Happy Tails highlights interesting cases and stories of our patients and staff. Please check back periodically for a new pick me up tail!
Happy Tails – Bamboo
From time to time, as pet owners, we will all see some diarrhea. It doesn’t matter, dog or cat, there is sometimes a mess to clean up and a reason behind it. Usually it is as simple as “we had a party and I saw someone feed him a hot dog”. But what if it isn’t? What if it goes on for weeks? That is what happened to poor Bamboo and his owner.
When Bamboo came to us, he had had diarrhea for 2 months and had a regular fecal examination done as well as deworming and a trial of a special diet. He was living with two other cats and according to the owner, when he used the litter box he could “clear a room” it smelled so bad. Our little friend came in as a 6 month old Bengal and had been purchased from a breeder.
The first step for us was to clear Bamboo for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). The reason for this is most cats can clear simple infections on their own. When they can’t, there may be an under-lying problem preventing their immune system from working properly. We were fortunate that the test was negative as this could have been a very serious issue for Bamboo and cats he lives with.
Next was the big test – something called a Feline Diarrhea Panel. It looks for even the smallest piece of DNA (genetic material) from 11 different diseases that can all cause diarrhea in cats. Some can also make people sick and since Bamboo had problems for so long, we wanted to act quickly. Just like people, cats can get Salmonella, Campylobacter and Giardia. The results were back in just a couple of days and to our surprise two diseases showed up. Feline Coronavirus is found quite commonly and usually is quite manageable by the cat’s own system unless there is another issue. The other positive was Tritrichomonas foetus. This is still fairly rare in Canada so it was a bit of a surprise. This is a single celled organism that colonizes the lower intestine of the cat and causes mucous and bloody diarrhea. Untreated cats can be contagious for a very long time. It is frequently seen in certain catteries where there are large numbers of cats.
By knowing what we were dealing with we were able to start treatment. This involved ordering a special drug that is not approved in dogs and cats but is the only one known to work. It needs to be made in a form that is dose appropriate for cats as too much can cause nervous system side effects.
The good news is that Bamboo is doing much better! He still has some diarrhea issues but that may be because of the T. foetus living in his system for so long that he made need a while to settle down and his intestines to act normally. The horrible odour is gone and he is not contagious to others now. We are all so happy he has responded to treatment so everyone can go back to a normal life.
Meet – Bucky
Sometimes an owner’s dedication can make all the difference to how a case turns out. Bucky and his “mom” are a great example of this. Bucky is a 6 year old Pug that came to see us in November of 2014 to have a look at some lumps. Unfortunately they were cancerous and a very tricky type of cancer. He had mast cell tumours. What makes these special is they can have far reaching fingers of tissue that can’t be seen by a surgeon while removing the main lump. For this reason, very large amounts of tissue have to be taken to make sure all the abnormal cells come out. The other reason these are special is these tumours are made up of mast cells that are basically little packages of histamine. When mast cells are tampered with, these packages get released and can wreak havoc on all sorts of things – can make a dog go into shock, can damage the tissue in that area, and break sutures apart.
Well, Bucky is one of those unfortunate individuals that are prone to these tumours. Despite knowing we had complete removal of the first tumours (with the help of a pathologist); he was back in February with another one, and again in September of 2015. This one was on the back of his back leg. Certain parts of the body leave us limited as to how much skin we can take and whether there was too much movement after surgery when his leg moved or whether there were cancer cells hiding in the remaining tissue, Bucky’s incision opened up. It was put back together once surgically but did not stay together and by mid-October the area had opened up again.
This began a long road of wound care. If Bucky stopped taking antibiotics, the area started to ooze pus. He had to wear an e-collar to prevent him licking and doing damage. First Dermagel was applied to encourage a healthy granulation bed. When that stopped helping, silver sulfadiazine cream was alternated with Manuka honey applied on the wound and eventually only honey. The progress was incredibly slow until the beginning of February and then all of a sudden it was the end of February and the edges had closed in. Bucky was free of his Elizabethan collar and his antibiotics.
Bucky’s owner was fabulous – the area required regular cleaning and treatments daily. Bucky came weekly for checks for a long time then every two weeks until closed. Although a lot of work, with a personality like Bucky’s, no one could give up. Since his last surgery it has been decided he will continue on steroids to try and prevent further recurrence of more tumours. There are no guarantees and the steroids may cause other damage but there are limits to how much more surgery Bucky and his owner can deal with. This is our best chance to keep him as healthy as possible in the circumstances.
