Pet of the Month

November 2019

Todd, 10 year old Huntaway

Todd is an impressive Huntaway dog who had presented to the Ashburton Afterhours Clinic after straining to pass urine for 12 hours, but unable to pass anything. They had run blood tests before sedating him in order to pass a urinary catheter, allowing his bladder to empty before being transferred to Rangiora Vet Centre. 

After arrival, further diagnostics tests were run, including radiographs and an abdominal ultrasound to check the size of his prostate and urinary tract. Entire males can develop prostatic enlargement which can cause urinary retention; however, it was determined that Todd had calculi (often referred to as ‘stones’) in his bladder and inside the urethra. This tube, through which urine is normally passed when the dog urinates, was completely blocked and if left untreated, this condition could potentially become life-threatening.

Todd was provided IV fluid therapy to help flush toxins or waste materials from the body which would be normally be excreted in the urine; in addition to a continuous rate infusion of pain relief medications since he was in a lot of physical discomfort.

He was sedated so that a technique known as retrograde hydro-pulsion could be performed. In this procedure, saline and sterile lubricant are carefully injected up the urethra to dislodge the calculi and flush them back into the bladder.

Sometimes, if the stones are very small, they can be disolved in the bladder by making dietary changes. Larger stones, like Todd's, need to be surgically removed. Unfortunately he had a stone blocking his urethra too, so he was transferred to theatre. Here a urethrostomy was required in order to remove the stones by incising the urethra directly above the stones and then removing them. He was neutered during the surgery to prevent future risk of prostatic enlargement and the potential of complications this could cause.

Todd recovered well after his surgery and has been discharged with an extended course of antibiotics since most bladder calculi in dogs are caused by infection. This will be confirmed by laboratory analysis after a urine sample was sent for culture and sensitivity.

We wish Todd well in the future and look forward to seeing him again for regular check ups at the clinic.

September 2019

Trigger, 3 year old, 86kg+ Great Dane

Trigger arrived late one night to our After Hours service after his owners found him mopping in the garden after tea, with a swollen belly and trying to vomit.

Trigger is a 3 year old Great Dane with a strong personality, luckily for him our super human vet and nurse emergency team managed to examine and Xray Trigger and diagnosed a very serious condition – Gastro-Dilation Volulus. This means that his stomach had distended with gas and rotated, causing blood supply to be cut off. It is very painful and life- threatening.

He weighed over 86kg, so treating Trigger was physically challenging for the team, as well as a fight against time to save him.

The team worked through the night to stabilise him and performed surgery to deflate the stomach and fix it back into its correct position.

He needed intensive care for 5 days afterwards but was very lucky to have been able to get treatment so quickly, that literally saved his life!

What is GDV?


In gastric dilatation-volvulus syndrome, the stomach becomes massively distended with gas and fluid and may rotate around its axis, through 180 to 360 degrees, so that, among other complications, its blood supply is cut off.

It is an intensely painful condition. Unless successfully treated it leads to death within hours. It is a common condition in Great Danes and it has been estimated that 42% develop the condition during and 13% die of it. It appears to be a consequence of selecting for large size and a deep-chested conformation.

Affected dogs may appear depressed, restless or agitated and may show signs of pain, with an arched back; and distended abdomen. There may also be retching, unproductive vomiting, and collapse. If your dog shows any of these signs then it is essential to get them to the vet as an emergency.

At risk breeds for GDV are mainly those with tall, narrow chests. German Shepherd Dogs, Huntaways, standard Poodles, but also Labradors, and especially Great Danes. If you have an at-risk breed for GDV, it is worth considering a prophylactic gastropexy to prevent the stomach twisting. Gastropexy means permanently securing the stomach to something. It requires creating a permanent join between the stomach wall and the inside of the abdominal wall. It can be performed at the same time as neutering. After a gastropexy, a dilation of the stomach can still occur, but the life-threatening twist cannot.

Please remember to ask about prophylactic gastropexy if you have an at-risk dog. Every Great Dane should have a prophylactic gastropexy done. GDV is so common in this breed that not to do so puts them at enormous risk. It’s an easy procedure in the right hands, and could very easily save your dog’s life.

July 2019

Boston, 9 month old British Bulldog.

In February 2019, RVC was delighted to make the acquaintance of “Boston”, an endearing 9 month old British Bulldog who had been born with a cleft palate.  He and his owners were referred to RVC to see about surgery options to correct a rather large hole in his palate.


Cleft palate is a birth defect where the tissues of the roof of the mouth do not fuse together properly, leaving an opening between the mouth and nasal cavity.   Boston had done mighty well to make it to adolescence with such a large defect as animals with cleft palates can develop frequent infections both of the respiratory tract and oral tissues due to debris and food getting trapped. 


