Tumbles the cat who was tumbled in a tumble dryer

Tumbles the cat who was tumbled in a tumble dryer

Trish works as a care assistant in a busy south County Dublin nursing home. During a recent cold spell, one of her colleagues was doing the daily early morning laundry routine. The first load of clothes had been washed and spun, and were transferred to the industrial-sized tumble drier for the first drying session of the day. As soon as the machine was turned on, it was obvious that there was something wrong. A loud banging noise could be heard, so the tumble drier was switched off at once. The clothes were checked first, but there was nothing amiss in there.  The back and underside of the machine was then inspected, and something was seen moving in the darkness. The first suspicion was that a rat had crawled into the space beneath the tumble drier, but in better light, a cat could clearly be seen. She’d been badly injured, and she was lying in a pool of blood. The poor animal was terrified, but she didn’t resist as she was gently lifted out of the works of the machine. Her left front leg had been mangled by the moving parts of the tumble drier, and she was bleeding badly. She was wrapped in a towel and brought immediately to our veterinary clinic for emergency treatment. It turned out that she was a feral cat who had never been in close contact with humans before. She must have been lurking in the yard outside the back. On that icy cold night, she had found a five-inch-diameter vent on the outside wall of the nursing home. It was about two feet...
Blossom a 7 year old King Charles Spaniel

Blossom a 7 year old King Charles Spaniel

Anna had never owned a dog until Blossom came along: she’s a rescued dog, whose owner had died suddenly. Anna’s daughter had heard that Blossom needed a home urgently, and when she arrived back with her one day, Anna felt that she couldn’t turn her away. She has never regretted the decision. Blossom is a gentle dog with an exceptionally good nature: her tail wags continuously. Anna has grandchildren, aged between two and four, who often visit her home, and Blossom is hugged, poked and prodded, but she never growls. If she tires of the children’s attention, she simply runs away from them, escaping to her own quiet place. She has been the perfect dog for a household that’s visited by young children. Blossom can seem like a lazy dog, sleeping all day if she gets a chance, but she does love exercise when she has the opportunity. Anna lives in the countryside, and she makes a point of taking Blossom out for a long walk every day. The two of them head off for up to an hour and a half, varying the route and location. Sometimes they go on forestry walks, other times they walk around lakes and reservoirs, and occasionally they head to the coast for a beach walk. Blossom loves being in wide open spaces, sniffing around and trotting happily by Anna’s side. The regular exercise keeps them both exceptionally fit. When Blossom started limping on her left foreleg last week, Anna initially presumed that she must have twisted her foot or sprained a joint. They stopped going for walks for a couple of days....
Saffron and Amber are Lurchers

Saffron and Amber are Lurchers

The Lurcher is a type of dog, rather than a pure breed, but it’s instantly recognizable. It’s usually a result of a cross between a sight hound (typically a greyhound) and a pastoral dog (such as a Collie). The resulting animal possesses a combination of speed, intelligence, and a willingness to work for their owner. Traditionally, Lurchers were known as poachers’ dogs, bred for hunting rabbits and other small animals. In recent years, they’ve been known as excellent family pets, with their gentleness and loyalty endearing them to their owners. Karen obtained her two dogs when they were eighteen months old, as rescue animals. They’d been unwanted by their original owners, and because they weren’t cute, cuddly puppies, they’d ended up with the DSPCA. Both dogs have settled in well with Karen. Karen takes the dogs into the Wicklow hills and woods every day, and they love to run off the leash. She’s trained them to come back to a referee-type whistle that she bought in a Euro shop. They’re very reliable: one blast of the whistle and they come charging back to her, eager for the treat that she has ready for them. Last week, the two Lurchers disappeared deep into the undergrowth during a walk, staying out of sight for a little longer than normal. They have jangly bells on their collars so that Karen can hear where they are, but this time she couldn’t hear them. When she blew her whistle, there was still no sign of them, and she began to get worried.  She blew the whistle repeatedly, and after another five minutes, first she...
Mia an eight year old Irish Wolfhound

