Series charting a week at one of the largest veterinary practices in South Wales. What is the cause of a cat's bad temper? An emergency visit is made to treat a collapsed cow.
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This time on Vets 24/7...
there's an angry Tigger in the practice...
MEOWS AND HISSES
All right. All right. All right.
..vet Becky is called out to a collapsed cow...
Glucose levels would be down, she'd get dehydrated
and she could die at the end of it.
..and find out why Tonka the Bulldog's lost his lust for life.
From Swansea to Neath and the pets that they treat.
This is a week in the life
of one of the largest veterinary practices in South Wales.
This is Vets 24/7.
For over 120 years, St James Veterinary Group in Swansea
has been caring for all creatures, great and small.
This morning, partner Gareth Field has an urgent case.
Come straight through.
Roxy the Staffordshire bull terrier has suddenly stopped walking
and her owners, Babs and Neil, want an explanation.
-Very worried about her cos she seems to be not using her back legs.
-She's only young, isn't she?
-Yeah, she's two.
-And she was a little bit off...
-Today, she can't do anything.
She can't sit up? Good girl. Good girl, Rox.
It's obviously a big worry when they're suddenly paralysed.
-I've been awful upset this morning.
-I can imagine. It's...
-I would be too. It's a worry, isn't it?
-I still am!
-And the front legs seem fine, do they?
-She's not happy with that, obviously not.
I'm just turning her toes over, she should put them back properly.
-But she can't. Things they can get...
They can get something called a slipped disc.
Usually, that's old dogs that happens to.
Otherwise, they can get something called an embolism,
like a blood clot, on the spine.
That can happen in young, healthy dogs. No-one knows why it happens.
I think, really, we probably want to have her in today
to try and find out what's going on with her if we can.
If you haven't heard from me in a couple of hours, just give us a ring.
-All right. OK.
Gareth is going to have to do some detective work
to get to the bottom of Roxy's problem.
There are some nasty things that we really need to try
and rule out today, really.
The next few hours, we'll hopefully have a few more results,
a few more answers. It's a bit of a worry, but we'll see what we can do.
The care of small animals like cats and dogs makes up
80% of the work at the practice.
In the kennels, Tigger the cat has been having treatment
for his long-term waterworks problem.
Because he's been in so much pain, he's not a big fan of vets.
MEOWS AND HISSES
All right. All right. All right.
Sh, sh, sh, sh.
Vet Becky Bradshaw is trying to get him ready to go home...
It's all right, sweetheart.
..and he's given the letters WI a whole new meaning.
WI means watch it, basically.
Some animals, they meow when you stroke their head
and then you can see how quickly they change.
and it's just for safety reasons...
Dogs and cats can strike very quickly.
If you're pre-warned that they can be like that,
you're taking precautions to protect yourself and the animal.
Tigger's owner, Mrs Harris, has arrived to take
her beloved cat home.
There's a good lad.
Go on. In you go.
Don't like it, I know you don't.
Go on. That's a good lad.
He'll be happy to come out of there at home, wouldn't he?
Oh, yes. He hates this thing.
Just monitor him now, the next couple of days, OK?
Keep an eye on his weeing.
-Are you looking forward to getting him home?
I miss him like hell. He's not the friendliest of cats at all,
he can be quite aggressive but...
I miss him when he's not there. I miss being bitten, for God's sake!
-He's good company, isn't he?
-Yes, he is.
I had him from Llys Nini, the RSPCA rescue centre,
but I didn't know what on earth I was getting into then.
He was just a pretty, black cat.
You can't send him back, then, if he doesn't prove to be a lap cat.
He's a little tinker, he really is.
I've always got scratches and bruises
and God knows what.
Just take it as him now. It's just the way he is.
-Bye, now. Bye-bye.
-Bye-bye, Mrs Harris.
There are 17 vets at the practice
and senior partner Dai Roberts has put in over 30 years of service.
Come on, then. Out you come.
At his clinic today, Clara the cat has arrived with her owner, Mike,
for a checkup and a manicure.
-Her appetite now seems good, does it?
-Yeah, it's OK.
It's better than it has been.
I'm more pleased about her breathing more than anything.
