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Mystery solved for Ruby
20 May 2015
Ruby is usually an energetic Springer Spaniel, but recently she lost her zest for life, and her owners became very concerned as she had been vomiting on and off for a few weeks and was producing dark faeces. Her home vets referred Ruby to see Kirsty Roe, one of the medicine Specialists at Willows.
Examination showed that Ruby had very pale gums, and blood tests revealed that she was severely anaemic. Due to Ruby’s clinical symptoms, Kirsty suspected that she was bleeding from the stomach or intestines, but further investigations would be needed to pinpoint the cause of the problem. An ultrasound scan of Ruby’s abdomen was performed by Sally Birch, a Specialist in diagnostic imaging. The scan revealed some thickening of the stomach wall as well as loss of some of its layers. At this point it was very worrying for all involved, as was it was suspected that Ruby may have either ulceration of the stomach, severe inflammation or a possibly even a form of stomach cancer. To find out more, a procedure called endoscopy was performed under general anaesthesia. During endoscopy a flexible camera is passed through the mouth and down into the stomach.
View of the ulcerated area from the endoscopy camera
View from the endoscopy camera showing an area of Intestine
View of the stomach area shown from the endoscopy camera
Endoscopy image of an inflamed area of the stomach
This showed that Ruby had severe ulceration in her stomach and some mild inflammation of the intestine. Biopsies were taken using a special instrument passed down the flexible endoscope, and these samples were sent away to the laboratory.
The results from the biopsies showed that Ruby had severe inflammatory bowel disease rather than cancer, which was a big relief to everyone. Ruby was subsequently hospitalised for a few days and given a life-saving blood transfusion to correct her anaemia. She was also started on medications including iron supplements, as she had low iron levels due to chronic bleeding from the ulcer.
Ruby was sent home to continue her treatment, and came back recently to visit Kirsty for a check up. The great news is that Ruby has improved dramatically, her anaemia has resolved and she is back to her energetic self, running and jumping, and generally enjoying life. Ruby’s illness is ongoing but is being controlled by medication and a special diet, and she is being closely monitored with regular visits to Willows.
To learn more about Ruby’s condition please see our Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Information Sheet.
For further information see our webpage: blood transfusions in dogs, blood donor dog heroes and heroines and the amazing work done by the pet Blood Bank.