Trixie the terrier started to collapse and have a fit

Trixie the terrier started to collapse and have a fit

Orla was just six years old when Trixie arrived into the family household: she can barely remember life before Trixie. Up until recently, Trixie has been in good health, enjoying the typical busy lifestyle of a town dog, with regular walks in local parks and the surrounding countryside. The first sign of a health issue was around three months ago, when Orla noticed that Trixie was behaving differently: she started to pace up and down in the garden, walking restlessly, and not sitting or lying down at all. She began to pick at her food, rather than wolfing it down in her usual ravenous style. The final indication that she was suffering from a serious problem happened more recently. Trixie normally runs ahead of Orla when going upstairs, sitting at the end of the bed while they watch television together. Last week, Trixie bounded up the stairs as usual, but when she reached the top landing, she fell over, rolling around on her back. At first Orla thought that she was just playing, but then she started to howl, and she refused to stop when Orla called her name. That was when Orla realised that Trixie was having some sort of seizure. She stayed with Trixie, and after a few minutes, the little dog returned to normal. Orla brought her up to see me the following day. When I examined Trixie, she seemed like a healthy, active, older dog. She doesn’t like visiting the vet, and her heart was racing, but otherwise there was little abnormal to find. I ran a blood panel which showed that her internal metabolism was...
Squirt the cat had a broken jaw

Squirt the cat had a broken jaw

Squirt featured on the Nine O’Clock News when he was just a kitten after he had been saved from drowning. A man had fished out a bag containing three kittens from the Dodder Canal. Two of them were dead, but the man carried out life-saving emergency treatment on the remaining one. The kitten was named Squirt because when his chest was massaged during the rescue, water squirted out of his mouth. Valerie was the lucky one from over a hundred people who offered him a home. She volunteers to raise funds for Cats Aid, the busy cat charity based in Dublin. For the past four years, Squirt has lived the contented life of a suburban Irish cat. When Valerie saw Squirt last Sunday afternoon, she knew at once that there was something wrong . He was crouching outside her house, under a car, and when she called him, he refused to come up to her as he would normally do. When she went closer to have a good look, she noticed that his lower jaw looked wrong . He was holding it oddly, and it seemed swollen. Squirt was not his normal, friendly self: he was nervous and seemed disorientated. Valerie didn’t know what was wrong  – she thought perhaps he had been poisoned. She took him in to the Pet Emergency Hospital at once. The emergency vet made the diagnosis: Squirt had a fractured lower jaw.  The left side of his lower jaw had separated from the right side, in the midline.  It was as if a blade had been placed vertically on his chin, and the bones...
Penny the Shetland Sheepdog had foul smelling breath

Penny the Shetland Sheepdog had foul smelling breath

Many people might not notice if their pet’s breath gets a bit stinky, but Penny has a particular behaviour that meant that Marie couldn’t avoid noticing when Penny developed halitosis. Penny weighs 20kg – around three stone – but she behaves as if she is a teacup-sized puppy. She’s far too big to be a lap dog, but this doesn’t stop her trying. When Marie is sitting in an armchair reading the newspaper, Penny clambers up around the side, pushing her way into Marie’s lap. She then sits there, squashed into the small space behind the newspaper, pushing her nose right beside Marie’s face, as if she is also trying to read about what’s going on in the world. It was when Penny was sitting beside her like this that Marie received a full-on blast in the face with Penny’s dog-breath. The smell was so bad that at first Marie thought that Penny must have rolled in something rotten, but after checking her, it was clear that the smell was coming from her mouth. She knew at once that there was something wrong with Penny’s dental health: no normal dog should have breath that smelt so unpleasant. Marie brought her up to see me for a dental check up. When I examined Penny’s mouth, I found the typical dental problems that are often seen in older dogs. She had a build-up of tartar on her teeth, with a dark brown accumulation of caked-on material around her tooth roots. This was pressing on her gums, causing inflammation and infection. She also had infected tooth roots, and some of her teeth were...
Theo the hamster had a damaged eye

