July’s Pet of the Month: Jess

By: Elinor

Hello everyone! Welcome to July’s Pet of the Month and what a month it was for lovely patients. This made picking our winner incredibly difficult, especially given the unprecedented heat wave. However, this month we did have the pleasure of meeting a new patient and her dad who’s story we would love to tell. So, without further ado, welcome to the second ‘Pet of the Month’.

This month we’d like to introduce you to Jess…

Jess came to visit us in June as our last appointment on the Friday with me (vet Elinor). At 10 and a half years old, Jess (who is a Labrador cross) had had almost nothing wrong with for her entire life aside from a little lump on her back left leg. Her previous vets were happy for it to be monitored by her family who did a fantastic job keeping an eye out for any changes. During the week before we saw her at Bright Side, the lump on the back of her leg got a lot bigger and sorer and her dad knew she needed to be seen.

The first time we met her, Jess’ tail did not stop wagging. However, she was clearly very sore on her back left ‘hock’ (the joint on a dog’s leg that points backwards – see image) where her lump that had once been small had grown exponentially. It was now the size of a large cooking apple, ulcerated and very sore. The whole leg was very swollen and twice the size of her other back leg. Unfortunately, the lump had caused a cellulitis – a deep infection of the skin caused by bacteria. After thoroughly clipping the hair off and cleaning the area, we discussed with Jess’ dad the seriousness of the infection. Jess was an incredibly brave patient who did not seem very sore on the leg, but had her family not acted when they did this could have progressed very quickly. We got straight to work removing the hair from around the lump and thoroughly cleaning the area. We also started Jess on a course of two kinds of antibiotic and pain relief as we were worried how deep the infection had managed to get.

Over the next two weeks…

Her family took up the reins keeping the lump as clean as possible with twice daily bathing and the dreaded ‘cone of shame’ for Jess. She was also on oral antibiotics and pain relief to ensure she was comfortable and the infection did not get out of control. By the Monday following her first appointment, the lump had burst open to allow all the infected discharge out and her dad had done a great job cleaning the area ready for vet Kelly to assess.

From this point on, Jess had several visits to us to check how the infection was looking and to add more treatment into the mix. This involved Jess’ family having to add in bandage changes and also applying manuka honey to the area. No easy task on an excitable Labrador!

N.B Manuka honey is a treatment we reach for only in certain circumstances to help heal wounds. In this case, the antibiotics properties were the right fit for Jess. Please do not apply honey to wounds unless instructed by your vet!

After around 3 weeks, Jess’ wound was no bigger than a 5 pence coin. A truly amazing improvement. A big part of Jess’ rapid healing was her family’s care and attention to the wound at home. The bandage changes and cleaning needed to be done several times a day in order to remove any dirty or dead tissue.

We are using Jess’ case to highlight the importance of monitoring lumps and bumps. Although this lump had gone unchanged for many years, one Friday in June everything changed. Please keep an eye on your pet’s lumps and bumps and we would always advise you get anything new checked by a vet.

! Warning! Gruesome pics below!

Pictured below is the healing of Jess’ wound over the 3 weeks we were seeing her…