Picture of the roof of Boston’s mouth showing his large cleft (hole)

Boston’s surgery was staged into two separate surgeries.  The first procedure involved extracting most of his upper teeth, stitching the extraction sites closed, then allowing the soft tissues to heal.  The second procedure, which occurred about 6 weeks later, involved creating two big overlapping flaps of tissue to close the large hole in the roof of his mouth.  Extracting his teeth in the first procedure allowed for more tissue to be used.  With humans, speech development is a major concern with cleft palate correction, however with dogs and cats the main concern is to create a seal between the oral and nasal cavity to prevent repeated infections. 


Pictured after stage 1:  Boston had most of his top teeth removed, stitches in place

British Bulldogs fall under the breed category of “Brachycephalic” which means they are bred to have shortened faces.  While this makes them endearing in appearance, the shortening of the nose and airway can lead to complications and increased risks under anaesthetic and during the recovery period.  Boston was monitored closely both during and after anaesthetic by our amazing team of nurses and any expected complications were efficiently managed.  It was decided to keep Boston hospitalized for observation, then discharged home once he was eating well and it was considered safe for him to recover at home with his loving family.  


Pictured after stage 2:  removal of most of his top teeth allowed for better closure of the defect.

He returned to the clinic for a post-operative check 10 days later and was given the all-clear to reunite with his special stuffed “buzzy bee” toy which he likes to pretend is his pacifier.  He was also pleased to be given the all clear to eat his crunchy biscuits again after nearly 3 months of soft food!

February 2019

Hamish, a 5 year old West Highland Terrier presented at the clinic in acute respiratory distress after his owners observed him struggling and, recognising the urgency of his symptoms, rushed him immediately to the vet.

On arrival, he was transferred to the hospital where oxygen therapy was commenced while the vet made a quick assessment, prioritising the treatment he would receive. Maintaining an open airway is essential, in addition to placing an intravenous catheter through which any drugs needed could be quickly administered. After obtaining consent form his owners, Hamish was anaesthetised and intubated, where a tube is placed in his trachea (airway) to provide oxygen and isoflurane, an inhalation agent which would produce a state of unconsciousness in Hamish, where he no longer felt any pain or the distress of struggling to breath.

Xrays were taken, which showed an object in his oesophagus (the tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach). Having diagnosed the problem, the veterinarian was then able to remove a large bone that had become lodged and Hamish was allowed to wake up after it was confirmed that he had not suffered any significant injury to the lining of the oesophagus.

He remained in the clinic overnight, under the watchful eye of the medical team who would detect if he had any complications. Luckily, his recovery was uneventful and he returned home the next day to his very relieved owners.

November 2018

Sybil, 2 year old, mixed breed rescue dog 

Unfortunately Sybil ruptured not one, but both of her cruciate’s at the same time.

She came in to see us at the Rangiora clinic to have bilateral cruciate repair of both her knees. Despite how sore Sybil was, she was absolutely delightful to work with, always gentle and loved giving kisses to the nurses during her ice packing in recovery.

During her stay she stole multiple hearts and quickly became a favourite. She was incredibly brave after surgery, wanting to get up and do fun dog things, however due to her surgery, exercise was very restricted, so she just had to settle with giving and receiving cuddles instead.

When Sybil's family picked her up she was delighted to see her furry family members had come along to greet her also.

We wish her all the best in her recovery, and hope she will soon be able to play in the sun with her best friend Elsie.

Pictured right is Sybil convalescing on the lawn under her umbrella, and resting with her best friend Elsie.

September 2018

Casper, 15 year old domestic short hair neutered gentleman!

Casper is a long standing patient of RVC, a real “smoochie” gentleman with a heap of character, who arrives on a harness and lead rather than the usual cat carrier.  Unfortunately he also has a long history of painful inflammation in his gums and around the back of his mouth, a condition known as “stomatitis.”  While the cause of this condition isn't well understood, what we do know is that for some reason the animal's immune system overreacts to the presence of dental plaque causing severe inflammation and pain of the soft tissues of the mouth.  Casper displayed classic symptoms of stomatitis:  drooling, bad breath, poor coat quality as he was reluctant to groom himself,  picky with his food and weight loss. 

The treatment of choice for Casper was full mouth tooth extractions, the purpose of which is to eliminate all plaque-retaining surfaces in the mouth in an effort to relieve inflammation.  Although it may sound extreme to remove all the teeth, studies have shown stomatitis fully resolves in up to 70% of cats, while a small percentage may still need longterm antiinflammatory medication.   Cats have 30 teeth in total so this can be a time-consuming procedure in a cat with full dentition.  Even at 15 years, Casper still had all of his teeth so we elected to stage his dental into 2 procedures, 8 weeks apart to allow him to recover and heal between procedures and also to reduce the amount of time he would spend in one go under anaesthetic.

Dental xrays are an important part of the full mouth extraction procedure to ensure all teeth are fully extracted.  

