April has come and gone seeing our busiest ever month for the third time in the last four months. Our gratitude goes as always equally to those veterinary colleagues who entrust us with their clients, and those clients who entrust us with their pet’s health and welfare.
In April we saw 59 new patients- 8 spinals, 8 soft tissue surgeries and 43 orthopaedic cases.
The month began with a practice trip to the British Small Animal Veterinary Association congress in Birmingham. We hired a mini-bus and eight of the Penmellyn clinical team drove up for a four day course of lectures and displays of the latest innovations and medications.
Spinal cases were all disc related other than one very unfortunate trauma case with partial transection of the spinal cord.
Decompressive surgeries in the mid-spine and neck region are most common and this month was no exception. These pets typically spend some days or even weeks within the hospital having regular physiotherapy sessions with our superb nursing team.
Amongst our soft tissue surgical cases, we saw a very unusual presentation of twisted stomach (Gastric Dilation Volvulus, GDV) in a dachshund.
GDV generally affects large or giant breed dogs, so a Daxie is very much a rarity. Rapid surgery is required to reverse a rapidly swelling stomach and relieve pressure.
We include some pictures from behind the scenes at Penmellyn Vets. Sam and Sarah are pictured at their desks; they are the first point of contact for colleagues and clients calling the practice, organising appointments for pets with our clinicians and allocating theatre time, ensuring good communications with primary care practices, clinical notes and images.
Their input is simply essential to the smooth running of our referral service and they achieve that with ever a ready smile and calm capability.
As usual, amongst the orthopaedic patients the most frequent presentation was degeneration and rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament; seven patients had rotational tibial plateau levelling osteotomies- the ‘Slocum TPLO’- and a further four smaller breeds had closing wedge TPLO.
These procedure seek to ‘rebalance’ the knee, either deloading intact remnants of the cruciate ligament or rebalancing the knee in cases of full rupture.
Stifle conditions also included a case of Osteochondritis Dissecans and four patients with ‘slipping kneecap’ for realignment.
‘Carpal valgus’ is the medical term given to growth misalignments of the forearm in young dogs, or ‘Queen Anne table legs’ for a more visual description. A releasing incision of the smaller bone above the wrist is required to allow both the elbow and the wrist to grow normally.
Conformational issues also included elbow dysplasia and shoulder arthropathy amongst seventeen lameness investigation cases.
Problems were more clear cut with trauma cases including pelvic, humeral and tibial fractures for plate and screw reconstruction, and a lovely dog called Thompson who tore a number of ligaments in his wrist and required an arthrodesis, where joint cartilage is removed from the wrist and replaced with bone grafted from the shoulder region, before a fixation plate and screws is applied.
Also pictured is nurse Steph, when she was on a nightshift after a busy day in theatre, with an array of some of the equipment that is all cleaned and sterilised overnight, ready for the following morning.
Dr. Colin Whiting BVSc CertSAS MRCVS RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery
Referral Surgeon at A30 Referrals
Director, Penmellyn Vet Group Ltd