Buzz the lurcher developed a sore eye

Buzz the lurcher developed a sore eye

Buzz has an active lifestyle, particularly enjoying running. Brenda takes him into the countryside near Bray so that he can sprint up and down in fields, and she also takes him to the local park: she rides her bike, and he runs beside her. On the Friday of the Bank Holiday weekend, Brenda was away overnight: her brother-in-law was looking after Buzz. There was no particular change in his routine: Buzz spent most of his time indoors and went for his usual run in the local park. But when Brenda returned on the Saturday afternoon, she noticed that Buzz’s right eye looked bloodshot. It didn’t seem to be bothering him, so she wondered if he had bashed it off something, and she gave the eye some simple first aid treatment. She started by treating the eye in the same way as she’d treat a mildly sore eye in a baby: she cleaned it twice daily with some cooled boiled water and some cotton pads. She took particular care to only touch the eye with a fresh pad, changing it each time to avoid re-infection. Over the next two days, on the Sunday and the Bank Holiday Monday, Buzz’s sore eye got steadily worse. Normally, Brenda would have taken him to the vet, but she didn’t feel that it was bad enough to need to contact the emergency on-duty service. She started to use sterile saline from her first aid kit rather than just boiled water. Unfortunately, the problem didn’t get better, so on the Tuesday morning after the Bank Holiday, Brenda and Buzz came down to my vet clinic...
Bailey got lost after escaping from the garden

Bailey got lost after escaping from the garden

Bailey lives in a busy household: Jonathan manages the YWCA centre in Greystones, so there are always young people coming and going from his home. The back garden, where Bailey, his three year old Springer Spaniel often likes to spend her time, is enclosed, but there’s a side gate, and despite the house rule that it must always be closed, it’s sometimes accidentally left ajar. Last Saturday lunchtime, when Bailey saw that the side gate had been left open for a few moments, she sneaked through and bolted. Jonathan noticed almost at once, and he hurried down to the local beach, where he usually takes her for walks. She loves water, and he thought that this was where she’d be most likely to go. But there was no sign of her. He then organised a team of people to search all around Greystones. For several hours, they combed the streets, calling her name, but Bailey had vanished. Jonathan told the police, and posted her photo onto a local community Facebook page, but there was no word. Soon, it was getting dark, and still she had not come home. Jonathan feared the worst: had she been involved in an accident? Or had she been stolen? Meanwhile, six kilometres away in Bray, I was walking through the town to meet some friends. I came across three Austrian students, clustered around a Springer Spaniel that they’d found. They didn’t know I was a vet, but they came up to me, asking if I could direct them to the police station. They’d found this dog, soaking wet, running up and down Bray beach,...
Persia the 14 year old cat had a pet check up

Persia the 14 year old cat had a pet check up

As she grew older, like many cats, Persia stopped being so thorough about grooming herself. She no longer spent as much time licking and nibbling her coat: she preferred just to sleep. As a result, her coat became matted and unkempt, and  she wouldn’t let Patricia go near her with a comb or brush. Professional grooming, with electric clippers to remove the clumps of fur, was the only answer. Persia is a feisty cat, and she wouldn’t let anyone go near her with noisy clippers: she needed to be sedated. Sedation can be risky if a cat is suffering from low grade heart disease or other hidden illnesses, so as part of her pre-grooming preparation, she was given a thorough veterinary check-over. This “senior pet” health check came up with some interesting findings: Persia had three “hidden” problems. First, she had dental disease, with sore gums and teeth which were discouraging her from using her mouth to groom herself. Second, she had signs of arthritis, so she was no longer as able to twist and turn as she needed to do to reach her underside and extremities if she did groom herself. And third, she had an enlarged thyroid gland, indicating that she was suffering from hyperthyroidism, a common disease of older cats which can cause a range of signs, including an unkempt coat. We went ahead and gave Persia a thorough grooming under sedation, but we used the opportunity to tackle her other problems at the same time. First, we deepened the sedation to a full general anaesthetic, and we gave her a dental overhaul, removing some painful...
Button had stopped eating and his mouth was sore