Theo the hamster had a damaged eye

Theo belonged to one of Cat’s friends who emigrated to Australia three months ago: it was impossible to take the little hamster with her, so he had to be rehomed. Cat provided the perfect new home: she has plenty of experience in animal care. She has a degree in animal science and welfare, and she worked in a vet clinic as a veterinary nurse assistant for two years. She now works for a human health care company, but she still has a strong interest in animals, and she was happy to take Theo on. At three years of age, he was already an elderly hamster, spending most of his time sleeping. He only comes out of his nest for a few hours in the evenings. Hamsters are solitary animals: unlike nearly all other pets, they thrive on solitude. If they are forced to share living space with other hamsters, they fight. Theo is a tame, easy-going hamster, and sometimes Cat lets him out of his cage in the evening. He wanders around the living room, sometimes climbing up her legs while she sits on the sofa: she feeds him small treats like pieces of fruit which he seems to enjoy. Last Sunday evening, Cat noticed that there was something seriously wrong with Theo’s right eye: it was much bigger than normal, and instead of the normal, bright, beady appearance, it looked dull, with a dry surface. She searched on the internet for “hamster eye problems” and she soon discovered about a condition called “prolapse of the eyeball” that’s common in hamsters. To put it bluntly, the eyeball pops out...
Chip developed a strange rash on her face

Chip developed a strange rash on her face

Aoife has never known life without Chip. Six years before she was born, her parents adopted the young adult cat from the DSPCA. When Aoife was a baby, Chip used to sit nearby purring, and as she’s grown up, the friendly cat has always been her comfortable companion. Chip is now elderly, but she seems as fit and healthy as ever. CHIP DEVELOPED A STRANGE RASH ON HER FACE A week ago, Aoife noticed that Chip looked different.  The fur was thinner around and above her eyes, and there were a few red bumps on her skin.  At first the family thought that she might have been stung by insects, or perhaps she’d walked through some nettles: maybe she’d recover after a few days. In fact, the condition deteriorated, with large bald areas appearing, and an acne-like scabby rash around both eyes. She didn’t seem to be upset by it at all: she wasn’t scratching herself or rubbing her head on anything, but it was obvious that there was something amiss, so they brought her to  see me. The diagnosis was obvious as soon as I saw Chip: the skin condition is called “miliary dermatitis”. The word “miliary” comes from “millet seeds”, because affected skin feels bumpy, as if someone has scattered millet seeds onto it. The second word – “dermatitis” – just means “inflammation of the skin”. DIAGNOSIS Miliary dermatitis is common in cats, especially in the summer. The most common cause is an allergic reaction to something in the environment: cats’ skin tends to react to allergies by becoming reddened and scabby. There are many possible causes...
Boomer was unable to pass urine

Boomer was unable to pass urine

When Lisa comes home in the evening, Boomer always rushes to greet her, purring. One day, when she came home to a silent house, Lisa went looking for him: was there something wrong with her cat? She found him upstairs, on a bed. He seemed agitated, licking himself under his tail and he wasn’t interested in saying “hello” to her. What was going on? Had he been involved in an accident of some kind? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH BOOMER? Lisa used to work as an inspector for animal welfare and currently she’s with a dog walking service, so she has a good understanding of animals: the first thing she did was to pick Boomer up,  have a few words with him, then put him on the ground, to see if he could walk. Boomer was able to walk normally, and there was no sign of any injuries, but there was definitely something amiss. He took a few steps, then he squatted into his typical “I am going to pee” crouching position, before stopping and licking himself under his tail again.  Lisa realised that this behaviour was completely abnormal, so she brought him down to the vets at once. When I lifted Boomer onto the consulting table, the first thing I did was to gently squeeze his tummy, feeling his abdominal contents.  I could feel an abnormal, large, hard object towards the back of his abdomen, like a small melon. It was Boomer’s bladder, and it was like a fully inflated balloon.  It was easy to make the diagnosis: the exit to Boomer’s bladder was blocked, and he was unable...