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Park Issa Heroes

Check out our pet heroes

January 2020 - Moyesy

Our first hero of this decade is Moyesy. A 15 ½-year-old ginger tom, he is a very handsome gentleman we are sure you will agree. Moyesy is a very vocal cat who loves purring and always responds to his owners, he also knows how to get exactly what he wants…

It is not always the uncommon illnesses that make a hero and in Moyesy's case it was hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is an overactivity in the thyroid glands. The vast majority of cases are caused by harmless swellings but some rare cases are caused by cancer (1-3% of cases). Hyperthyroidism causes a high metabolism, which has many negative effects in the body including weight loss, high heart rate, high blood pressures. It is most common in middle-aged to older cats.

Moyesy’s story starts in January 2019 before he was a client at Park Issa.

“He became very lethargic, no appetite, very quiet and sleepy and then started breathing differently”.

Taken to his vet he was diagnosed with a chest infection which was treated with a course of strong antibiotics and a blood test revealed he was suffering with hyperthyroidism. This meant that he would be on lifelong medication to control his condition, he would also need regular check-ups to make sure that the medication dose was the correct dose for him.

Moyesy then moved to our area, with his regular checks his medication was increased.

“Moyesy seemed well and quickly settled into his new country life, walking up the lane, taking in the scenery, visiting his favourite watering holes namely the manhole cover and plant pot saucer and being inquisitive with a visiting peacock family.”

Moyesy first came to see us here at Park Issa in August 2019 as he needed a blood sample to check his thyroid levels. The results showed that his hyperthyroidism was not under control. This can sometimes be due to an underlying issue so we decided to do further bloods to investigate. These bloods were all normal so we increased his thyroid medication to try and get it under control.
In September Moyesy was rushed into Park Issa with breathing problems, he was admitted to the hospital and x-rays were carried out immediately to see what was happening in his lungs.

“I was so worried and couldn’t think of losing him but he was so poorly I knew it was a possibility.”

The x-rays showed that he had fluid around his lungs and heart which was then successfully drained. Although not initially associated with hyperthyroidism it is common in uncontrolled hyperthyroidism that the heart can be damaged, and this was the most likely cause for Moyesy.

After staying overnight at the hospital Moysey was well enough to go home on more medication to stabilise his hyperthyroidism and heart disease.

“The staff at Park Issa were wonderful, they sorted him out and we were so pleased with the way he responded to the treatment that he was able to come home the following day. The difference in a day was quite evident to see; from a very quiet cat who looked so weak to the very vocal one who was brought out was amazing! He came home on several medications including heart and blood pressure tablets.”

Over the next few months, Moyesy’s blood and blood pressure were monitored and medications either reduced or stopped as he continued to improve. His thyroid levels were finally under control which will help Moysey and his recovery.

Moyesy has been a little trooper in coping with all the procedures and taking his medication and being our hero!

July 2019 - Belle

Our hero of the month for July is Belle. She is a beautiful black cat who is just 14 months old. Her visit was not because of an illness but because she was shot with an air gun.

After losing their much loved older cat, Belle’s owner went to Shropshire cat rescue looking to rehome a pair of cats. However their plans changed when they met three little black kittens in need of a home.

All three cats are outdoor cats but always come in at night. It was one such night that the owner called them in for their tea that Belle’s journey began. “I called them in for tea, Elsa and Anna turned up but no Belle. As she was normally the first to appear I decided to go into the garden and call her. On going outside I spotted her outside the garage door flat on her side. When I went to her I began to pick her up and suddenly realised there was blood coming from her side and she seemed quite cold and shocked. We immediately contacted Park Issa and rushed her to see the out of hours vet Lucy and nurse Vikki”.

When Belle came into us, she was obviously in shock and was breathing very rapidly with her mouth open. Her gums were very pale and she had obviously lost quite a bit of blood from the amount that was on her coat. However, the only wound that we could find was a tiny puncture wound in the skin over the ribs on the right hand side. Belle was admitted so that we could give her some fluids to help with the shock and the blood loss, and also some pain relief and antibiotics. As the vet was carrying her down into the treatment room, she could feel a hard lump under the skin over Belle’s ribs on the left hand side. There was no wound on this side, and we suddenly had the horrible thought that this could be a bullet and that Belle may have been shot.

