Uma & the Sea Tulips

Uma, one of our well-loved patients, presented because she had gone off her food and was far from her usual bouncy self.  After some investigation by our Blue Cross Veterinary team, a suspicious, painful lump was felt within her abdomen.  X-rays confirmed this to be a life threatening blockage within her intestines and she was taken immediately to surgery.  During surgery, Uma's veterinarian, Sarah, removed two foreign objects from within her intestine.  These were later identified as sea tulips, a type of sea sponge that commonly wash up on Oamaru beaches.  Sea tulips seem to be particularly attractive snacks to dogs but do not digest within the stomach and therefore pose the risk of causing blockages.  Uma's case highlights the dangers of these tulips to smaller dogs so please take care when you see these on the beach.

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Zephyr learns the road rules!

Like many cats before him, Zephyr learnt the dangers of the road the hard way after he was hit by a car.  When he was brought into our Veterinary Centre he had sustained major injuries to his jaw which was fractured in three places as well as breaking several teeth and suffering from a concussion.  After two days of intensive care in our pet hospital, Zephyr was strong enough to undergo surgery to repair his fractured jaw and remove his broken teeth.  As part of this surgery, Zephyrs jaw was wired shut and a feeding tube was placed into his oesophagus to enable our Blue Cross nurses and his owner to feed him while he healed.  Six weeks later, Zephyr is doing well, the wire has been removed from his jaw and he is back to his normal self, although hopefully steering clear of the road.

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Veterinary Centre's Pig Spey!

At the Veterinary Centre, we regularly spey cats and dogs. We spey rabbits less frequently. Our vets have even speyed guinea pigs and rats. We are now excited to report that last week, for the first time in the Veterinary Centre's history, we speyed a pet pig.

Pigs make wonderful pets that can live long and full lives. Speying female pigs eliminates the significant changes in behaviour that can be seen every three weeks with their hormonal cycle. It also minimises the risk of hormonally driven cancer.

Our pig's procedure required a unique medical and surgical approach. Pigs have a much more winding reproductive tract and a very deep abdomen. 

For much loved pigs that need the best of care, the Veterinary Centre will be only too glad to have this surgical opportunity again.

Murphy's Menacing Molar

Murphy was visiting the Veterinary Centre for a routine check-up when his owners mentioned that he had quite bad breath. An oral examination revealed he had a bit of a build-up of tartar on his teeth and he was admitted to the hospital to give them a good clean and polish. During this procedure, it was noticed that the gum around one of his molars was a bit inflamed. An x-ray of this tooth revealed an abscess at the root of this tooth meaning it needed to be removed. After his dental, Murphy's owners reported he has a new lease on life, is playing more, wagging his tail and is generally much happier. They had no idea that he was suffering from chronic pain associated with a tooth root abscess and are amazed at the difference in him. Dental disease is extremely common in our pets and may be the cause of significant pain that goes un-noticed. Please don't hesitate to bring your pet into your Blue Cross Veterinary Centre for a dental check-up to ensure they are not suffering in silence.

Clem's Waterworks

Clem is a speyed 7 year old German Shorthaired Pointer. Her owners noticed she was having some 'water works' problems. She was squatting excessively to wee while out for walks and was constantly wanting in and out at home to go to the toilet.

Clem was brought into her local Veterinary Centre to be assessed by one of our Blue Cross team. She was admitted into the hospital. A urine sample was collected and her bladder ultrasounded to find out the cause of her behaviour.

No obvious issues were found so a sterile urine sample was collected. A microscopic analysis at our hospital lab revealed large numbers of bacteria in the sample which was determined to be the cause of her troubles.

Clem was started on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. We saw her back the next week for a follow up check. Her owners happily reported her urination frequency had returned to normal. A repeat urine check was also given the all clear.

Problems with your pets 'water works' can be caused by numerous things - so it's always important to have them checked out to ensure the correct management/treatment can be instigated.

 

Skin Cancer in Cats

Even as winter approaches there is still some heat in the afternoon sun.  Cats with a light coloured coat are prone to skin cancer, particularly on the nose and ears.  The first thing that may be noticed is redness, ulceration and scabbing of these areas which eventually become thickened, and may bleed or become infected.  Whilst this cancer is locally destructive, it is generally very slow to spread.  Tiny lesions can be treated with electrocautery or liquid nitrogen but more advanced cases may require surgical removal.  Removal of the ear tips or nose may be needed.  This may leave the cat looking less than fabulous, but these structures are not required for survival or a good quality of life.  Mini, is one of our brave patients who recently underwent surgery to remove the tip of his nose after being diagnosed with more advanced skin cancer.  He is currently in remission and living happily.  Please contact the Veterinary Centre by the Big Blue Cross if you see any suspicious lesions on the nose or ears so that the problem can be addressed early.

Tramp's Close Brush with Tree Nettle

Tramp, a healthy, young working huntaway was out mustering with his owner when he suddenly began salivating and convulsing.  Thirty minutes earlier, Tramp had run through a patch of tree nettle (Ongaonga), a poisonous weed that is common in the South Island.  Tree nettle is one of New Zealand's most poisonous native plants.  It can cause neurological problems, respiratory distress and has been responsible for deaths in dogs, horses and one person.  Fortunately Tramp made it to the Veterinary Centre in the nick of time.  He was in severe shock and unresponsive on arrival and needed to be placed onto IV fluids and an induced coma overnight to stop his seizures.  He also received anti-histamine, steroids and antimine (an antidote) after his quick thinking vet, Luke recognized the symptoms of tree nettle toxicity.  Fortunately, Tramp responded very well to treatment and is now expected to make a full recovery.

Milli's Misplaced Micturition*

Meet Milli one of our recent superpooch patients:

Milli suffered from a wet bottom due to constant dribbling of urine (urinary incontinence) since she was a young pup and her owners were understandably keen to get to the bottom of her problem.  Blood and urine tests at the Veterinary Centre revealed a urinary tract infection which was treated with appropriate antibiotics.  However, Milli's dribbling persisted and further investigation was needed.  An excretory urogram was performed which involves a special dye being injected into Milli's blood stream and x-rays used to monitor its path through the kidneys and into the bladder.  Milli was diagnosed with an ectopic ureter!  This is where the tube that normally transports urine from the kidneys to the bladder, instead by-passes the bladder and empties into the vagina causing constant dribbling.  Milli's vets performed a surgery to move this tube back to its correct location - a first for Veterinary Centre Oamaru!  Milli has made an outstanding recovery and now has a nice dry bottom and is back to enjoying life on the farm with her family.

* Micturition is the ejection of uring from the urinary bladder through the urethra to the outside of the body