Amayah is a gorgeous young Springer Spaniel. She visited our Bethlehem clinic to have grass seeds removed from burrowing between her toes. With that problem sorted she was back 48 hours later – lethargic, third eyelids raised and was off food.
She had an anaesthetic on the first visit so a blood test to check her liver and kidney function was a good idea. However, as I picked her up she was stiff as a board and resembled a saw-horse like stance! A bell went off in my head – could it be tetanus? Although very rare, we see one case every 3-4 years.
Going down the pathway of considering tetanus, it is diagnosed on clinical signs rather any reliable tests and time is of the essence. Over the next 12 hours her ears became raised, a worried furrow between her ears formed, her eyes directed outwards, a sardonic grin as her head and neck muscles tensed and it was nearly impossible to get her to bend her legs or open her mouth!
There is an antidote if caught early enough and as the courier couldn’t deliver until late afternoon, I jumped in my car and raced (within the speed limit!) to Hamilton and returned to get the medication into Amayah ASAP – then it was a waiting game.
After a few days there came the glimmer of hope we had been hoping for. Once she could eat and drink unassisted (without a straw!), we got her home for the expected month long recovery which included raised drinking water, soft food only and physio to get her to bend and stretch her legs.
Six weeks later Amayah is 90-95% recovered but we expect 100% before long. Amayah is one lucky puppy! With her doting family and the VetCare team delighted to save her for them:)