This month our Braveheart award goes to the super-cute one-year-old Bubbles, who came into Sandhole at the end of September after being involved in a serious vehicle collision one night. He was rushed in to our out-of-hours partner, Pets Emergency Treatment Service in Maidstone, where radiographs were taken to check his internal organs. A diaphragmatic hernia is always a major risk in a road traffic accident - traumatic injury can tear the muscle layer separating the lungs and heart from the abdominal organs so that the liver, spleen, stomach or intestines enters the thoracic cavity. Fortunately for Bubbles, his diaphragm was found to be intact and he was stabilised overnight before being transferred to Sandhole the following day.
Vet Vicky was very concerned about his face - the left hand side was extremely swollen and Bubbles' head was tilting to the left. He also had a swollen eye and was bleeding from his nose. An extremely gentle examination revealed a very obvious large fracture to his upper hard palate and x-rays identified another small fracture to his zygomatic arch (cheekbone), which explained his swollen eye and tilted head. Whilst the fractured cheekbone could be left to heal naturally, Vicky and the nursing team advised Bubbles' worried owner that they needed to repair the palate fracture urgently.
The surgery went completely to plan, with our Sandhole nurses keeping Bubbles safe and stable under his general anaesthetic. A thorough check of his eyes revealed no other problems - it is vital that any suspected issues with eyes are treated swiftly, as complications can quickly lead to loss of sight.
Monitored closely by the team, we kept Bubbles comfortable at the practice for the rest of the day; keeping his strong pain relief topped up and offering him lots of different tasty morsels in order to encourage him to eat. By the next morning Bubbles was feeling much brighter - lapping up the fuss and affection from the team! Unfortunately, despite showing an obvious desire to eat, his damaged palate made it too uncomfortable. By now Vicky was quite concerned - nutrition plays a very important role in recovery and wound healing and without a balanced diet an animal will not get the vitamins, nutrients and minerals required for a speedy recovery. Under a second general anaesthetic, Vicky placed an oesophagostomy feeding tube in Bubbles' throat, delivering vital nutrition direct into his stomach. Before sending Bubbles home to recuperate with plenty of TLC from his owner, Vicky prescribed a diet designed to be easily passed down the feeding tube, along with strong pain relief and antibiotics. She made sure that his owner was comfortable with the feeding tube regime and advised her to offer lots of tasty treats to encourage Bubbles to begin eating normally again.
Luckily Bubbles was very quickly back to his usual cheeky and wriggly self, although this made tube feeding a lot harder for his poor owner! Fortunately, on his second day at home Bubbles ate a whole pouch of Felix on his own, and so on the fifth day Vicky was able to remove the feeding tube altogether.
We're really pleased to report that Bubbles is now pretty much back to normal, with both fractures healing nicely, thanks in no small part to the skill and dedication of Vicky and the Sandhole nursing team.