VOTE: Choose the bravest pet in Plymouth to be named Braveheart 2013
OVER the last year, The Herald has featured some of Plymouth’s bravest pets, who have survived against all odds.
Some of the courageous animals scooped a Braveheart award from The Veterinary Hospital during 2012.
Now it is your chance to vote for the bravest pet in Plymouth, picking from the nominees pictured on this page.
The overall winner will be presented with £50 worth of Hill’s pet food.
SOX THE COCKER SPANIEL
COCKER spaniel Sox fought off life-threatening conditions to survive against the odds.
Sox, owned by Nikki and Mary Smith from Milehouse, had been poorly for about two weeks, was very lethargic and had breathing difficulties.
Nikki, aged 23, a call centre worker for EE, said: “We thought we were going to lose her and were told to expect the worst.
“She was in intensive care for nine days and we went to visit her and discuss what to do.
“But she made a miraculous recovery over two days.”
An examination found that Sox had very noisy lungs, was very pale and was having great difficulty breathing.
X-rays showed she had pulmonary oedema and a lot of free fluid in the chest – both life-threatening conditions.
Reducing the fluid in the lungs was carried out using diuretics and by removing the free fluid in the chest, which was compressing the lungs.
The fluid turned out to be infected pleural fluid, a condition called pyothorax.
Sox remained in hospital for 10 days, where her chest was drained continuously and flushed out with up to half a litre of saline.
She gradually improved and after a week staff were able to withdraw pain-relieving injections, though she still needed antibiotics.
Brave Sox had four good days at home but then her breathing worsened slightly so she was hospitalised for another four days to stabilise her before going home again where, thankfully, she gradually improved.
PAUL THE CAT
PAUL, a young male moggy, won a Braveheart award after losing an eye and suffering a broken jaw.
The one-year-old cat was badly injured following a road accident and was rushed to the hospital by a kind member of the public.
Vet Sue Bird found he was in severe shock, with open mouth breathing, a fractured jaw and teeth, and had damaged eyes.
Paul was immediately put on intravenous fluids and shock treatment, and placed in an oxygen tent.
At the time of the accident his owner, Debbie Newell, said: “I was devastated when I got the call.
“It just shows how much you love the little things when something happens to them.
“But you wouldn’t know now as he is the same cat as before the accident.”
Debbie, from Efford, added: “The vets at the hospital were amazing.”
KHAN AND LILY THE SIAMESE CATS
TWO cats that survived being poisoned last year were intrepid Siamese felines Khan and Lily.
Owner Kate Walker, from Plympton, said she rushed her pets to the vets when she saw “blood coming out of them”.
When Khan and Lily arrived at the animal hospital, the experts put them on fluid drips and took blood samples as both cats had developed oddly protruding eyes.
An urgent request was put in to the laboratory for rapid results of the blood tests, as rodenticide poisoning was suspected.
To test for the exact poison, some blood samples had to be sent to America.
Meanwhile, both Khan and Lily were given vitamin K injections, which speed up the clotting time of blood to try to prevent further haemorrhages pending the results, as well as antibiotics to prevent secondary infection.
Results from the US confirmed that it was Warfarin poisoning.
Following a miraculous recovery, vet Katie Lenton was able to send both cats home a week later.
Kate had to administer daily injections at home followed by tablets – but lucky Khan and Lily got back to their normal selves.
BERTIE THE LABRADOR
BERTIE the eight-year-old Labrador survived a cancerous tumour.
Bertie belongs to Linda Dick, from Higher Compton who believed his level of fitness has helped him back to a quick recovery.
Bertie’s plight was highlighted during an annual health examination and booster time when vet Sanjaya Kanagasundaram discovered a lump growing under the skin on his chest.
Within a week the results of a biopsy came back confirming that the cells were those of a benign lipoma.
As the lump was less than two centimetres in diameter and not troubling Bertie, it was decided to leave it well alone.
However, six months later, having originally shrunk a little, it began to grow – so it was decided to take a more radical biopsy under an anaesthetic.
This revealed it was a cancerous tumour which was likely to spread into the surrounding areas, with a risk of spreading elsewhere.
Bertie was X-rayed to see if it had begun to spread to other parts of his body, and it was decided to remove the mass surgically.
A large operation carried out by Fiona Dale with some skin loss.
CLEO THE LABRADOR-CROSS
PLYMOUTH pooch Cleo, a 10-year-old female Labrador-cross, survived what is usually a fatal condition.
Her owners Pat and Sheena Baker, of Austin Farm, were worried that she seemed off colour, restless and not interested in food.
Vet Sanjaya Kanagasundaram discovered that Cleo’s temperature was slightly raised, she had a mild mouth infection and some areas of skin infection.
A course of antibiotics followed but at the next examination Cleo seemed no better – and had a swollen abdomen.
Blood samples and X-rays were carried out which revealed a large volume of fluid and a much-enlarged heart.
Sheena said: “We were very worried as usually Cleo is like a puppy, jumping all over the place and barking.”
Mr and Mrs Baker had had Cleo, a rescue dog from the Woodside Animal Welfare Trust, since she was just nine months old.
An ultrasound scan revealed that there was a lot of fluid around Cleo’s heart, which was causing it to fail.
In a critical condition and requiring immediate action, over two litres of abnormal blood stained fluid was drained from the dog’s abdomen and chest.
The fluid was analysed and, with relief, it was found that there were no cancer cells present, the cause being infection.
Cleo continued on antibiotics, remaining in hospital for four days and slowly improving.
It was a full two months before she could be signed off as fully recovered; a very lucky dog to have recovered so well from such a serious heart disease.
SOOTY THE RABBIT
SOOTY the rabbit survived a cat bite and abscess, earning him a Braveheart award.
Problems started for the two-year-old rescue bunny when he suffered a severely swollen right ear.
It turned out to be a painful infected blood blister – a haematoma.
He received a course of antibiotics to eliminate most of the infection then, six days later, the haematoma was lanced.
The injury slowly healed up over the next week or so.
However, around 10 weeks later Sooty was back with a more serious problem.
A lump had appeared under his chin and on examination one of his incisor teeth appeared abnormal.
Dental X-rays were taken of his jaw showing an abscess had developed from the area around the root of the tooth.
The tooth was extracted and the abscess opened and drained, filled with manuka honey for its healing properties, and then stitched.
Sooty remained in hospital for two more days before he was allowed home but antibiotic injections were still needed every two to four days.
Owner Aaron Stevens said: “He’s been through a lot for his age, bless him.
“When you have a pet like that, you would pay anything to make them better.
“Vet Sue has been absolutely amazing.”