29 November 2021

There was a double dose of trouble for our soft tissue team after two border terriers were admitted in quick succession, both suffering from a serious gall bladder complaint.

Morgan and Barney were referred to us here at Willows within two weeks of each other displaying identical symptoms – pain, vomiting, and weight loss.

Our soft tissue expert Will Robinson, an RCVS and European Specialist in small animal surgery managed the cases and confirmed the terriers had been stricken with gall bladder mucocele.

Will explained: “This is a complaint caused by a build-up of sludge and mucous within the gall bladder which then extends into the biliary system.

“It’s a serious condition which needs urgent surgery to remove the gall bladder and re-establish bile flow.

“It’s especially dangerous for border terriers, though, as they can have life-threatening problems after surgery, with the mortality rate at around 30 percent in this breed.

“Cases such as this are often some of the most critical patients we see at Willows but with our specialist-led, team approach we hope to provide a good outcome for lots of these patients.

“We knew we had to be extremely careful and diligent and called on the experiences and expertise of our colleagues from the anaesthesia and critical care teams to plan the operation and the recovery.

“Both dogs were thoroughly assessed before surgery, monitored throughout the operation, and as they recovered postoperatively in our intensive care unit, with specific input from our emergency and critical care specialist, Poppy Gant.

“We are pleased to say both dogs recovered well, despite the risks, and were soon discharged back to their homes.

“The owners say both Morgan and Barney are recovering really well and are back into their normal routines. Barney’s owner even went on to say he seems years younger!

“We wish both of them all the best for the future and hope they enjoy their older years in style.”

Barney’s owner Sarah Stanton, from Stratford Upon Avon, said: “We were very upset and very worried. Barney is our first dog and was my present to my husband, Mark, on his 50th birthday.

“Suddenly, we were being told he was seriously ill, in a lot of pain, and that it was a do or die situation.

“We didn’t know if he’d even survive the operation and even if he did there was the added danger that he would not come through the recovery process.

“We googled Willows and found out it was one of the best small animal hospitals in Europe so that was a real comfort. Will was amazing. He rang us every morning to give us updates and encouragement.

“Thankfully, Barney not only survived, but he’s also now back to his laid-back, easy-going self again and it’s such a joy to have him home. We are so very grateful to Will and Willows.”

Willows offers specialist services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, clinical nutrition, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery, and spinal surgery.