Once Casper was initially admitted into hospital, pre-anaesthetic bloodwork was run on in-house blood machines to evaluate his kidney and liver function.  In Casper's case, we found early signs of kidney disease,  a very common finding in senior cats.  Animals with kidney disease are often dehydrated since the kidneys do not concentrate urine well and they tend to urinate more than normal.  We opted to delay Casper's procedure for 24 hours in order to start Intravenous fluid therapy both to rehydrate Casper and also to flush through the accumulated kidney enzymes in his bloodstream.  After 24 hours of fluids, a repeat blood test showed Casper responded well to fluid therapy, making him a better candidate for anaesthetic so we were happy to proceed with his dental.

For some cats, the condition can be so painful they need an esophageal feeding tube placed.  This is a tube surgically placed directly into the esophagus through an incision in the side of the neck.  The feeding tube helps to ensure the cat gets adequate nutrition in the post operative period and also makes giving medication much easier.  In Casper's case, however, he didn't need a feeding tube as within two hours of waking up from his second procedure he was ravenous and showed us eating wasn't going to be a problem!   Cats who have had full mouth extractions are generally given soft food for at least a month or two post operatively but eventually can go back to eating biscuits.

Casper's recovery has been uneventful and his owner reports that he is back to his normal happy self and eating well.


We've put together a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding dental procedures. CLICK HERE to read them and learn more about companion animal dentistry at Rangiora Vet Centre.

May 2018

LUCA: Male Dog de Bordeaux, 2 years old

Luca is the most beautiful 2 year old male Dogue de Bordeaux who presented to the clinic with a history of vomiting.
Normally an active happy dog he showed every symptom of being in shock, with a very painful abdomen. Blood tests were run and radiographs taken – together with the symptoms Luca was presenting, the vet team were highly suspicious that he had eaten a foreign body.
Unfortunately, radiographs do not always reveal soft objects, therefore, the vet will interpret what is happening inside the animal by checking the X-ray for gas, faeces, or unusual swellings; while treating symptomatically by administering IV fluid therapy, pain relief and medications to assist the health of the intestinal tract.
If the condition of the animal does not improve, or change, the vet may suggest performing an exploratory laparotomy which involves placing the patient under general anaesthetic and an operation is performed to check the gastro-intestinal tract to determine the cause of the problem.
This is exactly what was recommended for Luca, where it was found that he had eaten baling twine, referred to as a ‘linear foreign body’ because it leads through the gut, not allowing it to function normally and may in fact twist and cause impaired blood supply to the intestine. Luca required part of his intestine to be removed and a tube was placed so that we would be able to feed him, since most dogs will suffer nausea after this type of surgery.
He required intensive care post operatively, managing his fluid requirements, pain relief, feeding and medications to aid his recovery. By the third day he showed signs of improving and the 4th day he was eager to eat and explore the outside garden area, wagging his tail and obviously feeling much more like himself.
After discharge, his progress will be monitored to ensure he remains well and hopefully recovers the weight that he lost as a result of his disorder.

November 2017

MEG: Female Doberman, 8 years old

Meg is a really lovely 8 year-old red Doberman.  She is a client and friend of Kathy (our small animal vet who works largely at our Kaiapoi clinic) and has been since she was 8 weeks old.
In April this year, her vigilant owners were distressed to feel an enlarged lymph node (gland) in her neck.

On examination, she was found to have several enlarged lymph nodes and her spleen felt enlarged, also.  The rest of her examination was normal.

One of the glands in her neck was biopsied and the unfortunate diagnosis of lymphoma was made.

Many of you are unlucky enough to know from first-hand experience that lymphoma is a type of cancer.  However, it often responds well to chemotherapy, even if only for a period of time.  So Meg’s very committed owners consented to further “staging” of her cancer and whatever treatment was best for her.

The biopsy sample was sent to Michigan, USA, for immunohistochemical typing of the tumour.  Meg also had her blood tested, her chest x-rayed and her abdomen scanned with ultrasound.

Using the results from all of these tests, a diagnosis of Stage 4b B-cell lymphoma was made.  She was started on a course of chemo using a protocol developed especially for Meg by an oncology (cancer) referral centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Kathy is delighted to report that Meg has completed her first 15-week course of chemo and has been in remission (no sign of cancer) since 3 days after starting her treatment.

Meg was a little unwell (she had some loss of appetite, nausea and urinary incontinence) for the first 10 days of treatment but she did not require hospitalisation.  Since then Meg has been bright and happy, with a good appetite and no apparent adverse response to her therapy.  In fact, she has gained weight!

There is a small chance (15%) that Meg’s cancer has been cured by this course of treatment and will not recur.  If the lymphoma returns in a few months, Meg will go back onto a maintenance course of chemo and her prognosis will be somewhere between 7 months and 2 years.

Meg’s owners are thrilled that she coped so well with her chemo (most dogs do) and that they should have their much-loved dog with them for some time yet.  Kathy agrees that it has been a very satisfying experience to get Meg through this phase of her treatment and encourages all dog owners to medically insure their pets so that financial considerations do not deny their dogs this chance of fighting their illness.

