The textbooks state that 9 hours sleep is the optimum amount required to maintain good health and wellbeing… that would explain the state of ecstatic delirium within the Arun Veterinary Group team this month following the fantastic outcome that was ‘Lander the Labrador!’.
Lander is a working Labrador who presented to Matt with an ongoing coughing problem that soon deteriorated as his breathing became more and more hampered. He was admitted and investigations showed a large amount of pus present in his chest; a condition caused by infection, known as pyothorax.
Following x-rays and due to the suspicion that the cause of the pyothorax was an inhaled foreign object, it was decided to use a CT scan to locate the source of the problem. This was performed by an imaging specialist at New Priory Veterinary Hospital in Brighton.
It was almost inconceivable to believe that a large barley awn, measuring 6cm was identified, wedged across one of the branches of Lander’s lung lobes. This resulted in constant irritation to his airways as well as a lung lobe abscess.
Lander’s condition was incredibly serious and the only course of action was to surgically remove the barley awn along with the lung abscess.
The surgery posed a very high risk to Lander and there was a very real possibility of him either passing away on the operating table or having to be put to sleep on welfare grounds if the damage was irreversible. In addition, owing to the considerable financial implications of the surgery and intensive care required, Arun Veterinary Group intervened on Lander’s owner’s behalf to seek charitable aid to help ease with the cost.
Following an intense period of preparation, RCVS Advanced Practitioners Matt and Edric were successfully able to remove the affected lung lobe by accessing Lander’s chest cavity. The nursing team monitored him closely during his three hour procedure and took over his breathing once his chest cavity was entered. Following the complexity of the surgery, Edric was able to detach the barley awn from Lander’s narrow airways using a camera known as an endoscope.
Lander understandably had a very long recovery and was intensively nursed for a number of days after his surgery. This involved members of the nursing team spending every waking minute by his side for the first 24 hours, as any deterioration would need immediate veterinary intervention. He had to have a chest drain placed to constantly remove any accumulating fluid surrounding his lungs which could lead to breathing problems. As time went on the nurses became very attached to his continuously wagging tail and profess they never wanted him to go home!
With a cocktail of antibiotics, some lovely potent pain relief and all the cuddling he would ever want, Lander is now back on his feet and has gone home to recover with his family. He is such a lucky dog to have survived his ordeal. Without the diagnostics now available to the veterinary industry, fantastic charitable support and expert surgical and nursing care, we could be in no doubt that his life would have been claimed by an innocuous barley awn.
Thanks to his determination and persistently cheerful attitude, he will hopefully go on to live a normal life, though maybe he will think twice next time about running with his mouth open!