Her breathing was still very fast and laboured, so we took an x-ray of her chest to investigate exactly what had happened, and if there was any other damage apart from the small wound. It was originally thought that Belle might have been attacked by a dog and that the puncture wound was from a tooth, but as soon as we saw the x-ray picture it was obvious that she had been shot. The x-ray clearly showed the bullet on the left hand side of Belle’s chest and also some damage to the lungs and bleeding within the chest. Amazingly the bullet had gone all the way through Belle’s chest without hitting any of the ribs or damaging the heart or major blood vessels, but she was still in quite a critical condition because of the damage to her lungs. We used a special ‘butterfly’ needle to drain some of the blood from around Belle’s lungs and make it easier for her to breathe, and within an hour or so she seemed to have settled down a bit and to be a bit more comfortable.

The next morning Belle seemed much brighter and was gradually getting her colour back, and although her breathing was still a bit rapid, it was a lot better than the night before. She was however reluctant to eat much so our nurses tempted her with some tasty food and syringed some high energy food into her to give her the strength to recover. Over the next couple of days she progressed well, to the point that it was actually quite difficult to listen to her lungs and monitor her breathing because she was purring so much!

Belle went home after 3 days so that she could recover further there, and then a week later when we were happy that her lungs were functioning well, she came back in for a quick anaesthetic to remove the bullet from under her skin. A small incision was made and the bullet popped out nicely, doing much less damage than it had on the way in! She was able to go back home that afternoon for her family to look after her.

Belle is such a sweet, happy little cat and was such a lovely patient to look after. She loved having her tummy rubbed whilst she was in, even when her lungs and chest were obviously really sore, and she was so brave throughout all her treatment.

Belle’s bravery throughout the treatment makes her one of our heroes. We are so pleased she has gone home back to her amazing loving family and they are so happy too.

‘As a family we are thrilled to have her alive and back with us. We cannot thank enough the Park Issa staff – the receptionists, nurses and vets for taking such good care of her and getting her home’

Our hero of the month was delayed as unbelievably when Belle was well enough to go back outside she was shot again by an air gun. This was a horrific incident that was traumatic for both Belle and her owner. This time the pellet was in a position where it would have caused too much damage to remove so Belle was treated for her symptoms but the pellet was left in. This shouldn’t cause her any long term problems but we will continue to monitor her closely. Fortunately, Belle has again not only survived but her fighting spirit helped her get back to her home faster than expected.

Belle was a hero after the first shooting but she has made an incredible recovery after the second and along the way has gained herself many fans in the staff at Park Issa.

June 2019 - Donald

Our hero of the month for June is Donald. He is a 7-year old pedigree Blue British Shorthair cat and lives with his human mum and dad and his sister Poppy who came from the same litter.

When Donald was around a year old he came in to us with breathing difficulties because of fluid on his chest. Tests on the fluid and chest x-rays showed that the problem was due to a mass in the front of the chest called a Thymic Lymphosarcoma. This was a very serious diagnosis that without immediate chemotherapy treatment would have been fatal.

With the help of Liverpool University a chemotherapy protocol was designed and started. He responded well to the chemotherapy which he stayed on for 3 years being a regular at the practice (and a definite favourite for his laid back personality). After the end of the chemotherapy protocol he unfortunately had a relapse and check x-rays revealed the chest mass had returned. Donald went back onto the Chemo with good results.

Throughout his life he has been a fighter and has suffered with other illnesses that have required treatment but throughout it all he has always been an amazing, much loved visitor to our practice.

His human parents describe him as: “a wonderful little personality, and is regular as clockwork meowing for his food. He is a very docile cat and is happy to be a shadow to his mum or dad; following them around the house”.

Whilst we wish Donald had never had any illness we think he is such a hero for the way he has carried on, always a lovely boy.

May 2019 - Fruitcake

Our Hero of the month for May is Fruitcake, a beautiful cat who has recently been in to the surgery for a Perineal Urethrostomy.

