Our next Pet of the Month 2019 – Willow the Labrador

2 Jul 2019 | Pet of the month

Willow is a much loved, 7 year old, female Labrador who was brought in by her worried owner on the 1st March. Over two to three days they had noticed that her abdomen been slowly getting bigger – they were worried she was putting on weight but then her appetite went and she became quieter than usual – not herself at all. 

Her owners explained “Willow hadn’t been right for a couple of days before we took her to the vet. With her stomach swelling slightly we really did think that she had eaten a sock or something from the rubbish which as a Labrador she has a tendency to do!! We knew she wasn’t right when we took her for a walk on the Friday morning and she just stopped half way down the lane and flat out refused to move any further and seemed very relieved when we turned around – most unlike her.

On ringing the practice, they were able to see her straight away once I had described her symptoms just to make sure she was seen earlier rather than later. We did not realise what a rollercoaster of emotions we were going to go through that day.”  

On clinical examination un-spayed Willow was lethargic and on abdomen palpation it was suspected that there was fluid present. We also most worryingly noticed a thick brown discharge coming out of her vulva.

We took blood tests and ultrasound scans which showed very little as her abdomen cavity was full of free fluid. We decided to drain the fluid to improve visualisation on the scan. A small incision was made under local anaesthetic and approximately 3 litres was drained! After this, an ultra sound scan was repeated to assess all her abdominal organs. The scan showed a mass within the abdomen. Willow’s owners were updated and together we decided to go ahead with the exploratory laparotomy. 

Willow’s owners were so worried “Each time we signed a consent form for a new examination to get to the bottom of what was wrong made us think that we were potentially saying goodbye and it is only at that point that you realise just how much Willow meant to us and how integral to our family she is.”

“Surgery revealed a right ovarian mass” said Abi, Willow’s vet – “the mass was as big as a grapefruit – which was already perforated! Also poor Willow’s uterus was full of pus – pyometra which is commonly caused by hormonal imbalance in un-spayed females. A very worrying situation.”

Her owners continued “The telephone call confirming a cancerous mass was the lowest point of the day but thanks to the fantastic skill of the veterinary team they were able to remove the mass successfully and although there was a 50% risk of peritonitis she had got through the worst and was alive.

When the ovarian mass was successfully removed Willow was also spayed at the same time. Willow suffered early stage of peritonitis due to the perforated mass and the prognosis was extremely worrying. Willows owners thought she wasn’t going to pull through.

Fortunately lovely Willow recovered really well from the surgery and the next morning she was bright, active and very happy. Her appetite soon got back to normal and we decided to send her home with pain relief and two different type of antibiotics. On each post op checks she was doing absolutely brilliantly and her owner also was hugely relieved and happy.

“The level of care Willow received during her time at the practice was fantastic and the support the staff gave us from the vets through to the nurses and reception team was very appreciated.

Willow recovered well through the week and we could see her bouncing back to her original puppy like self. The final check-up when she was given the all clear was a huge relief and we can’t thank everybody enough.

The practice is fantastic and to find out that Willow was awarded the pet of the month award was a lovely surprise. We love her but it was nice to see the impact that she had had on everybody else.”

Many congratulations Willow – who we gather is being extra spoiled at home after her horrible trauma!