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WillowsVeterinary Centre

& Referral Service

Highlands Road Shirley Solihull

West Midlands B90 4NH

Telephone: 0121 712 7070

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Billy before surgery - the arrow

indicates the benign fatty lump


Billy showing his shaved back

and scar recovering at home

If you have a senior dog, you

may be interested in reading

our series of information

sheets on

Looking after your


- there are lots of useful

tips and information relating

to the different life stages:

Hot Tip

for Summer!

As the weather starts to warm

up it becomes a popular time

for adder bites! The snakes are

present all over the UK, with

the South-East of England

being a particular hot spot.

The adder is the only venomous

snake native to the UK. The adder

has a black-brown zig-zag pattern

and a V or X shaped marking on the

head. They can be confused with the

non-venomous grass snake. One

distinguishing feature is that adders

have a ‘slit like’ pupil whereas grass

snakes have a round shaped pupil

(you will have come pretty close to

see this, of course!).

Adders are actually very timid

and non-aggressive, usually only

biting when they are provoked, and

preferring to stay hidden. For this

reason bites are most common on

the face or limbs.

If you suspect your pet has been

bitten by an adder, you should phone

your vet and arrange to take it to

them immediately. In some cases a

drip or antivenommay be required,

depending on the severity of the bite.

Avoid bites by keeping dogs on

leads during the warmer months in

adder hotspots!

Double trouble for Billy!

Billy was brought to seeWill, one of the primary care clinicians,

as his owners were concerned that he had a large mass behind

his left shoulder which had been slowly getting worse.

This had already been previously diagnosed

as a benign fatty lump known as a lipoma.

Normally these fatty lumps don’t need to be

removed, however due to the location of the

lump, it was felt that removing it gave Billy

a good chance of feeling more comfortable

and would allow him to move more freely.

Will suspected the lump was underneath a

large muscle and as it was a very large mass,

Billy had a CT scan performed to evaluate

whether it could be removed and what would

be the best approach.

Completely by chance the CT scan also

picked up a mass on his spleen which was not

palpable on examination of Billy’s abdomen.

Without evidence that it had bled, there was

a 50:50 chance that it would be benign or

malignant. Sampling techniques can often

be unrewarding when dealing with the spleen

and considering most dogs can cope very well

without a spleen, it was decided that it should

be removed and sent to the lab for analysis.

Billy had both surgeries performed, the first

via his abdomen to remove the spleen and

then he had the large fatty lump removed via

a separate incision. He was kept in overnight

for monitoring and to ensure he had enough

analgesia and subsequently has made a great

recovery. After the laboratory had evaluated

the mass on his spleen, it was confirmed

that it was benign and that surgery should

be curative.This was great news for everyone

– especially Billy, who despite his old age, is

back to feeling more lively these days.

Billy is a great example of how well an old

dog can cope with quite considerable surgical

procedures despite his age and come through

to make a full recovery.