Fruitcake (Fruity to his owner) lives with his son Pudding and Millie (the Labrador). He is described by his owner as “the friendliest cat” who “loves attention and affection”. When Fruitcake and Pudding came to live with their owners, Fruitcake settled in quickly with Pudding taking a bit longer.

Fruitcake’s problems started back in 2015 when he was unfortunately involved in a road traffic accident. Fruitcake suffered injuries to his pelvis and had a lot of damage to his bladder. It was a long journey to recovery as bladder problems can be very serious. The time was described by his owner: “after days, weeks, of anxiety, Fruity battled through and survived. He never goes near the road now”.

After his long recovery, life settled down for Fruitcake, however 3 years after his accident his owners noticed that “Fruity was quieter than normal, sleeping a lot and not playing. At the weekend he was clearly agitated and making a quiet wailing sound while crouching in the corner of the living room”. He was brought in to us again and admitted as he couldn’t urinate due to a blocked bladder.

Once admitted Fruitcake needed a catheter so he could urinate, unfortunately a urinary catheter could not be passed so he had to have general anaesthetic and a catheter was put directly into his bladder. This was kept in for a couple of days to allow tissue swelling to settle and see if Fruitcake could then urinate on his own.

The catheter was removed two days later but unfortunately his urethra still couldn’t be unblocked, because of this it was decided to perform a Perineal Urethrostomy. This is where the penis is removed and an opening higher up is made to urinate out of (making him similar to a girl cat).

He had a blood test showing that all was ok, however he was feeling very down (understandable with such a large operation) so needed lots of TLC, and was hand fed by the nurses.

Fruitcake went downhill towards the weekend with a low temperature, pale, sore and drooling. We decided to scan his abdomen to check on his bladder and also did another blood sample. His abdomen looked fine however his bloods showed that he had anaemia (low red blood cells) and a high white blood cell count, he also had a high heart rate. A diagnosis of Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia was made (his own body was attacking his red blood cells).

Because Fruitcake was deteriorating the different treatment options were discussed with his owner. This was a hard decision as Fruitcake was in a dire situation, it was decided that he would try a treatment of high dose steroids and Pudding was kept on alert in case Fruitcake needed a blood transfusion. The nurses did intensive care with checks on Fruitcake every 2 hours. His owner said of that time: “We had to resign ourselves at that moment to losing him. We needed a few hours to consider the implications of what we were hearing, so we said we would get back when we were ready. During this time we decided together with our youngest son, to do all that was possible to save Fruity even though we knew it may not work”. It was with much relief that he showed slow improvement throughout the day and although not out of the woods yet this did mean that a blood transfusion was not needed at this time. A blood smear was taken and his anaemia was stable and regenerative.

After he started to improve, the steroids were reduced and his bloods were checked daily. These continued to improve and before long Fruitcake had picked up enough to be able to go home on strict rest and medication.

Fruitcake has done so well since his operation and has been in for post op checks. On the latest one he decided to show how well the operation worked by urinating on the examination table!!!

He is an amazing Hero of the month, but it is best to leave this with his owners:

April 2019 - Dave

Our Hero of the month for April is Dave the Doberman. A regular visitor to us here at Park Issa he is always a joy to see when he comes in to be weighed. In July 2017 Dave came in to the practice suffering from a nose bleed and this was the start of a long fight to get better.

Dave’s owner described him as a young dog as “a bit of a handful – boisterous, playful, happy and also very naughty. He has grown into a handsome, healthy dog, admired and loved by everyone who meets him.” It was in July 2017 that Dave came in to the surgery with his owner stating “quite out of the blue he developed a nose bleed. Having no previous experience of nose bleeds in dogs I asked the vet to check him over.”

After being examined by Kim the Vet, Dave was kept in for blood tests and treatment to try and find the cause of the nose bleed. These tests showed that Dave was struggling to clot his blood as his platelet count was dangerously low. It was suspected that he had thrombocytopaenia. Kim referred Dave to the Small Animal Teaching Hospital at Liverpool University as a same day emergency and they conducted more tests that confirmed that Dave was suffering from Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia. This is where Dave’s immune system attacks the clotting factors in his blood.

