Davies pays tribute to brave dog Elvis

Davies Veterinary Specialists

Internal Medicine

28th September 2022

A vet at Davies Veterinary Specialists (Davies) in Hertfordshire has paid tribute to brave rescue dog Elvis who bounced back to lead a full, active life for four years following successful surgery for heartworm disease. Complications associated with leishmaniosis unfortunately claimed his life last month.

Julien Bazelle, an Internal Medicine Specialist at Davies recalls his ‘little hero’ patient Elvis arriving four years ago as an emergency to Linnaeus-owned Davies with breathing difficulties. He had been adopted three months previously from Spain. Unfortunately, despite negative tests results before adoption, he had tested positive for heartworm disease before being referred.

“On arrival, Elvis was quiet, breathing fast and had slightly raised temperature but still managed to greet us with a tail wag,” remembered Julien.

After stabilisation, Elvis underwent investigations which revealed accumulation of air and small amount of purulent fluid within his chest cavity, compressing his lungs. The gas was coming from an air-filled cavity in his right lung (a bulla). He had chest drains on each side to collect further gas but unfortunately the gas kept being produced.

“The volume of gas was so large that he even experienced an episode of respiratory arrest. The team managed to bring him back,” said Julien. “Given the severe progression, we discussed with the owner that surgery was the only option.”

A Davies surgeon, Carolyn Burton, opened his chest and identified the diseased lung lobe which was leaking gas and it became clear that removing this lung lobe should resolve Elvis’s problem. But this was not the last obstacle for his recovery. At time of placing a suture at the base of the lung lobe, a heartworm got entrapped by the suture. This killed the parasite which released suddenly dangerous toxins in Elvis’s blood stream leading to a sudden allergic reaction. Luckily, the anaesthesia and surgery teams were prepared, and this allergic shock was treated immediately.

Elvis recovered extremely quickly from his surgery and was discharged just two days after the procedure. The suspicion was that the heartworm infection had induced lung changes and the formation of the bulla which led to the gas leaking in his chest. On this basis his health was followed closely both by his own vet and by the cardiology and internal medicine teams at Davies for continued medical treatment of his heartworm disease.

Elvis went on to live a happy and very active life, for four years after his surgery. His owner Jenny Paul updated the Davies team in May 2022: “My Google photos have just reminded me it’s four years since Elvis came home after his big operation, so I thought I would let you know he’s still doing well.

“He’s looking great and we’re doing lots of mantrailing scent work which he’s very clever at. We regularly run canicross up to half marathon distance and do a bit of agility. He’s thoroughly enjoying life and his lung is never a problem.”

“Unfortunately, our little furry hero suffered from another parasitic disease, leishmaniosis, and it is with great sadness that we learnt Elvis passed away in August this year following complications related to this,” said Julien. “He will be remembered as a brave dog who kept enjoying life despite all his health issues, thanks to his dedicated owner. His story shows us all that heartworm disease can be a life-threatening condition but that, with intense care and support, patients can get to live a normal, happy life.”

To find out more about Davies visit www.vetspecialists.co.uk

Linnaeus Veterinary Limited trading as Davies Veterinary Specialists 01582 883950

©2024 Davies Veterinary Specialists