Davies solves mystery of Dexter’s sub-lumbar abscess

Davies Veterinary Specialists

Anaesthesia, Diagnostic Imaging, Pet Owners

17th May 2022

A sharp-eyed Radiologist at Davies Veterinary Specialists (Davies) in Hertfordshire identified two migrating grass seeds as the cause of a Spaniel’s sub-lumbar abscess using a combination of CT and ultrasound. The veterinary team performed minimally invasive ultrasound-guided retrieval of the perpetrators and the dog was discharged the following day.

English Springer Spaniel Dexter’s breathing had been laboured, his temperature higher than normal and he had a slight cough. His owner had also noticed a lump on the dog’s flank but a visit to the vet and a course of antibiotics temporarily resolved the problems. Unfortunately, the lump returned, increased in size, and began to discharge purulent fluid, at which point Dexter was referred to Davies for further investigations.

Dexter was given a general anaesthetic and a CT scan of his chest and abdomen revealed a large abscess and draining tract affecting his sub-lumbar muscles. An ultrasound examination of the abscess was then performed by Andy Holdsworth, who is an RCVS and EBVS® Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging and Head of Diagnostic Imaging at Davies, which identified two small foreign bodies.

“We removed two grass seeds via a small skin incision, using ultrasound guidance and a pair of crocodile forceps”, said Andy. “The scan suggested that the seeds had been inhaled and then migrated through Dexter’s lungs to the sub-lumbar muscles on the right side.”

“Given that we were able to identify the grass seeds as the cause of the infection and they were in a suitable location to attempt percutaneous retrieval, we were able to consider this an as alternative option to an extensive exploratory surgery.”

Dexter was prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection, together with anti-inflammatories and painkillers. He was discharged the following day and went on to make a full recovery.

“We were so relieved that Andy and the team at Davies were able to locate the grass seeds and remove them without extensive surgery,” said Dexter’s owner Christine Earthrowl. “We are thrilled that Dexter is back to being his bouncy and playful self again.  We cannot thank you enough.”

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