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Room to Breathe: How We Fixed Up Two Frenchies

Stitch (previously Tilly) the French Bulldog arrived at the Home in May with her sister Lily. Sadly the microchip details were out-of-date, and we were unable to get her and her sister home.

During routine vet checks, we noticed both Stitch and Lily were suffering from brachycephalic airway syndrome, a common condition in French Bulldogs caused by the ’squished’ appearance of their face. This condition causes breathing difficulties and other symptoms such as gagging, choking and regulating.

Stitch also had ear infections, diarrhoea, hemivertebrae (spine deformity) and a screw tail with deep tail fold dermatitis. She wasn’t living a very comfortable life.

Our vet team performed a surgery on both Stitch and Lily to open up their nose and airway as much as possible. Stitch also received an ear flush to resolve his ear infection. Both Frenchies recovered well, and with a few minor checks and procedures, Lily was ready for her forever home, and was adopted shortly after. 

Stitch on the other hand required special surgery for her tail. Screw tail, otherwise known as ingrown tail, is a tail malformation found in certain dog breeds, causing inflammation, infection and pain. It requires very tricky surgery to remove the tail. To reduce the risk of complications, specialist surgeon Dr Newman from Sydney Vet Emergency & Specialists kindly performed the surgery from our Strathfield South clinic.

The surgery was a success and Stitch recovered with the help of some TLC in foster car and a special diet that resolved her diarrhoea. She still has a spine deformity, but so far, it isn’t affecting her quality of life, and her new adopter has committed to keeping an eye on her health. 

Bubbles’ Battle with Cat Flu

Five-week-old Bubbles came to us looking like she’d seen better days. She had a case of cat flu and conjunctivitis, with both eyes swollen and inflamed. Cat flu is a common disease in unvaccinated cats, easily spread from one feline friend to another, so it was important we acted quickly.

We administered antibiotic ointment twice a day for seven days, then sent her into medical foster care with Jill. Jill committed to Bubble’s treatment from day one, continuing with her twice daily ointment. Bubbles wasn’t a happy patient and put up a good fight, but the promise of chicken made it worth it every time. Bubbles’ symptoms came and went, so a few rounds of ointment had to be prescribed, but with persistence, her symptoms cleared.

Things were looking up for Bubbles, which is when the diarrhoea started. We did an analysis of her faeces with a microscope and discovered it contained nasty coccidia parasite eggs. With a special diet of Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d and medicated syrup, her diarrhoea resolved in just over a week. 

During her treatment, Bubbles grew into the most beautiful kitten, much bigger and healthier than when she first arrived. Now that she was feeling better, she’d established a grooming routine which made her fur silky soft. Jill couldn’t help but fall for her furry foster, now foster fail. 

Bubbles is now loving life with Jill in her forever home. Over time, she has become more confident and affectionate and has claimed her favourite spots around the house, including the cupboard on top of Jill’s shoes and the space between the heater and the wall. 

Jill told us: “Despite the unpleasantness of the treatment, we feel like it helped to build trust with her and she’s now learnt to love being picked up, especially in the kitchen so she can see what’s going on. She has a very small meow but she’s using it a lot more now, to say hello or to find out where we are, but she saves her loudest and most persistent meows to ask us to come and play. Soon after we officially adopted her, we went away for a few days so we took her to stay with a friend. Since we’ve been back she seems to be calmer and happier and I think it’s because she knows now that this is her home and we are her people.”

Cat flu is a very common disease amongst cats and kittens, but not all of them have a happy ending like Bubbles. If you own a cat, it’s important to keep their vaccinations up to date, and prevent them from interacting with infected cats. This will significantly reduce their chances of contracting and spreading this highly contagious disease.

Fun fact: an easy way to ensure you’re getting a cat who’s been vaccinated is to adopt, don’t shop!

Old Fractures, New Beginning

When the adorable Winston (previously Seattle) arrived at the Home, he seemed like your usual young cat. He was active and playful and enjoyed a good pat, but during his initial exam, our vet team noticed something very unusual. He was sitting with his legs in a strange position, and seemed uncomfortable being touched around his hips and hind limbs. 

To investigate further, our team organised x-rays to examine Winston’s pelvis. The results showed he had old fractures, including complex fractures of his femurs and multiple fractures of his pelvis. Given the nature of the trauma, we suspect he was hit by a car several months earlier and had been walking around in a great deal of pain. 

To provide Winston with a functional, pain-free outcome, surgery was performed to remove his fractured femoral heads. This resulted in a ‘pseudo-joint’, which should provide Winston with reasonable, comfortable function of his limbs long-term.

Winston recovered from his surgery in the comfort of foster care, and within two weeks, was moving around with no signs of pain. 

Shortly after, on 10 August, he found his forever home!

Senior Pet Project: Sumo Finds Sanctuary

Sumo the senior Bull Terrier was in a sorry state when he came into the Home in June. His coat was patchy and speckled with blotches of inflamed skin, his eyes were cloudy and dry and he walked with a limp.

As you can imagine, our team were very concerned for Sumo’s welfare. Veterinary treatment was immediately organised, and Sumo received antibiotics and eye ointment to start him on his journey of  rehabilitation. 

Our dedicated team located Sumo’s owners, but sadly they did not wish to reclaim this senior gentleman. With his owner’s not coming forward Sumo was transferred into the care of the Home where his transformation continued. 

Our vet team discovered Sumo had a wide array of health problems that required immediate attention. 

He had dry eye and conjunctivitis, in addition to entropion in his right eye, which made his eyes dry and irritated and reduced his vision. He had dermatitis and possible allergic skin disease, causing inflammation of the skin. He also suffered mid dental disease, ear infections and a painful joint condition called chronic cruciate ligament disease and secondary arthritis in both his knees. 

Despite all this, we knew with proper treatment and care, Sumo could go on to enjoy his senior years in comfort.

We fixed up Sumo’s ears with antibiotics and performed dental work to reveal a lovely smile. For his dry eye, we administered antibiotic drops, followed by a topical medication to restore tear production. Surgery was then performed to correct his lower lid entropion and stop the hairs on his eyelid from rubbing against his eye.

With a little bit of antibiotics and medicated shampoo, Sumo’s skin started to heal, but his fur didn’t grow back. We suspect this is due to a previous severe mite infection that permanently damaged his hair follicles. His fur may still be a little patchy, but we still think he’s a handsome man!

Unfortunately, we discovered Sumo’s joint conditions were too severe for surgery, so ongoing pain medication was prescribed. This will allow him to enjoy life without pain.

With Sumo’s health concerns under control, it came time to rehome this unique-looking Bull Terrier. We knew given his big medical history and old age, it would take a while for him to find a foster carer or forever home, and the shelter environment can be a very stressful place. As a result, our animal care team organised to place Sumo into the care of a breed-specific rescue, where he could stay until finding his forever home.

NSW Bull Terrier Rescue took Sumo in with open arms and continued with vet checks and ongoing treatment. He settled in really well, and within five weeks has found a wonderful foster family with a view to adopt! Fingers crossed for Sumo!

Thanks to the generous support of our community and those that donate to the Senior Pet Project, we are able to provide seniors like Sumo, who have often been neglected, with the treatment and care they so justly deserve in their twilight years. If you’d like to contribute, you can donate here.

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