Braveheart Sox is well thanks to 'fabulous' team
SURVIVING life-threatening conditions has earned a three-year-old pooch the coveted title of a Braveheart award.
The Veterinary Hospital has chosen cocker spaniel Sox for her brave tolerance of treatment during severe illness.
Sox, owned by Nikki and Mary Smith, of Milehouse, had been poorly for about two weeks, was very lethargic and having breathing difficulties.
Nikki, aged 23, a call centre worker for EE, said: "It's been horrible. We thought we were going to lose her (Sox) and were told to expect the worst.
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"She was in intensive care for nine days and we went to visit her and discuss what to do. But she made a miraculous recovery over two days."
Nikki and Mary were very concerned because she was becoming more ill, and as both diagnosis and treatment were proving difficult, she was referred from her own veterinary practice to vet Katie Lenton in The Veterinary Hospital.
Katie examined her and found that she had very noisy lungs, was very pale and was having great difficulty breathing. She immediately admitted her to the hospital for chest X-rays and treatment. The X-rays showed that she had pulmonary oedema and a lot of free fluid in the chest, both of which were life-threatening conditions.
Staff need to make her more comfortable, reduce the pain, and allow her to breathe more easily. This was done by reducing the fluid in the lungs using diuretics and by removing the free fluid in the chest which was compressing the lungs.
Katie inserted a chest drain to drain out and identify the fluid. This turned out to be infected pleural fluid, a condition called pyothorax. Sox was given antibiotic treatment, placed on an intravenous fluid drip and pain relief.
Sox remained in hospital for 10 days with specialist nursing care, mostly by Claire Palmer and Nicola Ackerman and veterinary treatment by Katie.
Her chest was drained continuously and flushed out with up to half a litre of saline on numerous occasions over her eight days in hospital.
She gradually improved as her breathing became easier and firstly began wagging her tail and eating small amounts of food. Her owners brought in some toys which brightened her up considerably.
After a week staff were able to withdraw pain-relieving injections but she still needed antibiotics, although the chest fluid was lessening and becoming clearer.
She had four good days at home but then her breathing worsened slightly so she was hospitalised for another four days to stabilise her before going home again.
This time she gradually improved and when last seen Sox was almost back to her normal self. The large vet bill that had mounted up was met by the owners' pet insurance policy.
"There was a blip but she is a different dog now – bonkers – she has a new lease of life," added Nikki.
"We cannot thank the vets and staff enough; we owe her life to them.
"We rang them three times a day and they didn't mind.
"They were always in touch with us. Katie, her actual vet, was fantastic, fabulous."