Smoke and Her Tumour

Smoke the Huntaway, presented to the Veterinary Centre Oamaru after having a seizure.  Her Blue Cross vet, Bridget, found that Smoke's blood sugar levels were extremely low.  After further tests Smoke was diagnosed with a rare tumour on her pancreas called an Insulinoma.  These tumours produce a massive amount of insulin (the hormone normally used to treat diabetics).  This over supply of insulin was the cause of Smoke's low blood sugar levels and seizure.  A technical surgery was performed to remove Smoke's tumour.  During surgery a bright blue dye was administered into her vein, to 'light up' the tumour on her pancreas so her veterinary surgeon could find it.  Smoke's surgery was a success.  The following day Smoke's sugar levels had returned to normal and she was looking a lot happier.  The surgery means Smoke has more time to continue to do her favourite thing - barking at sheep!

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Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can be life threatening!

Now that summer has arrived, it is important to make sure your dogs, cats, rabbits and other furry friends have access to plenty of drinking water and shade to escape the heat if they are getting too hot.

NEVER leave your animal in the car on a hot day.  An outside temperature of 24 degrees can jump to 50 degrees in just half an hour.

Signs of heat stroke include restlessness, agitation, whining, panting, foaming at the mouth or drooling, elevated heart rate, muscle tremors and red gums.

If your pet is showing signs of heat stroke - first hose them down with water, give them a drink, pop them in the shade and call us immediately at the Blue Cross Veterinary Centre for further assistance.


Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament

In August of this year, Jetty the Labrador ruptured the cranial cruciate ligament of his left knee, leaving him extremely debilitated.  Shortly after this, Jetty became the first dog to undergo a cutting-edge surgery in Oamaru known as the tibial tuberosity advancement procedure (TTA) to treat this injury.

The cranial cruciate ligament (known as the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL in humans) is an important ligament of the knee joint.  In many dogs, this ligament degenerates and weakens with age.  Consequently, tearing or complete rupture of this ligament is the most common orthopaedic problem that we as veterinarians see.

The TTA procedure involves making a cut in the front of the shin bone to move it further forward and then putting in a titanium wedge implant made by a 3D printer that fits each dog.

Jetty's surgery went extremely well and since then Jetty hasn't looked back and is enjoying the freedom of being active and having fun with his owners again.  Our Veterinary Centre professional team are very excited in knowing what this operation will mean for our clients.

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Summer Skin Damage

With spring well underway it is important to keep our dogs safe in the sun.  White dogs, those with sparse hair coats or short-haired breeds, are particularly prone to solar damage from UV rays, even on cloudy days.  What starts as an irritating sunburn can lead to more serious conditions from solar dermatitis through to serious skin cancers.

Prevention is better than cure, so to help our pets avoid getting red in the face we can help protect them from the sun.  Keeping dogs indoors during the peak UV exposure times (11am-3pm) and making shade available is important.  Using one of our pet-safe creams or powder sun-blocks on vulnerable areas will help.

Checking your pet regularly is important especially in dogs already living with skin allergies.  Noses and less haired areas are key spots to check for signs of damage so that we can treat early.

Our Blue Cross Veterinary team are happy to talk you through sun-protection strategies or investigate skin disease.

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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.