The Small Animal Teaching Hospital started treatment with steroids. Blood analysis showed that in Dave’s case this was not working so different medications were needed to try to treat Dave, he was running out of options and went through a lot of different medications before the right ones were found. While Dave was receiving the treatment he lost weight and developed a stomach ulcer. Because of this he required a blood transfusion. Unfortunately Dave became very ill as a result of rejecting the blood and needed antihistamines. His owner describes it as “Dave was one of a small percentage of dogs who would reject the blood and as a consequence would become very ill. By way of a miracle he responded to treatment and was stable but poorly”. Dave was able to go home eventually after 18 more days at Leahurst.

Dave started to improve and continued to have check-ups, unfortunately in August 2017 Dave was brought in to us here at Park Issa with vomiting and lethargy, he went back to Liverpool University and had to be readmitted on several occasions due to varying illness including a urine infection and a sore patch on his toe.

The toe turned into another trial for Dave as explained by his owner. “As Dave was completely immune suppressed he was very susceptible to infection. A swollen toe developed overnight, which turned out to be a fungal infection in the joint. A small patch of wet eczema on his back developed into a huge area within 2 days (see picture). Tests at Leahurst showed that the fungal infection had spread to his bloodstream and he was diagnosed with Systemic Aspergillosis in addition to the Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia. The prognosis for dogs with both conditions is very poor. We were warned that if it spread to his brain or lungs nothing could be done. It was a devastating blow.” It was at this time that Dave was also diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Amazingly since December Dave has steadily improved and has gradually been taken off all but one of the many medications that he was been prescribed and after a blood sample (sent all the way to Germany) he has been declared in remission with his good health.

“He is not as lively and playful as he used to be, and sleeps quite a lot. He does enjoy going for his walks and loves to chase rabbits in the field. To see him running at full speed is a joyful sight, but we are careful that he doesn’t over exert himself. We never imagined or dared to think about the future as he has had far too many setbacks, however, we are now allowing ourselves to be cautiously optimistic and hope that will be making the permanent move to Malta with us by the end of this year.

We are eternally grateful for the excellent care Dave has had, and continues to receive from the vets and staff at Park Issa and Leahurst Small Animal Teaching Hospital. Without their quick thinking and immediate treatment we wouldn’t have our lovely Dave. To us he is quite simply ‘Our Hero’.”

We all think Dave has been through so much and he is so brave definitely a worthy ‘Hero of the Month’.

March 2019 - Simba

Our hero of the month for March is Simba, a fantastic black cat that was brought in with a lump on his jaw. Simba is described by his owners as “an incredibly affectionate cat that loves fuss and cuddles”. It was because of his love of cuddles that his owners were able to identify the lump on the underside of his chin on the bone. They made an appointment straight away and he was brought in to see Chris the vet.

Simba was booked in for x-rays which showed that there was a definite change in his mandible (lower jaw bone), a biopsy was taken and sent off to the lab. Unfortunately, when we received the biopsy results they showed that Simba had an aggressive cancer of his mouth. We contacted the specialists at Liverpool Small Animal Teaching Hospital for advice and they recommended that we performed a Hemimandibulectomy. This is where half of the lower jaw bone is removed completely.

When Simba came in for his operation he was described by our orthopaedic surgeon Linda who performed the operation as “an amazingly friendly cat”. The operation was major surgery which meant that Simba would find it difficult to eat and had to have many stitches in his mouth. He had to stay in for four nights and during this time he was fed through a tube.

All of the staff here were amazed by Simba and Linda said “Unfortunately Simba had cancer in his jaw bone and underwent major surgery to remove one side of his lower jaw. All the time he stayed in our hospital he never once tried to bite or scratch us, he always rubbed against our hands. His bravery and determination to survive overwhelmed us. The day after the surgery he lapped up food despite all the stitches in his mouth. A hero of cats, who loves his chin tickled”.

Simba’s owners described his recovery once he had been discharged to go home.