It would be a shame if she couldn't hear all the noise she was making!
There you are, little 'un. Let's have a look, then.
-When cats get older, they don't work on the nails so well.
-How old is she?
-14. We've been coming here for 27 years.
Since 1980... Well, 1982, 1983.
So we've known Mr Roberts since he's been quite young.
Some cats know how to deafen vets in the stethoscope.
In particular, she's got a bad thyroid, hasn't she?
We reckon that that bad thyroid
has caused her heart to have problems, so...
There you are, look. Sian will be proud of her.
Old age and a thyroid problem won't be stopping Clara.
And with medication, she is living life to the full.
Roxy the Staffordshire bull terrier has been sedated
and is having an X-ray.
Gareth needs to discover the cause of her paralysed back legs.
These are the ribs. There's no fractures, there's no dislocations.
The little black spaces in between each...
You can see almost like a grey bridge between the two?
It's quite faint, quite subtle,
but that can be signs of spinal arthritis and things
which she's very young for
and something's happened to sort of tip her over the edge
and make her paralysed overnight.
It's a bit of a worry, really.
With Roxy's X-ray inconclusive, a second opinion is of benefit.
Gareth calls on the experience of partner Dai.
Basically, she's a two-year-old Staffie,
absolutely fine, no problem. Came down this morning
and she was off her back legs, so paralysed on her back end.
I'm a little bit concerned there might be some spondylosis.
It's quite marked.
You get the impression there's more than just that.
Somewhere between there and there,
there's probably a disc or something pushing into the spinal canal.
By using an MRI scan, just going down it slowly,
a specialist using that equipment will tell us exactly what's wrong.
It doesn't come cheap, though. Some owners...
You're talking £1,500 to have that done.
There isn't an MRI animal scanner in Wales -
the nearest is in Bristol.
Roxy's owners made the decision to take her there later that day.
The practice never sleeps.
It's staffed 24 hours a day.
And tonight, vet Becky is on call.
It's 2am and Mr and Mrs Rees have arrived
with their prize-winning corgi, Cherry Blossom
who has some rather alarming symptoms.
Put her up on the table. So she noticed a discharge, yes?
-When she looked, first of all, it was green, then pus-y.
For your information, she is Champion Stadwen Cherry Blossom.
She's one of the best bitches in the country.
She's a show bitch.
It doesn't... It's quite a lot of pus, really.
Becky's using an ultrasound scanner
as she suspects that Cherry Blossom has a severe womb infection
It's not a massive pyometra but there is one.
It looks like it's going to be surgery for her.
I'm awful sorry you won't be able to breed from her
-but at least we caught it.
-As long as she's all right.
As long as she's all right, that's the most important.
-We know very well it's a killer.
I'll take you back out to reception now and we'll do a form, OK?
You can say goodbye to her and see her in a few hours.
She is a lovely, lovely girl.
Aren't you, Cherry Blossom?
See you later, OK?
Time is of the essence. A burst pyometra can be fatal.
Becky needs to operate immediately,
so Cherry Blossom is given an anaesthetic.
The longer it's left there, the more dangerous it is.
I've certainly seen dogs die of this condition,
so I think it's really important that when you do see the signs,
they are brought into us as soon as possible.
Hundreds of dogs die from pyometra each year in the UK,
so Becky needs to get to the infection fast.
There we go.
So, I've taken all ovaries out now so, unfortunately,
she won't be any longer able to have puppies, but she'll be alive
and, no doubt, back in the showing world as a healthy dog.
Cherry Blossom now needs to recover from her night-time operation.
And, hopefully, Becky can get a few hours' sleep.
The bread and butter of any vet's practice
is the neutering of pets to stop them breeding.
Come on, Tonks.
Tonka the Bulldog has arrived with his owners Aled and Andrea.
He's going to be neutered today to stop him getting so frisky.
-He's normally a lot more bouncy than this, isn't he?
-I think he knows.
And partner Dai is going to do the dastardly deed.
-So, it's not been an easy decision this one, has it?
But I think it has to be done.
-You've tried to avoid the evil hour, mate, but...
-The time has come.
Oh, he's terrible. Whenever we go anywhere.