The sweetness that we see in Bucky every time he is in makes all this worthwhile. Thanks for being such a great patient/family.
Grumpy Cat – the Hazeldean Animal Hospital Edition
Many of our clients know how Dean, our clinic cat, came to us, but a few don’t. We thought we would share our own happy tail (or at least as happy as Dean can be) with all of you to give you hope with cats who have the same problem as him.
Dean came to us Dec. 13, 2012, just after we opened. We are his third or possibly fourth home. He had been seen at veterinarians numerous times for inappropriate urination. His home before us was fed up and told us that if we wanted him, we could have him but otherwise he was on his way to the Humane Society. His future did not look good as not many people want to adopt a peeing cat, even one as handsome as Dean.
We started from scratch. Dean had a urine sample done and was full of crystals. An X-ray was taken to ensure he did not have a bladder stone and then treatment began. He was taken off the pet store “urinary food” and placed on Royal Canin Urinary SO. At this point we were highly suspicious of a condition called interstitial cystitis. This is an inflammation of the bladder wall that causes pain, and often has a base in stress. The crystals made it impossible to say if crystals were the main issue or not. At one point Dean was so painful, he would sit and squat with only drips of bloody urine coming out. He was started on a protocol of Cartrophen (pentosane polysulfate). We gave him fluids under the skin to make his urine more dilute and Valium to relax him and tried to convince him canned food was the cat’s meow. Dean, being Dean, decided canned food was a definite NO. This would have been better as is makes a more dilute urine but with cats, sometimes we do not have a choice.
Ten days after arriving, another urinalysis showed the crystals were gone. From time to time we were still seeing blood in Dean’s urine but the inappropriate urination stopped. We continue to this day with monthly Cartrophen injections and if we forget, within a couple of days he seems “off”. Now, we still see some pee – but in predictable circumstances like bringing in a new “friend” for Dean that cornered him regularly or when he was by himself when Hazel retired. Dean’s issue is stress. This fits with interstitial cystitis. The only true way to diagnose is with biopsies of the bladder but we treated Dean on suspicion after ruling out the other typical causes why a cat will urinate outside of the box. In many instances, with perseverance, a peeing cat can be controlled.
The other thing Dean is prone to is vomiting. He has regular shavings, not because we like to laugh at him but because hairballs become a daily ritual for him and stop as soon as we shorten his coat.
Please feel free to drop in and say hello to Dean. He likes the public far better than he likes the staff. We are just servants in his world.
We wanted to bring you these pictures to show you the dangers of sticks and dogs. Milo like most dogs loves to play a good game of fetch. Milo learned that fetch sometimes is not safe for dogs as a branch isn’t always a predictable toy. On Wednesday morning, Milo’s grandpa was throwing a stick for Milo like they always play, but on one throw the stick got lodged in the mud and stuck up in the air. Then Milo ran at the stick and impaled himself on the stick. This then resulted in Milo lacerating the base of his tongue. There was a little bit of blood but Milo was just not himself.
When Milo arrived to see us there was a little blood on his front leg and also on his tail but nothing too exciting. Seeing into Milo’s mouth was a bit of a challenge, but there were some minor abrasions at the back of the mouth but I couldn’t see well under Milo’s tongue. We moved to the treatment area to get a better look with our procedure lighting and I could see that Milo was in fact cut under his tongue so we needed to go to surgery.
In surgery, we couldn’t believe what we found. The lingual artery was sitting there completely exposed as you can see in this picture. If the stick had been a little stronger then this artery would have been severed and he would have bled out and died. Milo was actually a very lucky boy to still be with us. His tongue was stitched and he continues to recover. He is having trouble drinking because lapping is difficult with a stitched tongue. Overall Milo will recover just fine, but no more fetch for him.
Emma and Caleb
We love and enjoy our patients here at Hazeldean Animal Hospital and we always try to help. Sometimes it is in their best interest that we send them to a specialist to make sure the safest and easiest treatments are used. This is the story of two dogs with similar problems that were solved in different ways, both with happy endings.
Emma is an adorable Cairn Terrier and like all terriers, she can get into mischief. She came to us one morning after vomiting several times through the night. She had been for a hike a day before and her owner thought she saw her eating something but it was gone before she got to it. X-rays are not perfect – they are all shades of grey so with some uncertainty, Emma was given some Barium which highlights the digestive tract. I looked like there was something might be stuck in her esophagus but as things moved well we decided to wait overnight and see. The next morning, the weird shape was still in her esophagus, so a decision was made to refer her to a larger facility.