“When we brought Simba home from the Park Issa vet hospital we weren’t sure how he would be but on the first night he was asking for food and when it was bedtime he ran upstairs and insisted on getting under the covers, between us in his usual spot. We both had a few bumps and scrapes from his “cone” under the duvet in the first couple of weeks!

Simba’s sister, Sheba, was not impressed by this strange beast with a cone on its head, and it wasn’t until Simba had had his stitches removed and we could remove the cone that she really came round and started treating him like her brother again.

Simba has always let Duncan know it is time for breakfast, which could be at any point between 4.30am and 7am, by sitting on him and biting his ears. We knew Simba was well on the road to recovery after his operation when he started doing this again, although it still feels odd with less teeth doing the biting.

In the first few days home after Simba’s op we had to give him small and frequent meals as he struggled to eat much at once, and also as he was eating such small amounts if we gave him too much he was sick. Now he is back on normal sized portions and is clearly delighted that he is even allowed cat biscuits and Dreamies.  He is a bit of a messy eater these days and he can find it easier to lick food up rather than pick it up.  That said, we will take a messy eater any day rather than the alternative!

Apart from being a little bit messy with his food the only other real signs of what he has been through are that he drools a little bit now, and sometimes his tongue pokes out a bit to the side where he has had his jawbone removed. He still loves cuddles and fuss and his food, and is extremely playful.  He has always been a terrible hunter but last week Duncan had to intervene when he almost caught a pigeon on our flat roof!!”

Everyone here at Park Issa thinks Simba is a hero and we were all pleased that he has done so well since the op. He hasn’t finished his journey with us but the fact that he has been so friendly even when going through major operations makes him a star in our eyes.

February 2019 - Jinx

We are starting a new feature on our website Hero of the month. Our first hero is Jinx a fantastic dog that was recently brought in with diarrhoea. Although diarrhoea can be a relatively simple symptom this case quickly turned into an unusual and potentially life threatening journey.

Jinx’s owner described their life before her illness to us as “starting every day with cuddles, which quickly turns into a wrestle – usually ending with a paw in my face! She is not shy about letting you know what she wants, which is usually a back scratch, treats or tug of war with her favourite toys…..of which there are many!” which shows the amazing dog Jinx is and also the lovely relationship they have.

Jinx came in to us for diarrheoa and vomiting and the vet kept her in as she was dehydrated. This was not an unusual procedure and many dogs stay in for intravenous fluids and are sent home the next day. She stayed in with us for a few days and some tests were conducted to see why she had diarrhoea. When she was feeling a bit better she went home while we waited for the test results. Unfortunately these came up negative and she returned back to us the same week with bruising on her skin and petechial haemorrhages on her gums. She had also stopped drinking and seemed to be going backwards. More tests were done and she stayed in again.

Jinx was diagnosed with immune mediated thrombocytopenia (this is when the dog’s body starts to attack its own Red blood cells). She was put on more medication to help treat this but sadly she took a turn for the worse and needed a blood transfusion to replace her red blood cells. We placed an appeal on our Facebook page asking for blood donors and were astounded by the response. An amazing dog named Poppy came in and donated blood to Jinx and helped turn around the situation she was in. It is hard to describe how grateful everyone is to all pets that donate blood as it is vital in saving the animals that need the transfusion. We personally would like to thank everybody that offered to help Jinx.

Despite the blood transfusion and careful monitoring, Jinx wasn’t improving as quickly as we would have hoped so it was decided to scan her abdomen to check her liver and spleen. On scan we found an abnormal mass on the spleen. Jinx underwent an exploratory laparotomy the same day and a large splenic mass was found, this was removed and a portion was sent off to an external lab for testing. Jinx has since gone home and is full of life. She comes in for check-ups and is reducing her medications over time. Luckily when the results came back they showed that now the mass has been removed it should not cause any future problems.

We’re sure you’ll agree that Jinx is a Hero having undergone so much in such a short space of time, we were not always sure she would make it but delighted that she has bounced back. We love it when she visits us but the final thought is best left to her owner: “Jinx is a beautiful girl inside and out, she is never far from my side and truly is my best friend. I feel incredibly lucky to have my amazing girl.”