Monday, 23 January 2017

Kennel cough

As my pug, Pixel, is currently suffering from kennel cough, I thought I would find out a little bit about the disease for this blog.

Kennel cough, otherwise known as Infectious tracheobronchitis, is an infection of the upper respiratory tract. It is caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus and is extremely infectious, spreading through the air.  It can be spread through even the slightest contact with another dog, and so it is advised that if your dog is infected, you keep away from other dogs until it is better, to avoid passing on the disease. It can also be spread through sharing objects, such as toys and water bowls, with an infected dog.

The symptoms include a persistent cough that sounds as though the dog has something stuck in their throat. This will develop 3-10 days after initial infection. The symptoms will get worse with exercise or excitement, so it is advised only to take your dog on short walks, to places they will not meet other dogs.

There is no test for kennel cough, and so instead the vet must rule out other causes of the cough, such as a collapsed trachea or cancer. The vet will also be able to rule out lungworm, provided that your dog is up to date on their flea treatment (Advocate also prevents lungworm, as well as other parasites, and should be administered once a month).

The treatment is a course of antibiotics, but this is not always effective as there is a viral strain, which is not susceptible to antibiotics.  Some bacteria may be resistant to broad spectrum antibiotics, so a different antibiotic may have to be administered. In any case, the disease is self-limiting, and so will clear without assistance within 7-14 days. If the symptoms increase, you should take your dog to be re-examined.  Kennel cough can sometimes lead to pneumonia, although this only usually occours in older dogs or puppies, both of which have a weakened or inefficient immune system.

There are three vaccinations available for kennel cough:
-        an intranasal one which is simply squirted into the dog’s nose
-        an injectable form
-        a new oral form.

None of these provide complete protection, but they significantly reduce the chances of infection in your dog.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Dog c- section

This week, a dog came into the practice. She had been in labour for 12 hours. She was quite old and had been impregnated accidentally by a larger dog. It was thought that the dog had Singleton Syndrome where only one abnormally large puppy is formed.

As soon as the dog arrived and the relevant consent forms had been signed she was taken into the back room for surgery preparations. She needed an IV fluids drip before she could be operated on. To insert the IV drip the dog’s forearm was shaved in a small area between the elbow and the paw. I held the dog and raised the Cephalic vein for the needle to go in. Once the operating room was prepared and the vet and nurse were ready the dog was anaesthetised. It was important to have the dog anaesthetised for as little time as possible because of the potential harm this can cause the puppy.

The dog was transported to the operating room where she was laid on her back on a heat pack. After the midline abdomen was clean and shaved the vet made his incision. The uterus took up a lot of the abdomen space and was found quickly. The uterus was cut open and the puppy was taken out.
My job was to gently flick the puppy upside down to remove the amniotic fluid from its airways and then rub its sides vigorously to resuscitate it. The vet proceeded to peel out the placenta so that it would not cause an infection. When the vet checked the uterus he found that there was a second, unexpected puppy, which the nurse resuscitated.

The uterus was stitched up once, and then a second time to close over the stitches and make sure there was a strong seal. After the uterus, the abdomen muscles, and the fat layer were stitched together the skin was stitched and cleaned before the dog was returned to her kennel with her two puppies.
Cataracts and bone cancer-

Two dogs with Cataracts came into the practice on my first day of work experience.

Cataracts can occur in older dogs and can also be a result of trauma to the eye, but the most common cause is genetic. Some dogs may be born with cataracts, or develop them at a young age.  A dog with cataracts has cloudy lenses in the eyes. The lenses are used to refract light and focus it on the retina.  Having cataracts does not usually make the dog completely blind, but it does impair the vision, and can cause a glaucoma.

What is a glaucoma?
A glaucoma can result from severe cataracts, and can be very painful. It is a condition in which pressure is placed on the eye causing poor drainage of fluid from the eye. It may cause damage to the optic nerve if left untreated. Other symptoms include:
  •         Rapid or persistent blinking of the eye
  •      The eyeball sinking back into the eye socket
  •         A red, irritated looking eye
  •         Wide, dilated pupil and no response to light
  •         Blindness

One cure for Cataracts is surgery. Cloudy lenses are replaced with synthetic lenses. This is normally an ideal solution. However, the cloudy lens could be obscuring a damaged retina. In this case, replacing the lens will not improve the eyesight as the dog will already be blind. It is suggested that before any surgery, the dog is brought to an optic specialist so that the retina can be looked at before the lens becomes too cloudy and obstructive. This could avoid unnecessary surgery.

The dog’s left eye is normal, the right has cataracts.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

RVC Open Day

I went to the RVC Open Day yesterday and had a brilliant time.  The facilities there are amazing.  We had a tour of the campus and learned a lot about what it was like to be a student at the RVC.  I really enjoyed having a go on the lamb birthing simulator - the lamb I was trying to birth had its head back, so I had to push it back in and gently bring the head forwards.  It was a lot less slimy than birthing a real lamb!

One of the things that the students at the RVC learn is how to tip a sheep.  Scott from Spring Grove taught us one of the methods - reaching around and under the sheep and pulling the back leg through - but there are lots of other ways, depending on the size of the sheep.  Sometimes if it just a small sheep, though, it is easiest just to lift and tip. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Lamb Watch Day 8

Our last day at Spring Grove for Easter 2014, and an interesting end to our stay.  One of the ewes in the field had mastitis, so we had to catch her and her lambs and bring them back to the barn so that we could keep and eye on her.  The udder was hard and swollen, and the teat had been damaged by the lambs' teeth.  She was given a shot of antibiotics, but it later turned out that her mastitis had turned into black udder - also known as gangrenous mastitis.  She will probably lose part of her udder from this infection.  Naomi will keep us updated on how things develop.

See the Day 8 Lamb Watch video here.

Lamb Watch Day 7

On Day 7, we meet the other animals of Spring Grove Alpacas and Rare Breeds.  The Alpacas (of course), who love to take a bath, plus the chickens, dogs, ducks, goats and horses.

Lamb Watch Day 6

The day started with a difficult birth -  the lamb was presenting with its legs tucked back, so Naomi, the farmer, had to bring the legs forwards so that the lamb could be born.  Once the legs were forward, the birth was very quick.  I cleared the mucus from the lamb's nose and put it in in front of the ewe so she could start cleaning it.

Once the ewe and lamb were in the pairing pen, we had to give the ewe an antibiotic injection.  As she had some assistance giving birth, we had to make sure she did not pick up an infection.

Later that day, we had to prepare the nursery lambs and ewes to go back into the field.  I was able to band the testicles and tail of a ram lamb.  The banding must be a little tender for the lamb at first - they do lie quietly for a while after it has been done.  But very quickly they are up and playing again as though nothing had happened.

See the Day 6 video here.  Be warned, there are graphic scenes of lamb birth right from the start!