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Saved by surgery...

Amber is a very special five year old Springer Spaniel who, until recently, was enjoying a lovely life with her family especially attending weekly agility training sessions. Being a Springer, she loved doing the contacts for those yummy liver cake treats. All that fun stopped last November when Amber had to undergo major surgery for a serious life threatening condition. Thanks to the vets at Summerleaze Veterinary Hospital in Maidenhead, she is now back at training.

Amber's loving owners remembered seeing a small wound on the side of Amber's chest a few weeks earlier and they noticed that she wasn't herself. She had lost her appetite and would occasionally cough out on her walks. They could not have guessed that penetrating wound had caused a large infected mass which had attached itself to her chest wall, diaphragm, lungs and even her heart.

When she was first seen by vets at Summerleaze Veterinary Hospital in Maidenhead, Berks. they was found she had a very high temperature and abnormal lung sounds. Pablo Vila LicVet MRCVS performed x-rays and an ultrasound scan which showed Amber had infected fluid in her chest and an abnormal area of lung tissue. Her owners were advised that the surgery carried many risks and they were relieved to find that all the tests - and the major surgery needed to treat Amber - could all be carried out eventually under one roof at Summerleaze.

On 23 November, Senior Surgeon Samantha Marshall MA vetMB  certSAS MRCVS performed exploratory surgery, opening Amberís chest in a procedure known as a thoracotomy and painstakingly freeing the infected mass from its attachments which included part of the lining of Amberís heart. Sam was then able to remove the mass which, lab tests later confirmed, was caused by a condition called traumatic pleuritis and pericarditis. Throughout this complicated surgery the difficult anaesthetic was closely monitored by Head Nurse Debbie Richardson who had to ventilate Amberís lungs as she could not breathe on her own. The following 24 hours were critical.

Just two days after her surgery, Amber went home in time for Christmas.

The next few weeks saw Amber go from strength to strength and, by springtime, she was able to  restart her agility training with gentle one-on-one sessions.

We were delighted to see Amber's owners at our recent hospital Open Day and to hear that Amber is now back to full fitness and loving doing agility with all her friends at Cranbourne DAC! They even have ambitions of one day getting a rosette or two but, in the meantime, they're just love having fun together!

Well done, Amber!

About Summerleaze
The team at Summerleaze is dedicated to providing the very best of care for all their patients, whether they enjoy agility, other sports or just having a cuddle on the sofa!
With comprehensive facilities to treat all kinds of medical and surgical conditions and with Sam on hand for complex soft tissue and orthopaedic  surgery (including the TTA procedure for cruciate injuries) and in-house acupuncture and physiotherapy, Summerleaze staff always on hand to help. They are  keen to make their facilities and expertise available to owners of sporting dogs who may have injuries in order to get them back to enjoying agility and other activities as quickly and safely as possible.

About the author...
Julie Hutton is an agility enthusiast with a Kelpie and a Collie.

She is currently Clinical Director of Summerleaze Veterinary Hospital.


First published 17 July 2012


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