Mia an eight year old Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are magnificent creatures: gentle giants of the dog world. Sadly, like many large breeds of dogs, they have a relatively short life span, with many of the breed reaching the end of their lives by seven to ten years of age. Mia is eight and a half years old, which makes her the equivalent of a fourteen year old terrier-type. Almost a year ago, she developed a small, pea sized nodule on her underside. Miriam checked it out carefully, and was not too worried. She knew that older dogs develop occasional lumps and bumps, and as long as it remained at that tiny size, she didn’t feel that there was a need to do anything about it. For the following nine months, the small  nodule remained unchanged. When Mia came into season in early January, the lump suddenly began to grow. Within a few weeks, it had reached the size of a small plum, and Miriam knew that action had to be taken. She brought Mia in to see me. When I checked her, I found that there was more going on than just the plum sized lump: there were several new pea sized bumps close by. Mia was a classic example of the most common tumour to affect female dogs: mammary cancer, the equivalent of human breast cancer. The surge in female hormones during her season had stimulated the rapid growth of the cancer. Dog have ten mammary glands: a strip of five on each side, running from the level of their forelegs right back to their groin. The normal mammary tissue should be soft and...
Penny was diagnosed with Diabetes

Penny was diagnosed with Diabetes

Three years ago, Penny changed from being a normal, healthy eight year old dog into an animal with a life threatening illness. The problem started slowly.  Over a few weeks, it gradually became clear to the family that she was not quite herself. She started to empty her water bowl and she slowed down on walks, ambling beside the humans instead of charging around with her usual high energy style. When she uncharacteristically wet the floor in the kitchen overnight, it was the final straw: she was brought to the vet for a full check up. A blood test taken on that first visit was enough to make the diagnosis: Penny was suffering from Diabetes Mellitus, most commonly known as simply “Diabetes”.  The condition develops when the body stops producing enough insulin to control the blood sugar. It’s one of the most common hormonal diseases to affect older dogs. The blood sugar level shoots up to a level of thirty or more, when it should be less than ten. The high level of sugar in the blood causes a wide range of abnormalities in the body, with the increased thirst being the most obvious. Affected animals tend to lose weight, despite being ravenously hungry. If treatment is not given, the signs of illness become increasingly severe, eventually leading to severe weakness, coma and death. Treatment for diabetes is simple in one way, but complicated in another. A once or twice daily dose of insulin needs to be given, to replace the hormone that’s no longer being produced by the body. The catch is that this insulin cannot be given...
Duke is a Golden Retriever puppy

Duke is a Golden Retriever puppy

Nicole has always been a dog lover. Her family had always had a dog, but she still yearned to have one of her own.  She was delighted when she was given an adorable Boxer puppy, named Lola, for her eighteenth birthday. Lola grew up to be everything that Nicole had wanted from a dog: loyal, loving, and a pleasure to have in her life. When Nicole’s father retired last spring, Lola was six years old, and full of the energy of a typical adult Boxer. By now, Nicole was working full time, and so the fact that her Dad had more free time to take Lola for walks was ideal. She loved to be taken out and about, and she became fitter than ever. Towards the end of the summer, when Lola began to lose some weight, everyone thought that it was just because of her new energetic exercise regime. As the weight loss continued, and the underlying bones of her frame began to stand out, she was taken to the vet to make sure that there was nothing wrong with her. Tragically, a work-up revealed the worst possible scenario: Lola had malignant cancer and was only expected to live for another month. She was given chemotherapy, and at first she defied the odds, returning to full, vibrant health for over three months. Sadly, just before Christmas, the weight began to fall off her again, she stopped eating and she became very weak as the aggressive cancer returned. Nicole and her family made the difficult decision to let her go, staying with her as she was given the euthanasia...