November 26, 2015

Barney the wonder dog

Barney is a 12.5 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier who has suffered from severe epilepsy for many years. Although on a combination of treatments it is not uncommon for him to fit as often as weekly. Despite this Barney has recently survived an ordeal that would have spelled the end for many a younger and healthier dog.

In early September 2007 he was seen by our practice with a high fever. He responded very well to treatment initially, but was admitted a week later for intravenous fluids and x-rays with a distended abdomen. No abnormalities were found on x-rays or blood tests. Once again he responded well to treatment.

A few weeks later he developed a swelling on his left side which was diagnosed as an abscess. Targeted antibiotics resolved the problem, but the swelling recurred in mid December. Despite his age and epilepsy increasing the risks of anaesthesia we advised explorative surgery – and further tests found chronic infection and reaction tissue in the area but left us none the wiser as to the underlying cause. The swelling recurred again in January 2008, and at this time it became clear that there was a possibility that Barney may have eaten some cocktail sticks or similar way back at the beginning of September 2007! As he was showing the swelling on his side again we referred him to a specialist surgeon at the Royal Veterinary College for exploration of this ‘abscess’.

Barney was eating and drinking without vomiting, had no abdominal pain and seemed well otherwise, so imagine the surprise when they found around 15 wooden kebab skewers (pictured) penetrating the stomach and abdominal wall. Some of these were up to 6 inches long. Barney had lived a relatively normal life with this severe and life threatening condition for 2.5 months with none of the symptoms we would have expected! After a 5 hour surgery he has made a full recovery and bounced back to his old ways.