Pet of the month

Meet May pet of the month - Reily

Reily Tindal 1At our last audit, we found that one quarter of our procedures performed under anaesthetic are minimally invasive.  This is a huge saving for our patients in terms of pain, fear and anxiety and massively reduces recovery times and drug use.  Perhaps the greatest benefit we can achieve however is when a dog like Reily comes in.  Born with a retained testicle castration becomes essential for medical reasons.

The difficulty with performing the operation to remove retained testes by open surgery is in locating them.  A study showed that Vets correctly identified the position of retained inguinal testicles 49 percent of the time, which is ALMOST as good as guessing.  Testes may lie under the skin, in the abdomen or even between the muscle layers of the body wall.  Open surgery requires a large incision usually along side the penis and through the body wall to look for the lost testicle, often to find that it is not within reach.  The wound has thus been made unnecessarily and another made to look elsewhere.  This surgical challenge may then become destructive, time consuming and expensive.

Performed "keyhole" the testicles are located simply by peeping in with a 2.7mm or 5mm wide camera.  The attached video shows how quick and easy it can be to see the offending gland and remove it through a tiny incision in the body wall.  If the testicle is elsewhere we can simply follow the spermatic cord to locate it.

The net result is a simple, cost effective procedure which has all the benefits of keyhole surgery but specifically avoids open surgery which in awkward cases can get out of hand.

Reily is a very happy dog and we feel very happy to have been able to help him remain so.


Meet April pet of the month - Bonnie

Bonnie Joyce 1At six o'clock in the evening we received a call from a local practice requesting help following another episode of canine greediness. The chicken satay, with skewer embedded, when merely waved within the vicinity of Bonnie dog was simply gone in flash, swallowed whole! Tricky!  An attempt to encourage vomiting could lead to the stomach being perforated and leaving the skewer in place could likewise lead to perforation of the gut somewhere lower down the intestines.  A perforated gastrointestinal tract will often lead to peritonitis which under these circumstances has a 50% mortality rate, even with surgery.

We swung straight into action and Bonnie came down for a general anaesthetic and gastroscopy.  The video attached shows the retrieval of the satay stick [its not always easy!] and the photographs show both the "foreign body" after removal and a rather pleased looking post-operative patient.  The crisis was averted and Bonnie went home for [another] tea in less than an hour.

No surgery, no hassle and no complications.

Chicken satay 2

Meet February pet of the month - Brodie

Brodie 1Brodie, a lovely natured ex hearing dog was a really interesting second opinion case.  She presented following a year of intermittent tummy upsets which had frustrated her owners and vet.  Although she had undergone blood and other diagnostic tests she came to us without a diagnosis, althougth her liver had been shown to be dysfunctional and damaged.

To obtain the all important diagnosis , the question that we needed to answer was; is the diarrhoea primarily a result of a gut or liver problem? This we tried to answer by looking at gut function with a blood test that showed us that the lower part of her small intestine was malabsorbing but not the upper part [curious!]. 

We then performed an abdominal scan which showed the presence of a liver mass and an obstructed gall bladder.  Although diarrhoea would be an uncommon presentation of a liver condition/disease, it seemed very likely that the liver would be the primary problem, with gut dysfunction resulting secondarily from the size, pressure and the location of the liver mass.

Liver masses are often cancerous, so after a chest xray was taken to screen for possible spread was clear, we examined her liver laparoscopically. With a 2.7mm diameter camera we were able to confirm that the mass only occupied one liver lobe and that the rest of the organ looked healthy.  This enabled us to proceed to an open procedure to remove the affected liver lobe using an ultrasonic hepatic resector. Brodie made an uneventful recovery and the histology of the excised tumour has given Brodie an excellent prognosis for a complete cure.

Following receipt of the initial blood test result, the process described above was performed on one day.  This is typical of the way we try to resolve cases efficiently and make us very happy. Great case, great dog.



Meet March pet of the month - Buddy

Buddy edited 2Buddy was brought to us as a second opinion having had a history of urinary stones, reaching back into his puppyhood.  He had previously undergone open surgery at a referral centre to remove these calculi from his bladder which left him with a 10 inch scar, the size necessary to access his bladder for the procedure.  A year later he had re-developed many more stones and came to see us.  Three large stones were residing in his bladder with another sixteen or so queing up in his urethra close to his penis, which were blocking his urinary flow.

The owners sought our advice because they wanted to minimise Buddy's surgical trauma and hoped that we may be able to correct his problems with keyhole surgery.  Good call!  We accepted the challenge and addressed the following to do list with particular attention placed on prevention.

  • The problem that will present as a potentially life threatening emergency is acute blockage of his urine out flow.  To permanently remove this possibility in a dog prone to forming stones, we create a new opening for urine flow at the base of the penis.  This is called urethrostomy and works by allowing small stones to pass, that would otherwise block his penis.  This works because the urethra is wider here.
  • Castration has a positive effect to minimise the formation of Buddy's type of calculi and is necessary with a urethrostomy, so this was performed and the surgical site was then used to create an opening for the urethrostomy mentioned previously.
  • Clearly the large stones had to be removed from his bladder surgically so for this we used a keyhole technique to access his bladder via a small incision in front of his sheath.  This operating port was approximately 3cm long, the size required to remove the stones. 

Buddy bladder stones






  • Unblocking his tubes involved a mixture of grasping and flushing under endoscopic visualisation.  The short video clip shows our catheter flushing from both directions viewed from inside the bladder neck.  This catheter is only 2mm wide and demonstrates the ease with which we can assess patency even in the very narrow canal of the neck of the bladder.

Having successfully performed the four stages of this procedure, we were able to send Buddy home that evening with a detailed management plan to help him avoid developing further stones.  Buddy returned for his stitches out after 10 days and took top marks for happiness.  Us too!

January 2017 Pet of the month

Kenny 1

Meet one of our regular patients – Accident Prone Kenny!

Kenny is an 8 year old ex-racing greyhound, who was adopted into a loving new home 18 months ago. You’d think that having retired from racing he would be less likely to get into any trouble- but unfortunately for Kenny that hasn’t been the case! Kenny has acquired several injuries since living at his new home including getting his foot caught in a drain grate, tearing his claw and cutting his leg and tail. Most recently he badly fractured one of his toes into multiple fragments. The fracture was so severe that his toe had to be amputated, but Kenny is soldiering on. Despite his many injuries, he is one of the most gentle and accepting of our patients- we just hope that he keeps himself out of trouble for a while now!

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