September 2017

FLUFFY: Male Toy Poodle, 7.5 years old

Fluffy is a 7 ½ year old toy poodle who came to the clinic as a newly diagnosed diabetic. He presented in a ketoacidotic crisis, a life threatening problem that can affect animals with diabetes. His body was not able to produce enough insulin, meaning he was unable to use sugar from his diet and started to use his body fat as a fuel source.

His history was dramatic weight loss over the 2 weeks prior to his visit, as well as vomiting and drinking more water than usual.
Stabilising a diabetic patient can be quite challenging, requiring monitoring blood sugar levels in response to insulin being administered twice a day by injection.

Fluffy’s condition was more challenging than most due to being diagnosed with another medical condition called cushing’s disease, an endocrine disorder where the body produces too much of the hormone responsible for balancing the body’s immune response, as well as helping the body in times of stress.

Fluffy spent some weeks with us at the clinic, with regular visits from his owner who played a big part in his recovery and is now managing Fluffy at home, while continuing to bring Fluffy back to RVC  to ensure his is being well managed.
Fluffy has become a regular here at RVC, it is great to see how happy he is when he arrives with dad for his checkup!

Fluffy, also suffers from hair loss, which is common in cushing’s disease patients, he is pictured above with his dad.

July 2017

MOOSE: Male Labrador, 9 years old

Moose is a 9 year old Labrador who presented to the clinic with a complicated history of tummy upsets over a 2 year period, during which time he had undergone two abdominal surgeries trying to locate the cause of his symptoms. He had been given a guarded prognosis and diagnosed with septic peritonitis, an inflammatory condition of the lining of the abdominal wall due to infection or contamination.

Upon admission, he was examined and further diagnostics including blood tests were performed. After discussion with his owners it was elected to repeat the surgical exploration of his abdomen. During this prolonged operation the entire contents of his abdomen were checked, the procedure made more difficult by the amount of scar tissue following his previous surgeries. This thorough examination eventually revealed a 10cm stick within the small bowel which had perforated the wall of the intestine.

His recovery presented challenges for his medical management, including feeding since he regurgitated after eating. A feeding tube was placed during the initial period to allow him to be given the nutrients he needed to heal. His supportive care included central line placement, IV fluids, antibiotics, epidural catheter for pain relief, wound care and most importantly lots of love.

His family were fantastic during his treatment and the bond between them and Moose was evident. A final hurdle was overcome when a special antibiotic was procured to treat his infection and Moose was finally discharged after nearly 14 days of round the clock care by the day and night teams in the hospital.

June 2017

JACK: Male Huntaway, 5 years old

Jack, a 5 year old Huntaway dog is a favorite at the clinic. A regular visitor, he has had ongoing treatment since first seen in March after going acutely lame while out on the hills with his owner.

Radiographs and examination under sedation showed he had not only ruptured his cruciate ligament but also torn his Gastroc tendon (archilles tendon) on the same leg.

Jack has had a major surgery to repair his leg, which involved having an external fixator fitted. This is a large metal frame to stop him bending his hock to allow it to heal. He has worn this for 3 months.

His Dad has been very involved during his recovery, which in the early days meant helping Jack walk while supporting him in a special harness. Jack has been on a diet to help him drop his weight and his Dad has done a great job in making this happen.

On his last visit, Jack had the external fixator removed and now wears a special brace to provide continued support.

May 2017

MARLEY: Female Maine Coon, 7 years old

Marley is a beautiful 7 year old Maine Coon cat who stayed at the clinic with us for just on 3 weeks. She first presented after having been missing for 2 days, not eating, losing weight, stumbling and laboured breathing. The only history of any possible significance was that she had been involved in a cat fight during the previous month.

Her initial treatment was supportive, with oxygen therapy, IV fluids and pain relief. Diagnostic tests were run, including radiographs, blood tests and a procedure called a thoracentesis – where a needle was introduced into her chest and fluid was withdrawn, allowing her to breathe more easily. A sample was sent to the lab for culture and sensitivity, establishing what was causing the infection, as well as indicating which antibiotics would be effective.

A chest drain was then placed, by which we introduced fluid which was then withdrawn, effectively ‘flushing out’ the infection from her chest cavity. A ‘cocktail’ of antibiotics were also started.

Her recovery was not ‘plain sailing’. She had periods where her temperature became very high and she was not interested in moving around or eating. ‘Flushing’ her chest continued, her breathing was better, but she still needed intensive care. This was not an option for long term treatment, so an ultrasound was performed and after discussion with her dedicated owner, surgery was performed during which a lung was removed.

Her condition gradually improved, the chest drains were removed and she enjoyed eating again and started gaining weight. 20 days after being admitted, she was sent home to be with her delighted owner.

March 2017

SADIE: Female French Bulldog, 18 months old

Sadie, the oh so adorable 18 week old French bulldog was referred to RVC surgeons from her vet in Fairfield, Dunedin. She was born with a hole in her heart, which is called a PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus).