I mean, he's brilliant, you can let off the lead
and he's friendly, but he just wants to mount everything.
He's looking so sorry for himself this morning.
-I mean, he's normally quite...
-I'm sure he knows.
-He's normally really bouncy and happy.
-He hasn't moved all morning.
-I'll give you a ring when we've done him.
I'll walk him through, I think.
Come on, fella.
Being so close to the rural Gower Peninsula,
the vets are often called out to care for large animals.
Just five hours after performing
Cherry Blossom's life-saving operation,
vet Becky is at East Pilton Farm.
One of farmer Brian Jones's cows is in trouble
and has collapsed with suspected milk fever.
But she hasn't been bothered since last night?
Well, she's gone down in the night, hasn't she?
-I can't give an answer on that, really.
-OK, that's all right.
This condition can be fatal.
It's due to a lack of calcium, so Becky's injecting a supplement,
directly into the cow's vein for maximum impact.
-Do you want to put it up?
-Yes, put it up and see.
-You got it? Stretch, there's an air bubble in it at the moment.
Calving time is the prime-time this happens,
sort of, just after calving.
It's when their calcium demand is the highest.
-Still going in?
-Yeah, it's going in.
If we weren't to treat cow,
her calcium levels would just fall rock bottom, really.
You know, she's not getting up, she wouldn't eat.
She would... Then, her glucose levels would be down,
she'd get dehydrated and she could die, really, at the end of it.
It's all down to the good observation by the farmer, really, of his cattle.
And just to be on his toes,
when he notices something's not right,
to get attention as soon as possible.
Working with large animals can be a physically demanding job
for any vet.
It's always going to be more of a challenge than if I was,
you know, a guy, I think.
I'm not going to have the strength that they have.
You know, still can do everything technically the same,
just sometimes have to rely on, sort of, farm help, really,
and the farmers to, sort of, give us that extra muscles, really,
in the time of need.
You don't have to be a man or female, it's just,
it's confidence with large animals, isn't it?
-Animals pick up if you're not confident, too.
-Yeah, they do,
-pick up on your nerves.
-If you get stuck in, you're fine.
I don't find any different myself.
-I think she's all right now, isn't she?
After Becky's medical intervention, the cow should make a full recovery.
Back at the practice.
It's time to put an end to Tonka's wandering ways.
Although neutering is a routine procedure,
senior vet Dai has his hands full,
as Bulldogs often have breathing difficulties under anaesthetic.
Sherry's monitoring the respiration.
She's monitoring the heart rate and the oxygen
and I am determined that Tonka doesn't get too deep because that is,
to me, and you, Sherry, isn't it?
What we're trying to avoid here, at the moment.
It's a fast, clean operation.
The vets perform around 50 of these procedures each week.
Do you want me to turn it down?
Yeah, put him down to one and a half, now, cos I really...
I know it sounds a strange thing, but, basically, we want Tonka...
Another two knot, go on.
I want Tonka to, actually, practically walk off the table
cos I want him to come round very quickly.
Well, it'll improve everyone's quality of life
around Tonka, hopefully.
But we shall have to wait and see.
-Yes, you can turn him off.
You see, this is what I was saying about having a good nurse,
they're one step ahead of you on the anaesthetic.
There we are. And that's it.
Mrs Harris has returned to see Gareth with Tigger.
The cat's water works are still getting blocked.
And he now needs major surgery.
-Not doing so well really, is he?
-Not really, no.
-He can't go to the toilet again?
-No, he's having difficulties.
-I think it's best to just deal with it now, once and for.
-See if we can cure it.
So, what we'll do is, the operation that were going to do
is, basically, sort of, amputates his penis, in effect.
-So, sounds horrendous.
-He'll be a bit of a girl now.
He's a bit butch, isn't he? Don't know how he's going to cope.
He'll be looking and wondering where it's gone to.
He will, but he won't get the blockage
and that's the life-threatening one, the blockage.
-So, we'll stop him having that in future.
It's not going to solve the underlying problem,
but we've tried solving the underlying problem
-with diet and drugs and it hasn't worked.
So, I think we're getting to the point, really, where,
if we didn't do the operation,
potentially having to put him to sleep which is not what we want.
