Brave Pet of the Month…..Daisy!

Daisy KohutDaisy is usually a very cheeky little Shih Tzu. However, she presented at Hollybank as she had been very lethargic and off her food. On exam, she had pale gums, a fast heart rate and very strong pulses. We were concerned that Daisy was showing signs of anaemia; this is a reduction in the number of circulating red blood cells (RBC’s).

We took some blood from Daisy and ran these in our lab. It was evident on Daisy’s blood work that she was anaemic. However, it was also evident that her body was trying to produce new red blood cells. We refer to this as ‘regenerative anaemia’. This is important as it shows Daisy still has the ability to make red blood cells. The possible causes of her anaemia therefore, were loss of RBC’s (internal or external bleeding) or destruction of RBC’s (haemolysis).

Daisy had no evidence of external bleeding and on an abdominal scan had no evidence of internal bleeding either. We were therefore left with destruction of RBC’s. There can be many reasons for why our RBC’s are destroyed. These can include:

  • Parasites: Babesia within RBC’s
  • Damage to RBCs: this is often toxin or drug related, RBC’s travelling through cancerous masses or abnormal tissue can also become damaged
  • Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA); the immune system attacks its own RBC’s. Usually there is an underlying ‘trigger’ to this such as an inflammatory process elsewhere in the body. However, sometimes this ‘trigger’ cannot be found.

Lots of further testing and investigations can be required to help rule in or out some of the above diagnoses. This can include sending blood away for specialists tests and imaging the body to look for associated disease. However, we elected to run a few more tests in our own lab first. We looked at Daisy’s blood under our microscope. We also performed an auto-agglutination test; this is where we place a drop of dilute sodium chloride with a drop of Daisy’s blood and observe how her RBC’s interact.

Under our microscope Daisy’s blood had some characteristics very common to IMHA and she had a positive auto-agglutination test. Although we could not entirely rule out some of the other diagnoses we elected to treat Daisy for this condition.

IMG_3652Treatment  for IMHA is targeted at the immune system; it involves long courses of steroids which act to suppress Daisy’s inappropriate immune response. We started Daisy on a high dose of steroids initially. We then re-examined her every couple of days to ensure she was responding to our treatment. We also took a small blood sample to measure her RBC count.


IMG_3657Daisy responded really well and within the first few weeks her RBC count was back to normal. Due to the nature of IMHA we had to continue this treatment for longer to ensure her RBC count remained stable over the next few weeks.  We also sent some blood to a specialist lab; they looked at it under their microscopes to confirm there were no longer any changes consistent with IMHA.

With all of her visits Daisy soon became very well known by everyone in the practice, always attracting attention and cuddles! She was extremely tolerant and well behaved for her regular blood tests too.

With a normal RBC count and no evidence of active disease in her blood we confirmed that Daisy had entered ‘remission’. The next step was to reduce the steroid dose over time. This must be done slowly and with continued monitoring to ensure there were no signs of ‘relapse’. Our overall aim is to stop the steroids all together, however in some of these cases steroids can be needed ongoing.

After a long process, regular visits every 1-2 weeks and committed owners, Daisy is now back to her normal bouncy self and completely off the steroids! We hope that she stays that way!






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Blakemere Village Countryside Fair 2016



Recently, a few of the Hollybank team spent the morning at Blakemere Village’s annual countryside fair.

Amongst lots of other fun activities there were a number of different dog classes that some of our vets and student nurses took part in judging. Any excuse to play with cute fluffy dogs!



Dog’s with their ‘waggiest tail’ or ‘best trick’ entertained everyone. ‘Golden oldie and ‘cutest puppy’ titles were claimed and even ‘dogs who most look like their owners’ were entered. The ‘best in show’ however went to a beautiful Border Collie.

Winners got a rossette, Hollybank goody bag and a squeaky toy! The ‘Best in show’ also went home with a free annual vaccination voucher-not so much of a treat for the lovely Collie but I’m sure their owner appreciated it.



The weather held out for everyone and by the looks of it everyone had a fun day! With any luck we will be invited back again next year!



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TOXIC News…Summer Toxins Part 2!

IMG_1467During the Summer months we all spend more time outdoors and lead more active lifestyles. This is true for our pets too. However, there can be risks associated with these new activities and encounters. 

Adder Bites; the Adder is the only venemous snake in the UK. They can bite your pet if provoked however they are not normally aggressive. The Adder is a protected species so it should not be caught. Once bitten the venom causes rapid swelling and pain around the bite. Your pet can also show signs of lethargy or collapse. In some cases more severe signs can develop.

BBQ light fluid; the fuel component in this can  be irritant to the skin and eyes causing inflammation and burns. On inhalation or ingestion it can also cause oral ulceration, vomiting and breathing difficulties. 

Bees and wasps; Bee and wasp stings can be painful to your pet. The area around the sting often swells and this can be extensive. Some pets will have an allergic reaction to the sting resulting in collapse and breathing difficulties. If your pet has suffered multiple stings at once they can sometimes become unwell within the next 24 hours.

image5Blue green Algae (Cyanobacteria);  In the Summer there can be a sudden growth of blue-green algae in lakes and ponds. There are different types of algae; some can cause liver damage whilst others can affect the brain causing tremors, paralysis and breathing difficulties. Dogs that swim or play in lakes or ponds are therefore at risk. The signs can be very sudden in onsetn, within a few minutes. If you are aware of the presence of blue green algae or see a sign reporting its presence then please prevent your dog from entering the water.

Jellyfish; Ingestion or licking of a jelly fish can cause a number of issues; vomiting, local swelling, pain, high temperatures and in cases breathing difficulties Also be aware that even dead jellyfish can sting! 

Mouldy food; In the warm weather food can quickly turn mouldy and this process can release toxic substances. Ingestion of such mouldy food can can cause vomiting, tremors, a high body temperature and convulsions.

Seawater; Seawater contains salt (sodium chloride). Excessive ingestion of salt can lead to a high and dangerous sodium concentration in the blood. This can result in thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy. In severe cases there is a risk of convulsions and coma.

If you are concerned your pet has been affected by one of the above then please phone us immediately on 01606 880 890

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