Button had stopped eating and his mouth was sore

Tom and his girlfriend originally had just one rabbit, Bugsy. As Bugsy matured into an adult rabbit, they realised that he was likely to be lonely, so they bought a second pet rabbit, Button, to be his friend. Button is 3 years old. The two rabbits are now close companions, living together in their hutch on the balcony of Tom’s apartment, with a view of Bray Head. Tom lets the rabbits out to play on the balcony decking all day, and in the evening, they’re allowed inside to mingle with the humans. They are clean animals, using a litter tray, just like cats. Most of the house has been “rabbit proofed”, with all cabling out of reach of their nibbling teeth. Despite this, so far they have managed to chew through Tom’s surround-sound wiring system, and they’ve taken out the home broadband on several occasions. The rabbits aren’t allowed into the bedroom, where there are just too many cables to conceal. Button usually has a tremendous appetite, so when he stopped eating recently, Tom knew there was something wrong. The rabbit started lifting his paw to the right side of his mouth, so Tom was fairly sure that he had some sort of pain there. He brought him in to see me for a check up. It’s easy enough to check rabbits’ incisor (front) teeth by just lifting their lips, but the molar (back) teeth are more difficult to inspect. Tom held Button firmly while I gently introduced a type of illuminated speculum first into the left side of his mouth (to check his left back teeth) and then...
Mandy the 10 year old Maltese Terrier

Mandy the 10 year old Maltese Terrier

Orla and her family have four dogs, a collection of cats and some horses. The animals generally get on well together, but last week, there was a major crisis. Orla’s dogs live in two groups: she has two “indoor” dogs, and two “outdoor” dogs. The indoor dogs, Mandy and Pip, are Maltese Terriers: small, white, fluffy dogs that enjoy being pampered. They live with the Gallagher family, sleeping in the kitchen and only going outside for exercise. The outdoor dogs, Jessie (a Collie) and Ralph (a Springer Spaniel), are bigger, more robust animals. They sleep in an outhouse, and they have a role as watch dogs as well as being family pets. Jessie, an eight year old Collie, was originally from a farm, and although she is good natured, she should have really have been a working animal. She spends her days watching Orla’s hens or the horses, crouching down and following them from a distance, as if wanting to round them up like a flock of sheep. Jessie had always dominated the other dogs, playing with them in a boisterous way, sometimes rolling them over and standing over them, as if to say “I’m the one in charge”. She was never openly aggressive to them, and there were never any serious fights. Two weeks ago, when Orla was out for the morning, someone let the two Maltese Terriers out into the yard. When they came back to check the dogs ten minutes later, there was no sign of Mandy.  Jessie was rolling something around on the ground with her paws, as if playing with a toy. To their...
Rosie and Socks are Jack Russell Terrier puppies

Rosie and Socks are Jack Russell Terrier puppies

Background: The two pups are amongst the first terrier pups in Ireland whose tails have been saved by a new Irish law When Seb decided to buy two Miniature Jack Russell pups earlier this month, he wanted to make sure that the pups had full tails. He searched on online advertising sites for terriers with tails, but he found it surprisingly difficult to check for this. In the photographs of puppies, the tails (or lack of tails) were often out of sight. The only way that Seb could be certain about the pups was to visit the breeder to see them for himself. He was delighted when he discovered that these two pups’ tails had been left alone. The tradition of docking puppies’ tails is an ancient one: this means chopping the tails off when they are just two or three days old. There is no logical reason for it: it’s a cosmetic procedure, done because people “like the look” of a dog without a tail. Hundreds of years ago, people believed myths about tail docking: it was said to prevent rabies, strengthen the back, increase the dog’s speed, and prevent injuries when hunting. All of these beliefs have long since been shown to be untrue. Additionally, over two hundred years ago, a tax was charged on working dogs with tails, so  dogs were docked to avoid paying the tax. Over the centuries, tail docking began to be seen as “normal” in many breeds of dog, from terriers to Boxers to Rottweilers and many others. Tail docking is a brutal procedure: a pair of scissors or a sharp knife...