-Apart from this problem, he's a very fit cat.
Be a good boy, Tiggy-boo.
Be a good boy for Mum, won't you?
You'll be a better boy, afterwards.
-He'll probably be in couple of days, we'll see how he gets on, OK?
-You're welcome to visit.
-Thanks very much.
-Speak to you later.
It's half an hour since Tonka's operation,
and he's still out for the count,
so Dai's dogsitting.
As you can see...
..having great difficulty breathing through his nose.
If I pull his tongue, he'll chew on it,
so I'm just keeping an eye on him,
just making sure he doesn't go blue or anything like that.
I could go and have a cup of tea if he was another breed of dog,
at the moment.
But not you, mate, is it?
I think it's going to be his revenge on me, today.
I think I'll probably being have my sandwiches here, knowing my luck.
But everything's all right.
You know, he's just... This is what we expected
and we just hope it's going to last five minutes,
not 55 minutes, as it were. But we'll have to wait and find out.
Mrs Thomas will probably tell me he snorts like this
at home all the time, but...
There, good boy.
Mr and Mrs Rees have come to collect champion corgi
Cherry Blossom after her life-saving surgery.
And vet Alex Franklin is on duty to discharge her.
-There we go.
-All right, lovely girl?
She came out the kennel looking a little happier,
-but I think she's a little bit nervous.
-What's the matter?
I'm going to pick her up for you, so I can show you her wounds.
-She's usually quite cheeky.
-So, she's made a lovely job of it.
-She has, yeah.
But, you know, just that area, she will lick and clean, OK?
-And that's absolutely fine.
She's a little bit of a spoilt girl, you know.
Well, she can go home and have lots of TLC. There we are, sweetheart.
There we go.
-Oh. There we go. That's for you. All right, then, Cherry.
-There we go.
As long as she's all right, that's the main thing.
She's a lovely girl and she'll just retire.
She'll be in the house, wandering around, sleeping, drinking, eating.
Paralysed Roxy, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier,
is back from her MRI scan in Bristol.
And Dai and vet Ellie Bowen are examining the results.
This is her spinal cord.
-What you see black here is bone.
What you see white is the spinal cord.
You can just see there that it's more white than normal,
-which is inflamed, I would imagine.
-But the nice thing is you can see the spinal cord isn't squashed.
It's much more of a blood vessel problem rather than a disc problem.
It means the blood supply is temporarily lost
to that area of the spinal cord and that can then cause the dog to be
non-ambulatory, to lose all function in its back legs.
But the good thing is that because it's only a clot,
the blood supply re-routes and they recover very quickly from it.
Roxy will need to stay at the hospital
and have intensive physiotherapy.
-She can't move her legs at the back.
-Give her a kiss.
Roxy has been missed by her owner, Babs,
and grand-daughter, Kayla, too.
So they visit the vets every day to check on her progress.
-She had quite strong pain relief last night.
This morning I looked at her and she wasn't really that painful,
so I've switched her onto something a little bit less sedative.
She's much more comfortable and she's been fine.
She looks a little bit better around the eyes today.
-She's a bit happier in herself.
-Just happy to be back in Wales.
Yes, she is, obviously.
My eyes are watery.
She's been upset. We've all been so upset.
She always has the scraps. She loves the scraps and the pizza.
(Is that nice?) She's enjoying that,
after all the things she's been through in the last week.
That's nice, darling, isn't it? Shall we say goodbye to her now?
There you are, Roxy.
You come out, darling, and I'll put the blanket down at the back for her.
Roxy stayed a week and the vets for treatment
and was then allowed home.
In the operating theatre, Tigger the feisty feline is going to
have his waterworks problems sorted by vet Gareth.
The risk with this operation is if they do get an infection
and the site breaks down, it can be catastrophic, really, fatal.
So I want to do as good a job as I can do
to keep him... Give him the best chance of recovery.
Gareth is hoping the surgery will stop the severe pain
that Tigger has been experiencing.
You've to be quite gentle and delicate
because there are nerves and muscles you don't want to cut...
..in the process of doing all this.
Nurse Shelly is again responsible for monitoring the anaesthetic
throughout the operation.
