca, our four year old black Labrador became known to millions for her appearances in the ‘Dolls House’ TV adverts for Tesco home insurance. There followed a huge You Tube following for the outtakes from filming when Inca seemed determined to demolish the Dolls House and its contents! However, Hollywood did not beckon and Inca settled down to life as a family pet with Tilly, our seven year old Golden Labrador.

When she was just one year old, Inca went lame in one of her hind legs and after investigation by Patrick, a ruptured cruciate ligament was diagnosed and Inca was referred to a Veterinary orthopaedic surgeon for consultation and a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) was successfully performed. Subsequently it was discovered that the meniscus had also been torn and a further repair operation had to be undertaken and Inca spent a total of six months on a lead at all times.

It was explained to us at the time that when a dog has a cruciate ligament problem, there is more than a 40% chance that a problem will also occur in the other hind leg. When Inca showed some early signs of lameness last month, we were able to immediately take her to Springwell to see Patrick who confirmed our thoughts that Inca did indeed have a torn cruciate. Subsequent x-rays confirmed this but also showed that the cruciate had not fully ruptured.

With this in mind, Patrick advised us that since Inca’s first TPLO operation, a new technique was now being used where a partial tear was involved. This procedure is a TTA RAPID (tibial tuberosity advancement) involving the use of a titanium implant which allows the bone to grow completely around the implant. Patrick explained the full details of this procedure and confirmed that he had performed this operation at Springwell a number of times and therefore there was no need for Inca to go to an animal hospital. This had the added benefit that she could return home the same day.

The next morning a very hungry Inca (having not eaten since 5.00 pm the night before!) checked in early at Springwell for the pre-op procedures and Patrick called to say that everything was in order and he would proceed as outlined. A phone call later assurred us that everything had gone as planned and that Inca was now in recovery and looking good to come home early in the evening.

One of the key points to remember in any procedure like this is that the operation is only the beginning of a lengthy recuperation and rehabilitation period where a completely successful outcome is very much the responsibility of the owner(s). Careful control of the pet’s movements and activities over a period of some months begins straight away with the administration of pain relief and care when toileting, right through to the eventual re-building of muscle through controlled exercise.

Inca quickly felt that she was ready to do as she pleased, which although a testament to the success of the procedure, is not at all helpful in her recovery!  Her nine large sutures were removed after twelve days and Inca is a pain free ( if not rather frustrated) dog once again. Another fantastic example of the expertise, knowledge and care that is available in-house for pet owners at Springwell Vets.












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