The esophagus is the tube from the mouth to the stomach and it squeezes through between the lungs to get to its destination. It is not an easy place to do surgery and the esophagus doesn’t heal very well once there is a hole in it. If possible, an endoscope can go down through the mouth to the site of the blockage. This piece of equipment is kind of like a long tubular camera that has another tube with it that you can send equipment – like grabby things- through.
The whole piece is less than a centimeter across to it can go through tiny holes. This is the equipment that was used with Emma. She was put under an anesthetic and the endoscope was sent down and managed to pull out a piece of bone, possibly from a bird. She recovered without problems and still loves to go for hikes.
Caleb is a beautiful 2 year old Golden Retriever who also loves an adventure. He came into the hospital after vomiting all night. His mom is very careful about Caleb but he had been away from her for a few days. Since Caleb does like to eat things he shouldn’t, an X-ray was taken and there were 2 rocks in his stomach!
These were very large and though an endoscope can take out small things and things that won’t cut as they are being pulled up, there is a limit to what it can do. Caleb’s rocks were far too big to be pulled up – in fact, it was hard to believe how he even swallowed them! Within a couple of hours, he had surgery, the large sharp rocks were removed and he was recovering comfortably in his cage. He has done well since going home but his owner says he still loves rocks and needs close supervision.
These two lovely dogs both had foreign bodies in their digestive system but were treated in completely different ways and have both done well. Every patient is an individual and we always treat each one as special. The goal is always to have a healthy and happy pet.
Happy Tails – Lucky
The world is constantly changing. This is especially true in the field of veterinary medicine with new technologies, new drugs, new tests. This area is evolving and it takes work to stay current and provide the best care for animals. One thing we don’t think about is the changing of diseases. This does happen and creates new areas where we need to be alert to changes in our pets.
This was certainly the case in October of 2014 when a sweet little dog named Lucky came in to see us. Lucky was 8 at the time and lives in the area of our practice. She hangs out in the area, doesn’t travel and got a new buddy in August. With no major health issues, life was looking pretty good. Then we got a phone call from Lucky’s owner saying she was bleeding from her mouth. Now a 8 year old Shih Tzu quite commonly has bad teeth so first thought was dental disease, even though we had not noted this on her record before. When she came in she was her usual self and a little cuddle and rub started the exam.
I feel it is rude to just start poking into private places so instead gave her ear a little scratch and flipped it back before looking in her mouth. Lucky had a bruise inside her ear flap – bad little puppy brothers do bite ears! When I looked in the back of her mouth she was actively bleeding but the teeth looked good. Then I had mom stand her on her hind legs. She was all bruised on her belly! I got that sinking feeling – this could be immune mediated thrombocytopenia. This disease chews up the platelets that are responsible for helping blood to clot. She would need immunosuppressive drugs for months and with no guarantees. Bloodwork confirmed that no platelets could be found either with our blood machine or by our technician. We started the drugs with no time to spare but sent away for a 4Dx. This is a test that checks for heartworm, Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia (tick transmitted diseases). When the test results arrived the next morning it was surprising to see that Lucky was positive for Anaplasmosis. A change of treatment was made to an antibiotic that works on this disease for 3 weeks. After just one week, Lucky’s platelet numbers were at the high end of the normal range!
The 4Dx test is carried in the hospital for most of the heartworm and tick season. The test itself takes about 8 minutes to run and we have seen a huge increase in Lyme cases. Anaplasmosis is much more rare and Lucky was not considered to be in the high risk group. These disease can lie dormant in the body for some time so these tests are becoming more and more valuable as incidences increase.
We originally met Gropoli in March 2013. The owners were concerned that their 11 year old Collie mix had gained a lot of weight over the past 2 years, and was unable to go on walks due to pain and stiffness. Dr. Adepoju was quite concerned as well, as on exam, Gropoli just wanted to lay down, had poor coat and was very sore on his back and hips. We discussed Gropoli’s condition at length and discussed quality of life since Gropoli did not seem to be having much fun at that moment. His winter had been hard, and he was not wanting to do a lot of normal activities other than just lie around. It was decided that we would proceed with bloodwork to see what our next steps would be.
