16 March 2022

A border terrier has undergone lifesaving surgery thanks to a multidisciplinary approach by the specialist-led team here at Willows.

Four-year-old Henry was referred to us after his concerned owners reported his lack of energy and general lethargy, including not even being able to go out for his usual daily walks.

Mark Dunning, head of internal medicine and an RCVS and European Specialist in small animal internal medicine, first saw Henry and found a shunting vessel on an abdominal ultrasound scan which had been performed by our specialist-led imaging team.

Following the discovery, Henry was then seen by Will Robinson, RCVS and European Specialist in small animal surgery, for management of the portosystemic shunt, a condition in which an abnormal blood vessel allows blood to bypass, or shunt, around the liver.

Will said: “A liver shunt occurs when an abnormal connection exists between the portal system, which drains the intestines and some other abdominal organs, and the vena cava or another major vein.

“These conditions can be life-limiting for those dogs affected and, as seen with Henry, can have a severe effect on their day-to-day capabilities.

“Evidence supports that dogs have more of a normal life expectancy with surgical management, compared with medical management, so his owners elected to proceed with surgery.”

Henry was anaesthetised for his surgery by our specialist-led anaesthesia team and taken to theatre, where Will carried out surgery to locate the abnormal vessel which was then closed with a permanent suture.

Will said: “The surgery was successful and Henry recovered well from his procedure. We are pleased to report that he is doing really well at home, is off all medications and his owner’s report he is almost like a puppy again!”