Elle the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a blood donor

Elle the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a blood donor

Celine’s husband suffers from allergies to animals so when Celine decided to get a family dog, she wanted one that shed as little fur as possible. Celine also wanted a gentle, good-natured dog for her two young children.  The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, a native Irish breed, fitted this description. She contact the Irish Kennel Club and found an experienced breeder who was very helpful. Elle was carefully chosen to be the family pet in Celine’s household. Elle had originally been destined to be a top pedigree dog show winner, so she was well socialised and trained as a puppy. It was only as she matured that it became clear that her coat was “too white”, so that she would be unlikely to win top prizes in the show ring. She was six months old when she was offered for sale. Celine wanted an older pup in any case, to avoid the complexities of dealing with a young puppy in a busy household: Elle was the perfect choice. The breeder carefully checked Celine’s household out too: she wanted to be sure that this much-loved pup was going to a good home. Elle has turned out to be the ideal family pet: a furry best friend for Celine’s children. When she came to BrayVet last springtime for her annual check and her booster vaccination, the vet asked Celine if she’d consider volunteering her as a blood donor: as an easy-going, large dog, she’d be perfect. Celine agreed, and Elle’s name as added to our list of possible blood donors. There’s no official blood bank for dogs in Ireland, but from...
Daisy is a twelve year old Shih Tzu

Daisy is a twelve year old Shih Tzu

I remember meeting Daisy for the first time back in 2002: she was a lovely, gentle puppy whom Celine had just acquired from a prestigious line of Kildare Shih Tzus. She went on to live the healthy life of a fit active adult dog, and I rarely saw her until 2011. It was during her annual check up three years ago that Celine mentioned a new problem: Daisy had started coming to a full halt on her walks. She would just stop, and sit down, refusing to budge. Celine had to carry her home to avoid being stuck out in the cold for ages. When I checked Daisy over, I could find nothing dramatic wrong with her. She had a mild heart murmur, but that’s common in older dogs, and there were no other signs of heart disease. She had some arthritis, with slightly creaky joints, but it’s rare to find an older dog that is completely clear of this type of issue. I could find no single reason for Daisy refusing to walk, so I suggested that Celine try simple training methods to try to encourage her little dog to keep walking. Celine did her best: she used tasty treats to try to tempt Daisy forwards. She tried walking her in new places to make the strolls more interesting and exciting. She tried a special harness to gently pull her along. She tried pleading with her. She tried getting cross with her. Nothing worked. Daisy is a determined little dog, and once she had decided that she didn’t want to walk anymore, that was that. She just stopped...
Douglas needs an inhaler to control his bronchitis

Douglas needs an inhaler to control his bronchitis

Douglas is a nine year old Beagle. He first started to cough when he was just one year old, during the summer months. Initially, he was given a general treatment to rule out a simple respiratory infection and lungworm, but when the problem failed to respond, a detailed investigation was carried out. X-ray pictures were taken of his chest, and a sample of fluid was collected from his airways while he was under general anaesthetic. The results showed that he was suffering from a type of allergic bronchitis, similar to asthma.  He was treated with a short course of anti-inflammatory steroids,and his cough cleared up completely. When the cough came back the following summer, he was given the same treatment, and again, he recovered. At that stage, it seemed like a seasonal problem, only happening during the summer, probably caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, similar to humans with hay fever. Douglas remained cough-free for the next six years, even in the summer time. Then last June, he started to cough again, and it was worse then ever. X-rays confirmed that the allergic bronchitis had come back again. He was treated with the anti-inflammatory steroids, and as before, he responded promptly, with the cough clearing up quickly. This time, however, when the course of steroids finished, he started to cough again. He was referred to the UCD Veterinary Hospital,where the next level of diagnostics were carried out, using fibre-optic endoscopes to collect biopsy samples from deep inside his lungs. The work-up confirmed that he had an unusually dramatic type of allergic lung disease that would need a prolonged...
Sunny the Collie had a painful left front foot

Sunny the Collie had a painful left front foot

A couple of weeks ago, Sunny’s left forefoot swelled up to twice its normal size, and he stopped putting weight on it. Katrin brought him down to see me at once. When I examined him, I could see a large swelling, like a plump grape, on the underside of one of his toes. Dogs are prone to standing on sharp objects, and although their feet are tough, they sometimes end up with small cuts that get infected. On other occasions, sharp items like pieces of glass, thorns or grass awns can penetrate the underside of the feet: this can also set up nasty infections. The end result is the same: an infected foot that swells up and becomes painful. The main challenge for a vet is to try to work out if there is still an object lodged inside the sore foot. Sometimes this is obvious: I have seen dogs with the tip of a thorn or the end of a piece of grass protruding from the swollen area. In these cases, it’s just a case of pulling the object out. In other situations, it’s hard to know if there’s still something stuck in there and that was how it was with Sunny. He just had a swollen, infected foot, and the reason was not clear. I gave him a sedative injection, and when he had become sleepy and relaxed, I examined his foot carefully. I used the sharp tip of a scalpel blade to lance into the swollen area, half expecting a grass seed or some other object to pop out as I made a small incision. As...
Whiskey developed a swelling under his tail

Whiskey developed a swelling under his tail

Whiskey may just be the age of a human teenager at nearly 18 years of age, but in dog years, he’s ancient: the old formula of one-human-year-to-seven-dog-years would make him almost 126 in dog years. A more accurate formula recently developed by scientists takes factors into account such as size of dog, type of breed etc. This makes him 88 “dog years” old, which is more realistic: Whiskey is elderly, but he’s still very active. Two months ago, Whiskey developed a large soft lump under his tail and his owners brought him in to see me to have it checked out. It’s impossible to tell the difference between “harmless” and “serious” lumps by just looking at them: a sample needs to be collected and analysed. I pushed a needle into Whiskey’s lump, and watery fluid gushed out. It was a pale yellowish colour, and at first I thought it might be urine. Sometimes the bladder can get flipped back on itself, herniating through the abdominal muscles and appearing as a swelling under the tail. There was a simple way of determining whether or not the swelling was Whiskey’s bladder: I took a sample of the fluid from it, and I compared it with a sample of urine which I collected from him via a catheter. The two types of fluid looked similar, but when I carried out laboratory measurements on the samples, they were quite different. His urine was much more concentrated than the fluid, and the protein levels in the fluid were much higher than the urine. Once I had ruled out the possibility of the lump being Whiskey’s...