Gropoli’s results returned and gave us some good news. His thyroid level would not even register on the scale as they were so low. Normal values should be between 30 – 40 nmol/L. This was good news because this was another reason that Gropoli was feeling low: hypothyroidism. If we were only dealing with pain from arthritis, prognosis was poor for making Gropoli feel much better. But, with the two conditions making Gropoli feel badly, we had a chance to give him a new lease on life.
We started Gropoli on an anti-inflammatory medication and thyroid hormone. After having to move to a second anti-inflammatory medication due to side effects, we found the mix that worked him. In April we saw Gropoli for his repeat bloodwork. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Adepoju’s medical notes “Dog looks amazing – still showing some lameness but ultimately a new dog. Has lost 9.25 lbs.” It has now been almost 2 years and Gropoli continues to do well. He has lost over 19 lbs and continues on his anti-inflammatory and thyroid medications. He has even escaped on a couple of occasions because he is feeling so much better. At 13 years young he is still going strong.
Friendship has always been very important to me. I support my friends however I can and value their support of me. One Monday night, however, my responsibilities as a friend collided with my clinic in a way none of us had planned. It all worked out in the end and new bonds were formed but it was a scary evening for the Hazeldean Animal Hospital family for a while.
My dear friend Ron called me the afternoon of that day to say that his much loved Gladys seemed to be trying to nest and deliver her puppies but abnormal liquid was coming out. R and R farms are experienced Bouvier breeders so I knew something was wrong. The problem: they live well over an hour away. After some discussion, Ron decided to bring Gladys to me so I could have a look. I knew it was time to call in the troops. In all likelihood this would be a Caesarian section which needs lots of people. It was our technician, Sonja’s first, and she was especially excited. Although these are lots of work, there is a great deal of joy with these procedures as you hear new puppies cry and watch them wiggle.
When Ron and his partner Robert arrived at the clinic, there was something very wrong. An X-ray was taken but it was hard to see detail (not normal) and so Gladys was prepared immediately for surgery. As the incision was made, the problem became evident. Gladys’s uterus had ruptured. It then became uncertain if there would be live puppies. Dr. Lawana and I both scrubbed in and started to lift out puppies. Six vigorous pups all out and handed off to Sonja and Kathy to keep stabilized and warm. By now the uterus was falling apart and still one pup to go. The poor little mite was lifted out floppy and non-responsive and placed in Ron’s hands. “Go ahead and try” I said. Within a minute of vigorous rubbing, that little one had the loudest voice of all.
Our troubles were not over, however. Gladys was bleeding and with two surgeons clamping and tying off bleeders it still didn’t feel like we were getting ahead of the game. We pushed on, removing her reproductive tract, giving her fluids and stabilizing her. Saving her was a huge priority, not only because she is such a sweet and well-loved pet, but it was unthinkable to have seven puppies with no mom to get them through the first few weeks. Finally things started to look better, her incision was closed and the anesthesia was turned off. Within a short time, Gladys was awake and happily nursing her puppies.
We will never know why Gladys got into trouble with this delivery. She had had larger litters, had a normal pregnancy and has thrived since the puppies have grown and left to go to their new homes. We had the joy of seeing them eight weeks later as we went to the farm to see what all our hard work had done. Beautiful, playful puppies!
It was a very late night, loads and loads of laundry, instruments to clean, and the work after seemed a bit endless. The pizza delivery guy even got to see these pups just minutes old! Our Hazeldean family is very proud of how it all turned out and I am grateful that my friends put their trust in me.
Kittens are cute, there is no arguing that. Ten years ago in October one of our clients had a 4 month old orange tabby walk into their lives. Patrick was quite the boy and was sweet but could be independent at times. He loved going outside. This was Patrick’s life for the next 8 years or so. Gradually he started slowing down, was not as interested in going outside and seemed to be getting a little grumpy. Most people would just think he was getting older, the natural progression. Patrick’s owner was concerned and so in October she came to see us.
Patrick was indeed an unhappy boy. This was not the same sweet kitten that I had known years before. A peek in his mouth left me suspicious. There were some missing teeth and in their place red bumps on the gums. Other teeth still visible had bright red spots on them. When touched, his jaw jumped up and down uncontrollably. Had Patrick stopped eating? No way. Patrick liked food but his mouth was clearly an issue. Could this be the reason he no longer wanted to go outside? There was only one way to be sure. After a discussion about risks and cost, Patrick’s owner decided to go ahead with a dental cleaning. What that involved was a general anesthetic allowing us to assess each tooth individually. Dental X-rays help to determine the health of each tooth. We examine the crowns, any missing roots and any pockets indicating abscesses.