PDA is the failure of a large blood vessel, the ductus arteriosus, to close just after birth. In the fetus, this vessel is normal and allows blood to bypass the lungs since the lungs are not used during development in the uterus. At birth, the vessel should close within hours, directing blood to flow into the newly inflated lungs.

It is a frequently seen congenital defect in dogs, without surgery to close the vessel, the patient may not thrive or grow and may be considered the “runt” of a litter. Most dogs with a PDA will not live past 1 year if a diagnosis is not made.

Sadies loving parents took every step to ensure she was to live a full happy life and surgery was performed by the RVC team.

When she was stable and recovering well, she was returned to her family in Fairfield, and back into the care of their local vet.

Animals that undergo correction of their PDA have good to excellent long term prognosis, Sadie is well on her way to leading a completely normal life after surgery.

January 2017

DUBLIN: Female Weimaraner, 9 years old

Dublin, pictured doing what she does best at the beach, is a 9 year old female weimaraner who visited Rangiora Vet Centre. Despite a decrease in appetite, she was gaining weight, and becoming more lethargic over a period of a couple of weeks.

An urgent ultrasound was performed which revealed a large mass in the spleen. Thankfully the mass had not spread to her other organs.

An exploratory surgery was performed and a huge mass, about the size of a basketball,  weighing 4.5kg was removed. It was a difficult procedure due to the blood vessels involved.

Dublin stayed in hospital for 2 days after her surgery, she was kept comfortable with pain relief and IV fluids. She was then discharged home to be cared for by her family, with strict confinement instructions.

After 2 days of love, care and attention at home, she revisited RVC for a post-op check, by now she was super comfy, bright and happy.

The histology of the ‘mass’ revealed it to be a haematoma, which is a collection of blood outside of blood vessels, rather than a malignancy, which is great news for Dublin and her family, and her future looks bright!

November 2016

COBY: Tabby Domestic Short Hair, 10 months old

Coby was referred to Rangiora Vet Centre by Darfield Vet Clinic as a multiple trauma patient. He had been missing 5 days, eventually returning home dragging his hind limbs.

Radiographs had revealed multiple fractures involving pelvis and left hind leg, as well as limp tail, due to the nature of these injuries the immediate treatment was to provide him constant pain relief, IV fluids to improve hydration and placement of a feeding tube to ensure he received adequate nutrition.

Coby is a much loved pet, normally the smoochiest of cats. His owners, after discussion with the vets, agreed to delay surgery over the weekend so he could be monitored further and we could assess any improvement that may indicate his hind left leg could be saved or would need to be amputated. During this time he began emptying his bladder himself - a good sign for his recovery. Unfortunately his temperature began to rise, so antibiotics were added to his treatment.

Two days later, he was taken to theatre where the surgeon was able to repair the multiple fractures during a prolonged surgery, though his tail was amputated since no movement had been regained.

His care during recovery was intensive, due to the extent of his surgery. IV fluids continued, as well as providing adequate pain relief, nutrition, medication and the personal care given by the staff to ensure he remained as comfortable and “happy” as possible.

A blood transfusion was given on the first day post operation, as a blood test taken indicated this would aid his recovery, by the evening he had begun to eat food on his own, thus his feeding tube was soon unnecessary.

Coby was discharged to the owners 3 days after his surgery, to be followed up by his own vets. A revisit to RVC 6 weeks after the operation showed Coby was healing well. He will require a further 4 weeks of house confinement, but his loving owners have followed advice given by the vets for his continued care, and we hope Coby will eventually resume his normal, happy life.

October 2016

BENTLEY: Miniature Schnauzer, 5 months old

Bentley, now 5 months old, is an adorable miniature schnauzer puppy. He was first presented to the clinic by his owner at just 4 weeks of age. One of a litter of eight, his owner had picked up he was a little dull compared to the other pups. The only abnormal finding on examination was a slightly firm and swollen anus.

Subsequent visits over the coming weeks revealed that Bentley had a malformation of the anal sphincter, which caused constipation and an enlarged bowel. He was initially managed with a bland diet, pain relief and stool softeners, but it became necessary for a more permanent solution.

Bentley’s owners were keen to help him, so he was admitted once a week over the next three weeks to be sedated and a procedure was performed where a ‘balloon catheter’ was placed in the anus which caused progressive enlargement of his narrow sphincter.

During subsequent checks over the following weeks, Bentley continued to do well, behaving like a happy, normal puppy. He will continue to need to be monitored and be given stool softeners, but his owners are committed to this little pup and we will enjoy following his progress in the future.

September 2016

CLEO: Domestic 3 Year Old

Cleo, a 3 year old domestic cat was transferred to RVC from After Hours with a 24 hour history of being lethargic and dull. On examination she was marked Abdominal Pain.

X-rays indicated soft tissue trauma, her owners had suggested she may have been butted by a ram. Initial treatment was pain relief and antibiotics, as her temperature was starting to rise. Blood tests were taken and she was given IV fluids.

