Today the first operation of the day was a cat for a mid-line spay. However, as I have seen quite a lot of spays I did not watch this but instead observed a dog having its blood pressure taken and an ultrasound done as part of a kidney investigation. However, there were no obvious indicators so a discussion needed to be had with the owner regarding what to do next.
A basset hound was brought in limping. After an examination, the vet found that touching the muscle was painful whilst the joints were all fine. Limping can take a long time to subside on a basset hound because it is so hard for them to walk on three legs. Therefore, the vet prescribed anti-inflammatories and lots of rest. He suggested that the dog was separated from the Jack Russell terrier it lived with and given at the most 4 very short walks a day. If they maintained this for two weeks before building up exercise again, recovery would be a much quicker process.
A family with two dogs and a cat were brought in for their booster vaccinations, but they also had a host of other issues to discuss with the vet. One of the dogs had bad hind legs with muscle wastage and arthritis. The vet talked to the owner about trying Nutraquin, the product the drug rep had come in about on Monday, as the vet was very keen to see how effective the nutraceuticals could be. The cat had a small which the vet thought was probably from a tick. He explained that the cat’s immune system should deal with the tick’s snout if it was still under the skin whilst the best tick treatment is prevention, for many owners do not realise that advocate does not affect ticks so different treatments are needed.
When a greyhound came in for his booster, Roland did the general check-up, exclaiming about its very loud heart beat. He started telling me about the strong heart of a greyhound and the fantastic electrocardiograms they create. This was what he did his dissertation on, and it was brilliant to listen to his enthusiasm over it. This particular greyhound had a very sensitive stomach so the owners had to be very careful to constantly monitor the food it was eating.
An adorable German Shepherd puppy was brought in for its second booster. The vet discussed some training techniques which would be important to put in place. These could include using a whistle or taking him to puppy training classes. We also looked at the hip and elbow scores the breeder had carried out under the Kennel Club. The elbow score is on a scale of 0 to 3, with 0 being the best and 3 being the most severe, an indicator of elbow dysplasia. This puppy had an elbow score of 0, despite German Shepherds having a higher incidence of elbow dysplasia. The hip score is on a scale of 0 to 106 (53 for each hip), with the lowest scores indicating the least degree of hip dysplasia present. Luckily, this puppy had a relatively low score of 11/12.
A miniature poodle was brought in for a pre-castrate check up but it also suffered with many different problems. This included sciatica, a curved spine and a slipped disk for which it was having hydro and physiotherapy. However, it also had a urine infection, shown by the increased red and white blood cells as well as minerals in the urine. The particular mineral was struvite, the build up of which can lead to urinary tract stones. The vet suggested they should not go ahead with the castrate but prescribed a course of antibiotics then a re-check with the hope of going ahead with it in 10 days time.
Next, a female ferret (jill) on heat was brought in. Roland showed me the swollen vulva and the owner explained she’d seen a small, but luckily not excessive, amount of blood. However, seasons can be very dangerous for a jill if not mated. They can cause fur to fall out along their sides and possible anaemia, even death, if the season is prolonged. Therefore, every three months, this ferret was given a hormone injection to stop the season.
A cat was brought in with TB. When I was told it had TB, I began to worry because of the scare in March when two pet owners caught TB from their infected cats. However, the vet assured me that this was caused Mycobacterium microti. Tuberculosis is most regularly caused by M. tuberculosis, M. bovis, or M. microti. M. tuberculosis causes more than 90% of tuberculosis in humans whilst very rarely causes infection in cats, probably because they are naturally resistant to it. Mycobacterium bovis infects cows, badgers, deer, dogs, cats and humans as well as many other animals. Although all members of the tuberculosis complex pose potential zoonotic risk, it was this zoonose which was transferred from the cats to their owners. It is as a result of the number of species it affects as to why it has caused so much trouble on farms. However, M.microti is only known to cause infection in voles and cats. The cat brought in was a keen hunter and it was likely it had caught TB from a vole. This cat had lesions on its paws, probably from where the vole had bitten it, transferring the bacteria. But more severely, I was shown an x-ray of its chest and saw the damaged lungs, covered in scar tissue. Treatment involved 6 months of antibiotic medication to ensure all the bacteria were destroyed. However, this particular cat refused to take medication. As a result they had inserted a feeding tube directly into through the neck and into the oesophagus. This meant that the medication could be syringed using a needle into the tube. But, two weeks into treatment, the tube become blocked causing the cat to gag and wretch whilst the owner could not inject the medication. An x-ray was taken, showing that the tube had folded over. Immediately they put the at under anaesthetic and reinserted the tube before taking another x-ray, confirming that the tube was back in place ready for the next six months.
Next, a 14-year old border collie was brought in for a blood test to review medication. It had previously had a lump removed from its liver and although it had very bad arthritis in its back legs, the current liver medication was maintaining the dog in good health. However, now the dog was steady, it was a good opportunity to consider changing the liver medication to a cheaper alternative to be administered less frequently.
A cat was brought in for a booster vaccination. Whilst doing the general check-up, the vet noted the fantastic weight of 4.45kg, reduced from 6.20kg, resulting in a much improved body condition score. He also pointed out the tartar on the cat’s teeth and showed them how it could be picked off with your nail. However, there were also signs of gingivitis which could only be improved if they chose to have the teeth scaled in a dental.
A very cute pygmy hedgehog was brought in with a lump on its tummy. Once the hedgehog was uncurled, we got a moment to have a look and Roland though it was either an abscess which had formed as a result of infection, or a growth. They discussed the option of anaesthetizing and taking a sample for further investigation, but the owners to start with antibiotics and then review progress. This hedgehog was now five years old and kept as a pet, being fed dry cat food and fruit. It is something I have never seen before and I’m not sure whether make particularly good pets, as they are not sociable with humans.
Finally, a dog was brought in with a limp it had suffered with for some time. It was the result of a lump near the nail of the toe. It had not responded to metacam so they decided to try antibiotic in case it was an infection. They could also consider taking a sample or doing an x-ray to explore some further options of the cause.