When the X-rays were completed, we could see Patrick needed some help. He had a special condition seen mostly in cats but occasionally dogs where the roots of the teeth were being changed to bone. What Patrick was left with was a crown with a hole in it creating a source of pain. The treatment is something called crown amputation. As much recognizable tooth as possible is removed, and then the gums are stitched over the opening which allows everything to heal.
This is a big procedure and can take some time to recover from. We were thrilled when we called to check on Patrick the next day that he already seemed happier than he had in a while.
A common question (mostly joking) is “Do cats get dentures?” The answer is no. Most cats losing as many teeth as Patrick go on to eat canned food as they have lost the ability to grind dry food well. We are so happy to have been able to relieve Patrick’s pain.
Mocha came to meet us on our opening day, October 29, 2012. She is a lovable Chocolate Lab who is full of energy. She came to visit us due to chronic ear infections, but her owner brought up her weight as a concern and asked us if we could help. Mocha weighed 50.18kg (110.4lbs) and was classified as a 5 out of 5 body condition score (BCS). We measure all pets’ BCS on appointment. The scale is a 5 point scale with 1 being emaciated, 3 being ideal, and 5 being obese. The answer of course was yes we can help you.
Mocha was a moderately active family dog living with a 4 year old child, who was fed a commercially available diet and lots of extras as well. Mocha was also showing some signs of discomfort in her joints, likely due to the excess weight. Mocha is a chronically hungry dog so we decided to start with Royal Canin Satiety. This is a diet specifically made to help keep the pet feeling full with the addition of Psyllium fibre. The diet also has added chondroitin and glucosamine to help with joint health while losing weight.
Initial efforts stabilized Mocha’s weight gain, but we did not have much weight loss in the first two weeks. Dr. Adepoju then asked Mocha’s owner to bring in the 4 year old to join the team to reduce Mocha’s weight. This is often the key to success. After some tough discussions with Mocha’s human brother, we were all set to forage ahead. Since these discussions, the child has been the biggest advocate for Mocha and the strictest on making Mocha stick to her diet.
From November 13, 2012 to August 10, 2013 (9 months) Mocha has lost 16 kg (35.2 lbs). At that time we decided that at 33.8kg (74.4lbs) Mocha was a BCS of 3.25 and it was time to start transitioning her to a maintenance diet. Initially we started by increasing her diet food, and then plan to switch her onto Royal Canin Weight Control for Large Dogs. We are in the process of doing that now and Mocha continues to do great. She is full of energy and her joints are just fine now. Weight Control will continue to provide her with increased fibre to help maintain her weight and the Large Breed Formulas give the added help of glucosamine and chondroitin for the joints. So overall we have a new dog. The statistics show that a lean Labrador will on average live 2 years longer than its overweight counterpart, and we are glad we could be a part of this amazing transition.
He was a 5 month old bull mastiff puppy when he first came to us in April 2013. He was obtained from a Kijiji ad and was found in very poor conditions. He was living in a small crate that was coated in feces and urine that he could not stand up in. The new owners took him home as they could not leave him in these conditions. This happens all too often, and the people who placed the ad are compensated which keeps the cycle going.
On presentation Joe weighed 51.5 lbs and was at least 20 lbs underweight. He also suffered from carpal laxity syndrome, which was likely in his case, due to not bearing weight on his front legs for extended periods of time and malnutrition. What this looks like is the dog is almost walking on his wrist and his toes are very spread out to help support his body weight. This happens because the ligaments at the back of the front legs are stretched. At over 50 lbs this would be quite painful when standing. Joe also would defecate where he was lying because he was used to having to go in his small crate.
Now for the good news; in just 10 days Joe gained 10.5 lbs with proper nutrition. We also looked into excercises for his legs. Joe had scrunchies put on his ears that he had to paw off, and toys hidden under blankets he had to paw out. All to strengthen those tendons we talked about. The owners were diligent about his recovery and he is in the best of health now. Unfortunately Joe had to relocate for his parents work, but his family is keeping us in the loop. Last month, at 9 months of age, he weighed 102 lbs and had no evidence of his previous troubles medically. He is happy and thriving and enjoying his new forever home. We are very happy that we could help with his transformation. At 6 months of age before he moved he was already 76.5 lbs and 80% better.
We miss you Joe!