Once Cleo was stable, an exploratory abdominal surgery was performed which confirmed significant trauma had occurred, with some tearing of the abdominal muscles, which were repaired. There was also bruising to her lungs, plus she had several broken ribs and had also suffered head trauma. Often after surgery like this, an animal may not feel like eating, so a feeding tube was put in place to ensure she receive her nutritional requirements, which is important to any recovery.

Throughout the following few days and ongoing hospital care, Cleo was still refusing to eat and was very quiet, all her medications and food were fed via the tube. Three days after surgery she started showing signs of improving which continued over the next 2 days.

By day 5 post surgery it was decided she was well enough to go home, under the care of her owners, with the feeding tube still in. Comfortable and happy in her own home and allowed to sleep in the bed with her special friend, 11 year old Amy, Cleo continued to improve.

At her re-visit to RVC a few days later, the feeding tube was able to be removed as she was eating well by herself again, and it was reported she was “happy as!” Another recent re-vist and the sutures have been removed and she is well on the road to a full recovery.

August 2016

COCO: Domestic Short Hair

When Coco first arrived at RVC with extensive bruising over her back and hind end, she was only a little girl of around 6 months old. Due to the crushing nature of her wounds, which are consistent with a dog bite, the skin had started to die off.

Surgery was required to remove the damaged tissue, and close the massive deficit which covered Coco’s back legs and bottom area. Unfortunately her tail had to be removed so the surgeon had enough skin to close the deficit. She doesn’t seem to mind the fact she has no tail now!

Due to the extent of the wound Coco had several surgeries, yet throughout her ordeal and lengthy stay at RVC Coco was the sweetest, cuddliest wee cat. She never complained and was always up for a cuddle. The photo of her asleep in the lime green blanket is when nurse Katie came in to look after her over the weekend and she fell asleep while being cuddled.

Now a number of weeks later Coco is making great progress, she has an extremely dedicated family who obviously think she is as special as we do and is going all out to ensure she recovers fully!

July 2016

JULY 2016 : Harry, Bichon Cross 6.5 years


Harry is a 6&1/2 year old bichon cross. He presented at Rangiora Vet Centre early June after his temporary carer noticed he was a bit lethargic, off his food, having difficulty urinating and appeared a bit hunched.

A urine sample was taken which appeared red in colour and showed  increased white blood cells which indicates an infection, and red blood cells, which shows blood in the urine. An x-ray was taken, this revealed a large calculus (stone) in his bladder.

It was decided that since his owners were away he would go home on an appropriate prescription food (Royal Canin Urinary food) and pain relief medication, with instructions to return for a repeat x-ray in a weeks time, unless he showed any signs of increased discomfort or difficulty.

Harry was readmitted a week later, not really interested in food again and having difficulties urinating, so was placed on intravenous fluids and constant pain medication overnight and prepared for surgery the next day.

Harry underwent an operation called a cystotomy, where the bladder is surgically opened and flushed to remove any stones. He remained in the hospital for two days post op, during which time he was weaned off his intravenous pain relief.

Harry recovered well and was happily eating food the next day, he will remain on a Urinary specific prescription diet for life and his owners will continue to ensure he is drinking well.

June 2016

NATE: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 9.5 years

Nate is the Kaiapoi Clinic’s Weight Loss Super Star!  He presented to the Kaiapoi Clinic late last year showing signs of lameness in one of his front legs.  He was reluctant to run about and was extremely lame on one of his front legs.  Kathy, the vet, prescribed antiinflammatory medication and pain relief and Nate visited RVC for an xray.  This x-ray showed some arthritis in his elbow which was contributing to the pain in his leg.  His parents were advised that in order to reduce the pain he was suffering, Nate needed to lose some weight.

Starting out at a generous 25 kilos, Nate had a body condition score of 9/9, placing him in the extremely obese weight category. Nate’s owners were 110% committed to making a change to his diet and increasing his exercise in order to assist him in achieving a new trim figure!

His diet was changed to Royal Canin Satiety and he was on a measured amount daily.  He was also subject to fortnightly weigh-ins, which has meant he has become a true ladies man and a real favourite of the team at the Kaiapoi Clinic.

With sheer determination from his owners, amazing will power and plenty of good walks, Nate has managed to lose a commendable 4 kilos in the last 4 months.

Nate’s parents are noticing a fantastic change in his energy levels and now struggle to keep up with him on their daily walks!  He is brighter, happier and none the wiser that he is on a weight loss food.  He is pain free and has a different lease on life as a lighter bloke and we think he looks like a bit of a stud muffin! We wish Nate well on the last 3 kilos to his target weight of 18 kilos.

May 2016

TRIGGER: German Shepherd 14 weeks

Trigger is a gorgeous wee German Shepherd pup who was attacked by another dog not long after being adopted at 8 weeks of age. Luckily for him his new family had already “bonded” as his injuries were significant and have required ongoing care and several operations over the past 5 weeks.

He first presented to the clinic shocked, with many bite wounds to both front legs and not able to walk. Radiographs confirmed two fractures to his left leg and scapula, as well as damage to his right leg.

