This page will be used for interesting, unusual, and sometimes common cases, to illustrate what goes on at Fenton Vets. It could be your moggie or mut! We will always ask your permission first.
Sometimes the weird and wonderful can be interesting. However, 'common things are common' and can make for a great story.
Case # 1. 'Ginger' Hall
'Ginger' is a teenage domestic short haired cat, missing one eye from an incident as a kitten. He came to the clinic in January and February with vague signs of illness. He had difficulty eating, occasional vomiting and had lost some weight. One tooth could be seen to be troubling him. But was there more to it than met the eye?
We recommended sending a blood sample to the lab to check his general health before dealing with the offending tooth The results came back showing a large increase in the levels of thyroid hormone, with the remainder of the tests normal. 'Ginger' was diagnosed as having an over-active thyroid gland, a fairly common condition in older cats. Complications of this condition include heart failure and high blood pressure, so it can be a serious problem. Fortunately there are several good treatment options. (It is usually seen in cats eight years and over. Most have an excessive appetite but yet are losing weight, and are hyperactive. 'Ginger' showed some but not all of the typical signs).
'Ginger' started taking tablets twice daily to lower the hormone levels, and had some painkillers and antibiotics to give some relief from the tooth problem. After about two weeks on tablets, he was admitted for an operation to remove his over-active thyroid glands. The glands are found in the neck either side of the trachea (windpipe) and are about the size of a baked bean. Stuck to the thyroid gland is a tiny parathyroid gland which we do not remove. It's a fiddly little thing, but it controls blood calcium levels and needs to be preserved.
Below left is 'Ginger' showing his neck after the operation, and below right is during op. The thyroid gland is the oval red structure between the tip of the forceps on the left, the cotton bud tip on the right, and the metal retractor tip at the bottom.
'Ginger' had both thyroid glands removed, and the sore tooth extracted on the 2nd March 2007. He is now off all medicines, and eating well and gaining weight. He has been signed off now, and we wish him well for the future. Below is his final post op check up, a picture of health for an old one eyed cat!
Case # 2. 'Sally' Eaton-Evans
'Sally' is a young cross-breed dog who presented to the practice in March 2007 with difficulty breathing and coughing up blood. She was clearly very ill and required emergency treatment with intravenous fluids and oxygen. An x-ray was taken of her chest. This seemed to show bleeding throughout the lung tissue.
A provisional diagnosis was made of a blood clotting disorder associated with a lungworm parasitic infestation. This is a roundworm infection dogs can pick up from eating slugs and snails, and is more commonly found in certain areas of Wales, Devon and Cornwall, but it is recognised in other parts of the UK. The condition is not very well understood at this time. It causes blood clotting problems, and can affect the lungs, eyes and nervous system. Treatment for this condition began immediately.
A range of samples were sent to the laboratory. 'Sally' improved steadily over the next few days, and was discharged whilst we awaited the lab results. The tests showed marked anaemia, with many changes to the blood clotting profile. They also confirmed lungworm infestation (angiostrongylosis).
'Sally' recovered rapidly and was soon her old self. Further testing one month later was negative for the offending worm, and showed that her blood count had returned to normal. There have been no further bleeding episodes since.
There are currently no UK licensed medicines (*) that are known to protect against this parasite. However, 'Sally' has started using a monthly anti-parasitic which will give some protection against a wide range of worms, and fleas and mites. We hope that it may soon be licensed and approved as a preventative medicine for this serious illness. Lungworm infestation is a condition that we may expect to see more frequently if our climate continues to become warmer, and may be a consideration when picking flea and worm prevention products.