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Brave-heart Award 

This page is dedicated to give you an idea on what goes on behind the scenes.  For this we have chosen for you some of our most interesting cases and stories.  

Our first case is that of Maggie, a 6 year old Ferret.  Maggie came to us as she had an ulcer on her left eye which quickly became swollen.  Unfortunately the ulcer was too big to treat medically and ran the risk of getting deeper, causing more discomfort and a potential rupture of the eye.  In Maggie's case the only option was to surgically remove the eye.  

For this, Maggie had to undergo an anaesthetic which in a small exotic pet can be extremely risky.  We always aim to reduce the risks by following the best standards of care.

For her anaesthetic she was monitored with our multiparameter ECG/ Respiratory machine and by our nurse.  A second nurse was on hand to pass instruments as needed by the Vet.  This ensures the anaesthetic nurse is never distraced from monitoring the patient under anaesthetic.  She had a catheter and tracheal tube placed and the complex surgery was carried out by our Vet.  Maggie made a full recovery and was a great patient throughout.  She was able to go home the same day.

We will keep you up dated with Maggie's progress when she comes back for her post op check.  


Diagnosing Patent Ductus Arteriosus


Ada, a 10 week old Coton De Tuleur puppy, was brought into us by her owner for a Puppy health.  She had already had a puppy check and first vaccination at 8 weeks by the breeder’s vet; however her owner wanted to get her health checked after picking her up, as most new owners do. 

Our Vet identified that Ada had a heart murmur to the left side of the heart during the routine health check.    One of the main aspects of a clinical exam is for the vet to check the heart and chest using their stethoscope.   Peter felt that the heart murmur was possibly a congenital abnormality and recommended a heart scan.  The scan showed that Ada had a quite rare, but treatable heart abnormality, Patent Ductus Arteriosus. 

Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a serious but treatable heart condition that can occur in puppies.  It is a feature of animals and humans in the womb that the aorta and the pulmonary artery are connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus.     Though necessary while in the womb, this connection should naturally rectify and detach when the puppy is born. 

Sometimes this does not happen and the two vessels stay connected.  As long as these vessels are connected and the oxygenated and non oxygenated blood is mixed, putting a strain on the heart.

This condition requires specialist heart surgery and the procedure is risky.  Peter referred Ada quickly and she was able to receive this specialist surgery before the condition started to cause a problem to Ada’s health. 

We are happy to report that the surgery was a success and Ada has made a full recovery and she no longer has a heart condition.  We were recently able to carry out her spay procedure safely and Ada continues to be a happy and healthy puppy. 

Simbas Story

Simba was brought into us by his owner, who was concerned as he had been vomiting.  On arrival at the clinic we noticed that Simba was not his usual energetic self and this was one of the first indicators that things really weren’t right. 

We admitted Simba for blood tests as he seemed very dehydrated.  The results were unremarkable and showed his vital organs such as kidneys and liver were working well.  However his electrolytes were not right due to his vomiting episodes, so he was placed on intravenous fluids straight away. 

As Simba had in the past eaten a sock, we X-rayed his abdomen to make sure there were no foreign bodies that could be causing his vomiting.  The X-ray showed there was no obvious foreign body present. 

As the day went on Simba really wasn’t responding as we would hope to the medications given or the fluids. There was little improvement and he was still listless and not himself.  Normally we would see some sort of improvement with fluids if it were a classic stomach upset, so we decided to perform an ultrasound scan.  Although the X-ray had ruled out any major foreign bodies, the ultrasound would be able to focus more intensely on the area and look at it in slightly more detail. 

Suzie carried out the ultrasound which showed there was an unusual look to one section of the intestines, which looked slightly larger and was surrounded by fluid which is not normal in a healthy animal. This was enough to cause us concern.  As Simba seemed to be deteriorating we made the decision to perform emergency surgery.  When Peter went in he was shocked to find that a large section of Simba’s small intestine had become wrapped around itself, cutting off the blood supply to that section of gut which, as a result, was effectively dead and needed to be removed.  This kind of surgery requires removing that length of intestine and then connecting the healthy ends of the remaining gut back together. If we had not gone ahead with the operation, Simba would most definitely have died.  The surgery itself is extremely risky, requiring excellent surgical skill and isn’t guaranteed to be successful. 

Once the surgery was complete, it was then a waiting game to see firstly if Simba would survive the anaesthetic (he was in a state of shock which can make the anaesthetic very risky) but also to see if the healthy gut would take and continue to function as it should.   Even up to 5 days after surgery the gut could still breakdown. 

Simba was the sweetest patient.  Even at his most critical he still gave tiny tail wags and seemed to understand that we were trying to help him.  The following day he was very flat but gradually, after intense nursing care he started to perk up and by day 3 he was taking food and able to venture into the garden for fresh air.  By the time Simba went home he was already starting to get back to his normal lively self. 

We are delighted to say that Simba has made a full recovery since his surgery and he certainly deserves this month’s Braveheart award.