Initial treatment was to stabilise him, treating the shock, providing intravenous fluids, ample pain relief and of course antibiotics due to the huge risk of infection.

Triggers first operation required an external fixator being applied to his left leg once the bones were aligned, so he went home with this in place under the care of his family who have played an enormous role in his recovery. Ongoing physiotherapy at the clinic has been provided and Trigger has since required two further surgeries when the fixator was removed, and an operation to his right leg.

Through all this Trigger is developing into a real character, growing well and much loved by his family, we wish them all well and look forward to following his progress in the future.

April 2016

MURPHY: Labrador 18 months

Our April Pet of the Month is a winner! Murphy McDowell, a very handsome young Labrador, became eligible for a Royal Canin prize draw when his mum, Angela, started feeding him Royal Canin Hypoallergenic food.

His entry into the Great Skin Royal Canin 12 week Food Challenge came as a result of his treatment for ear infections. RVC skin clinician, Lee Williams, ruled out other causes of ear infections and confirmed a diagnosis of underlying allergic skin disease.

A food trial on hypoallergenic was conducted to see if adverse food reaction was the underlying allergic cause. The ear treatment and the food trial were very successful and Murphy's skin/ears have settled completely.

Murphy was selected by Royal Canin as the overall NZ winner of a Year's supply of food, along with the food Murphys family also won a digital camera, which means they can now take awesome photos of their winning lab, Murphy!

March 2016

FINIGAN: Domestic Short Hair age 14 months

Finigan is a 14 month old domestic short hair, who has surely just used up one of his 9 lives!

Finigan presented at RVC having arrived home lame, after being missing for 3 weeks. His worried owners, after exhausting all avenues trying to locate him had just cancelled his pet insurance. Fortunately, after contacting their insurance provider, this was
re-instated with no problems.

Initial blood tests were mostly unremarkable, though an X-Ray revealed he had an unstable fracture in one of his hind legs.

After discussion with his owners, Finigan was commenced on IV fluids, given pain relief and transferred to theatre where his fracture was repaired.

Due to the length of time between injuring his leg and arriving home, the muscles in his leg had contracted, meaning he will require continued physiotherapy at RVC during his convalescence.

His loving family are totally committed to following his discharge recommendations, as a result  the staff at RVC will be able to enjoy regular visits by this lovely, very friendly feline.

February 2016

HUMPHREY: Airedale age 1.3 years

Humphrey a young Airedale, just a few months over a year old, presented to RVC on a Tuesday evening lethargic, quieter in demeanour, yet more vocal than normal and was admitted for blood test, iv fluids and pain relief.

The following morning the RVC small animal team conducted further tests including bloods and x-rays, and administered IV fluids and pain relief.

The x-ray showed large gas dilated loops of bowel, the vet in charge of Humphrey spoke to his family, and it was decided the surgical team would perform an abdominal exploratory. Humphrey was placed under general anaesthetic, his abdomen was opened and the team began exploring to find the cause of the gas dilated loops of bowel. A plastic bread tag was found, however along with removing this, the surgeon also had remove 15cm of damaged small intestine.

Due to him being so unwell, a large amount of free fluid had built up in his abdomen, so a drain was put in place to allow fluid to escape over the next few days, and help speed up his recovery. A feeding tube was also put in place, so he could be fed his nutritional requirements throughout his recovery, until he felt up to eating on his own.

Humphrey was very sick and required round-the-clock attention, so he was transferred to the Christchurch after hours vet clinic for a couple of nights, he was then returned to RVC for on- going care, love, cuddles, and tests for the week.

At the end of the week, we were not completely satisfied with his recovery, so he spent the weekend at the afterhours clinic, again returning to RVC on Monday morning for ongoing care, Humphrey then started showing great progress and was discharged to his family later in the week. He returned the following week for a check up, despite all he had been through, he was still happy to see us and loved our cuddles.

Throughout his treatment and hospital stay Humphrey was very brave, a loving dog who never once got sick of us poking and prodding and all the attention, he was always very happy to see us.

It’s been a long road to recovery for Humphrey, he luckily has amazing care, support and time from his family. The small animal team at RVC loved having Humphrey in the hospital he’s such a gentle big boy and was never phased with his treatment. We wish Humphrey and his family all the best and fingers crossed he doesn’t eat anything he shouldn’t again!

December 2015

DOZER: Staff Labrador Cross age 3.5

Dozer presented to our Kaiapoi clinic vomiting after dinner and not quite himself. He was given anti-nausea and pain relief medication, and instructed to revisit the following day if there was no improvement, for further investigation.

Unfortunately Dozer continued to feel worse during the night and his mum took him to the after hours vet clinic.

Dozer returned to the Rangiora clinic the following morning for further investigation, including blood test, xrays, IV fluids, pain medication and a ultrasound scan.

The scan showed severe pancreatitis with massive inflammation around the pancreas.

