At The Mewes we come across some wonderful pets every day, but a few deserve 'Star' recognition. They may have survived some terrible injuries or illnesses with bravery and strength of character or battled against weight, mobility or other problems.
We like to honour these pets on our Star Pets notice board in our reception. Below are some of their stories.
Age: 2 years
Darwin is normally a very lively 2 year old English Springer Spaniel, however, when he came to the clinic he was very depressed and lethargic. His owners were worried as he was off colour, had lost his appetite and had vomitted several times in the last 24 hours.
After taking an x-ray of his belly, a metal coil was noticed in his intestine. He had eaten a clothes peg, which needed to be surgically removed! It became clear during the procedure that he had also swallowed an item of clothing along with the attached peg. This had caused an obstruction in the intestine making him unwell.
Julia was able to remove both the items surgically, and he has made a speedy recovery. The washing line is now kept permanently out of his reach!
Age: 2 years
Archie is a 2 ½ year old long coated Jack Russell Terrier, who is full of fun. In January this year his curiosity nearly cost him his life.
He came to see Angie after 4 days of occasional vomiting. A pattern was emerging – he seemed to mainly need to be sick after eating. He had also brought up some plastic 2 days earlier, but still the vomiting continued.
Angie suspected at once that he might have swallowed something else as well that he should not have, and that whatever it was might be stuck in his stomach or upper intestines. She admitted him to confirm the diagnosis. The nursing team sedated him and Cami exposed a single radiograph which confirmed Angie’s worst fears - there was something blocking his intestines.
Julia then took over his care, anaesthetising and opening his belly to have a look (an exploratory laparotomy). A long firm item could be felt within the stomach and passing through into the upper duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The stomach was opened and the foreign body carefully brought back into the stomach from the duodenum and removed. It turned out to be a stiff piece of plastic of unidentifiable origin, about 10 inches by 1 inch, with tooth marks along it. Presumably Archie thought it would be good to sharpen his teeth on and then swallowed it whole! Since Archie’s empty stomach is only about 8 inches long, this was quite an achievement!!
Meanwhile the Anaesthetist, Sarah, was keeping him comfortable and safe under the anaesthetic, and using intravenous fluid therapy to keep his blood pressure well in the normal range. She also ensured he received appropriate pain killers, as he had a large incision into his tummy and 2 kinds of antibiotics on Julia’s instructions to protect him against the risk of post-operative infection.
He was sent home the same day, with special food that helped him to heal quickly but was safe with, despite the incision into his stomach, and with strong pain killers for the first few days. He spent a week healing in a confined area to control his natural bounce, and recently came in for his annual vaccine and took the opportunity to thank Julia by covering her with kisses!
He is a very lucky little dog. Without the operation his intestines might well have become perforated resulting in a fatal peritonitis, or he may have simply faded away, as he was unable to keep any food down. The whole Mewes team that day became involved with his emergency care, and we are thrilled that he has made such a perfect recovery.
Age: 15 years
Ben is a 15 year old Jack Russell terrier with a vet phobia. Despite all the loving ways in which Julia has cared for him over the years, diagnosing and managing his early kidney disease, sorting out his rotten teeth, solving his prostate problems and getting his wonky legs mended, he really still does not love her, and in particular hates her touching his paws.
But Julia really thought she was up against it when at 13 ½ years of age he developed a bleeding mass near his anus. With his 3 year history of progressive kidney problems she was relunctant to suggest surgery, so she and Ben's owners agreed on a medical approach, ie. using injections and tablets to try and get the lumps to reduce in size, rather than cutting them out.
Ben was in and out of the Clinic every month for 6 months, all medications were trialled, but nothing helped, and eventually he had 7 masses around his bottom, which were bleeding and obviously distressing him. The buster collar became his permanent attire.
After his 14th birthday, Julia finally proposed a better solution: to risk an anaesthetic to castrate him surgically, as his quality of life was now being affected. Most anal masses respond to castration, but it would be a bold move in such an old dog with pre-existing kidney problems.
The nursing team that day in April 2011 ensured he received constant intravenous fluid therapy into his front leg (despite his protests about not wanting his paw touched!). This kept his kidneys as protected as possible. His pockets were picked, and Julia kept her fingers crossed.
He has just been back for a routine vaccine, now 15 years old, and Julia was thrilled to record that all his anal masses have disappeared! He no longer needs a buster collar, so can get on with the business of trying to amputate her fingers more thoroughly should she mention clipping his claws!
He may not appreciate our efforts, but his owners certainly do. There is now little risk that his problem will ever recur and he can get on with enjoying his life again.
Age: 3 years
Monty was seen at our clinic after a road traffic accident. He was referred to us from PET's - our Out-Of-Hour's emergency clinic. He was admitted for x-rays of his thorax, abdomen and hind leg, as he had a suspected fracture. He had also incurred wounds on his hind leg.
Once the x-rays had been taken they confirmed Monty had a fractured leg. Our Veterinary Surgeon, Julia Mewes, decided to refer Monty to a specialist referral centre to have his fractured leg repaired. The surgery went well, but Monty needed to wear a spint bandage for six weeks post op! Monty got to know all the nurses very well, as he came in every 3-4 days to have his bandage changed. Gradually the wounds started to heal and the fractured leg has also healed very well.
We are all thrilled at how well Monty has recovered.
Age: 6 months
Purdey was playing on the fields when she suddenly went lame on her left leg. Our Veterinary Surgeon, Julia, checked her over and suspected that she had a fracture, which would need repairing. An in-house X-Ray confirmed Julia's diagnosis. It would be an extremely delicate operation and one that would normally be referred to a specialist, but because of the costs involved it was decided that Julia would carry out the procedure. Special pins had to be ordered in and the operation date was set.
Click here to see how Julia carried out the procedure.
We are all absolutely delighted with the outcome of the operation and brave Purdey has made an excellent recovery.
Age: 19 years
Brandy's story was written by his loving owners.
We inherited Brandy at the age of 19. We already had one cat who was 4 years old. Brandy was an only cat and he had never used a cat flap. He did not have any health problems that we were aware of although he had a runny nose, a weepy eye and was very slow and stiff.
He learnt to use the cat flap within a couple of weeks and although he and our other cat will never be best friends they tolerate each other and she is young and agile enough to avoid him when she needs to.
On a routine medical check up, we found Brandy had bad teeth, arthritis and is stone deaf. This is why he had such trouble moving around and why he had problems with his eyes and nose. With such an elderly cat we had to decide how much money to spend on which treatments. We decided that he should have a full dental which left him with about 6 teeth. He can now eat comfortably (huge amounts) and has put on weight (250g in 6 months), his eyes and nose have stopped running and he can eat crunchy biscuits as well.
For his arthritis he is on a daily dose of Metacam, which has given him a whole new lease of life. He plays in the garden, gets up and down from chairs easily, can climb stairs and even occasionally chases the other cat, if a little slowly. The price of this is a 3-month urine check to make sure the medication is not affecting his kidneys.
To anyone with an elderly cat, this shows that it is worth treating some conditions to improve their quality of life provided they don’t have huge underlying health problems. We don’t regret a minute or a penny of the treatment.