The Needle is Not the Point!

The needle is not the point

Many people dread needles, and, if they remember nothing else from a visit to the vets with their pet, they will often recall with 20/20 vision the moment the needle went in, if indeed they could bear to look!

Because of this, in the case of vaccination, with the sight of that needle etched on your consciousness, it may be difficult to comprehend that, arguably, this is not the most important part of the vaccination consultation, be it for a new puppy or kitten, or a long lived senior family pet. In order to successfully vaccinate your pet, by which I mean not just getting the vaccine into him/her, but to establish a solid immunity for the required interval, it is vital that a thorough clinical examination be conducted prior to administering the vaccine. Vaccines must only be given to healthy individuals – the consequences of vaccinating unhealthy pets can be dire.

The vaccination health check can also reveal some unexpected clinical conditions, as in the case of Lawrence, a 9 year old Burmese cat.

Lawrence Grimes close up
Last year Lawrence was presented for routine clinical examination and vaccination. Lawrence’s owner had no worries regarding his health. As far as she was concerned he was a perfectly normal, healthy cat.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look as it), the routine health check revealed that he had a large, possibly fluid filled, abdominal lump in the right dorso-cranial area of his abdomen. In addition, only the left kidney was easily palpable. A cystic right kidney, renal abscess or other renal space occupying lesion (SOL) was suspected.

Lawrence was admitted the next day for pre-operative blood tests to establish that his kidney function was noGrimes Lawrence 0002t compromised, general anaesthetic, X-ray and ultrasound. X-rays shows a large ovoid density (outlined) containing a smaller more radiodense object (arrowed). The normal kidney can just be seen overlaying the cranial pole of the large mass. Ultrasound indicated that this was fluid filled (dark on ultrasound images).

A laparotomy was performed, and Lawrence’s right kidney was found to be distended with fluid, with little functional renal tissue left, consequently it was removed. Histology on the removed kidney revealed a renal carcinoma with a small area of calcification as the cause for the renal changes. Chest X-rays taken at the same time Lawrence upload thumbnail
as the kidney ones did not show any evidence of tumour spread, and no secondary tumours were seen in the abdomen at the time of the operation.

We continue to monitor Lawrence’s kidney function using various serum parameters, including a sensitive biomarker known as SDMA (symmetric dimethylarginine) but to date Lawrence remains in good health, functioning well on one kidney.

This is, by any measure, an unusual and extreme example of what we may find in a routine health examination, but illustrates the importance of the regular health check that should go with vaccination. Here at Midsummer Veterinary Group, our Veterinary Surgeons have decades of experience, as do some of our nurses (although you'd never know it to look at them) in spotting abnormalities in apparently health pets, discussing any health concerns you have and establishing a history, if not already known. The vaccination needle is important to maintain immunity in our pets at a protective level, but the real point is the health check that can often lead to the early detection of underlying clinical problems, and their early treatment.

Time...

Time flies

Time is precious

Time and tide wait for no man....

Much has been written about time, more particularly how important it is, and how you never seem to have enough.

That is why here at Midsummer Veterinary Group we think it's important to make the best use of it, and it is the prime reason why we do not operate a policy of open surgeries. Our appointment system is designed to allow us time to properly examine and assess your pet. Our 10 minute slots, which we can double up if necessary, give us ample time to discuss any issues or health concerns that you may have, and carefully consider and formulate any treatment plans. Even something as apparently simple as an annual vaccination can reveal health problems that may need a little time to explain.

There are always occasions when you feel you never have enough time, but we will do all we can not to let your visit to Midsummer Veterinary Group be one of them

Brexit

Brexit


Brexit may affect your pets to! In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, your PETS passport may no longer be valid. Our information from DEFRA indicates that if you plan to travel to the continent next summer, after the 31st March, you will be required to have your pet rabies vaccinated and blood tested not less that 30 days later. In addition you will need to wait a further 3 months after the blood test date (ie 4 months after the vaccination) before you travel. You will need to start this procedure very soon if you plan to travel early next year with your pet, just in case.

About Midsummer Veterinary Group

A small animal veterinary practice in Milton Keynes providing primary and secondary veterinary care for the pets of Milton Keynes

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