This result meant Dozer would be in the hospital for 4 to 5 days on IV fluids with pain relief added, he was on many different types of  medications. A feeding tube was put in place so Dozer could be fed his nutritional requirements throughout his recovery, until he felt up to eating on his own.

Throughout his stay he was very brave and loved his daily cuddles from the RVC team, and visits from his mum.

Dozer has since been on a special low fat diet to help support his pancreas. Its a long road to his recovery, luckily Dozer has amazing care, support and time from his mum, she has done a great job managing him at home.

The small animal team at RVC loved having Dozer in the hospital he’s such a gentle big boy and was never phased with his treatment. We all look forward to him visiting for his follow up appointments.

November 2015


Lottie, this beautiful cat has unfortunately not been herself since the Canterbury Earthquakes a number of years ago. She was steadily becoming more withdrawn and depressed. She had begun to stress lick her legs, to a state of near baldness and began repeatedly urinating on furniture and drapes. Lottie was also preferring to shy away from human interaction and preferred to sleep, or stare vacantly into space.

On a visit to RVC Vicky had a chat with one of the “lovely ladies” on the customer service team about the the Feliway Diffuser product, and made the decision to give it a go!

GREAT DECISION MADE – Just 4 days later Vicky was delighted to report (via our facebook page) that Lottie had made an amazing improvement, with minimal licking, she was now playing with her toys and interacting with the family. After such a short time Lottie was a much happier cat.

Weeks later, Vicky has recently happily reported that Lottie is still doing great and that it is so nice to see her skinny little legs with fur! Although there is occasionally some urine marking, as Lottie lives in a multi cat home, she cannot be singled out for it. Vicky also reported that Lottie is generally a much happier cat, playing, pouncing and purring.

Yay for Lottie!!

October 2015

PATCH: Miniature Fox Terrier age 5

Patch first presented to the clinic after a trip to the after hours vets, he was vomiting occasionally, lethargic and off his food. He had moments of happiness, responsive and wagging his tail, followed by lying down for long periods.

After some nurturing hospital care, where he was monitored and regularly fed small amounts of food to encourage bowel movement he returned home happy and eating really well. However shortly after, he returned with constipation.

After blood tests, xrays, IV fluids, pain relief and ultrasounds a slight thickening of the small intestine showed up, like a slow moving foreign body had passed through. The Vets and Patch’s owners discussed the options, it was decided the next step was to perform an exploratory laparotomy. During surgery a small plastic bottle cap was found in the second part of his small intestine. The cap was removed and a feeding tube was placed so Patch could be fed his nutritional requirements throughout his recovery until he felt up to eating on his own.

His owners remembered an incident with Patch and the bottle cap about three months earlier!

After surgery, Patch very quickly returned to his perky self. He was comfortable, very happy and bouncy, he ate well and had lots of energy, which continued to delight the nursing team, who had been so involved in his care and the ups and downs of the days prior.

Before everyone knew it, Patch the little battler, had his feeding tube removed, he was eating on his own and his loving owners reported at the first Post Op check, that their little patch had lots of energy and was doing well. Fantastic news – Go Patch!!

Patch is very lucky he has dedicated and loving owners which has assisted in his recovery, and although numerous procedures and test were performed on Patch he was always happy to see the small animal staff at RVC and lapped up the cuddles and special treatment from the team.

September 2015

ROBBIE: Labrador age 3

Robbie presented with tummy issues which were causing him to be sick and off his food, after blood tests and a thorough work up the decision was made to take him to surgery to see what was happening inside and take biopsies.

Robbie was in the hospital for a week and had a feeding tube in his nose to keep up his nutrition requirements until he felt like eating.

His owners were very dedicated to his recovery and visited him daily which he loved. He is still on the road to recovery and getting his tummy issues sorted but feeling much better.

The RVC nurses were very fond of him during his stay at the clinic and look forward to his visits and progress reports.

August 2015

RICHIE: Jack Russell age 7

Richie was viciously attacked by dogs who tried to drag him out from under his fence, he sustained severe life threatening injuries to his neck and head exposing his skull. When he was first presented to the clinic his wounds were contaminated, he had lost a lot of blood and was very unstable. Before the team could conduct any surgery on his wounds, intensive stabilisation was required.

Molly, a lovely grey hound, donated much needed blood for a blood transfusion and Richie had several surgeries to debride and close his wounds, as well as extensive bandaging and dressing changes.

The final stage was to put punches of skin from his side into his wound to speed up the healing. He was a super brave wee man throughout all these procedures and never objected to any of the treatments.

The entire small animal team contributed to Richie's recovery from when he was initially stabilised, throughout the surgical procedures and through to the frequent bandage changes. The whole clinic knows him and has followed his progress, he was a regular at morning tea and would always wag his tail for us - such a delightful wee chap.

Richie's wonderful owners were vey committed to his recovery and did a great job managing him at home. While we are all delighted Richie is back home and happy with his devoted family, we do miss seeing him at the clinic regularly.


Enhancing Lives Together