What I'm doing here is just to see if there's any reflex in his eyes.
By pressing the inside of the eye if there's any blink or reflex
that tells me the sort of depth of anaesthesia.
If he did have a little blink or a little squint,
that will tell me he's quite light in anaesthesia.
But as you can see he hasn't got any reflex at all.
Without this surgery, Tigger's urinary difficulties would continue
and he would probably have to be put to sleep.
There we go. Now we just need to put another little stitch in the bottom.
Basically we've re-feminised him.
Hopefully that will solve his problems.
Is that Mrs Harries?
Yeah, your boy is doing very well, he's doing very good.
Yes, the operation...
I know, we can't really call him your boy any more, can we?
He's doing really well. So far, so good, everything's gone to plan.
Back at East Pilton Farm Farmer Jones' collapsed cow
is now back on her four legs.
As you can see, she's eating, the calf is sucking,
so I think she'll be fine now. Yeah, it's a worry.
She's been out and she was obviously under stress with the calf
so we brought her in and she won't go back out again.
She'll be in until the spring.
Yeah, she... It is a worry.
You've got to watch them twice a day every day, maybe three times a day.
We're happy now because she's a valuable cow
and the calf is valuable, so it's all well and good now.
Tonka has fully recovered from his operation,
but he's being a bit grumpy and refusing to budge.
Come on, then, Tonk. Right, I'll do it this way, I think.
If we can pull you forward, then hopefully you'll launch into mid air.
Hopefully, Mr and Mrs Thomas will now have a less frisky bulldog.
OK, come on in.
He's not going to talk to us ever.
I just hope he'd be able to not be rude when he's on the beach.
He'll never be the same.
-I suspect he's going to run out of here...
-I think so.
..in two minutes' time.
-There you are.
-Thank you very much.
I decided to become a vet when I was 16,
but I can't think of anything else I would have done.
I wanted to do medicine
and then I thought one day, I like animals
and I thought medicine, animals, vet and that was it.
One long pathway which has lasted for many years.
# Happy birthday to you Happy birthday dear... #
Partner Dai is the longest serving member of the team.
Today they're all celebrating. It's his birthday.
It's taken 30 years to get a cake off you lot.
-Is there any special occasion?
-It's your birthday.
Thank you very much.
Since Tigger's operation, Gareth has noticed the cat is a lot happier and friendlier.
Come on, show me you're not nasty, come on.
Good boy, eh?
-Are you surprised by how well Tigger has done?
When he came in he was really aggressive,
he was attacking the owner, let alone us,
whereas now he's not completely there,
but he's looking a lot more happy and content and better than I expected.
You certainly do see changes in cats' and dogs' character
if they'd been in pain, or if they've been ill
and that's why it's important whenever somebody comes in
and they know their pets and they say, "He's changed."
To some people, "Don't be silly, he can't have changed."
But they know their cat and little changes in their personality
can actually mean quite big things sometimes.
And Tigger's owner Mrs Harries is looking forward
to taking her beloved cat home.
There he is.
Who is this?
-Hello, my baby.
Ooh, Tigger Boo. Little Tigger Boo.
'I find it amazing the lengths people go to help their animals
'and treat their animals and it's lovely to be part of that.'
Why we're like that, I don't know.
Until you've got an animal, you'll never understand,
but when you own a cat or a dog or a hamster or a rat,
I think then you understand the pleasure they give you
and you repay that favour they're doing you by treating them as best as you can.
Next time On Vets 24/7,
an emergency operation drags vet Geraint out of bed.
Good morning. I'm probably going to need a hand.
There's no intestine involved but it's very close to being involved.
Ifan has to test a herd of cattle for TB.
Don't inject me now, Ifan.
It'll be a first.
And Ianto, the frisky alpaca, goes under the knife.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
This series follows a week in the life of one of the largest veterinary practices in South Wales. For over 120 years St James Vets have been treating all creatures great and small from their branches in Swansea and Neath. In this episode, can Practice Partner Gareth Field get to the bottom of Tigger the cat's bad temper? Vet Becky is called out to an emergency at a farm on the Gower where a cow has collapsed. And find out why Tonka the bulldog has lost his lust for life.