Landmark surgical success at University Veterinary Hospital

August 14 / 142

Dr Amy Pepper, veterinary medicine specialist-in-training, and Louis Osborne, Yorkshire terrier.
Dr Amy Pepper, veterinary medicine specialist-in-training, and Louis Osborne, Yorkshire terrier.

New technology at the University Veterinary Hospital has allowed surgeons to save “Louis” Osborne, a Yorkshire terrier suffering from a collapse of the trachea (windpipe) with minimally invasive surgery.

Dr Amy Pepper, medicine specialist-in-training, said tracheal collapse is a degenerative disease that usually affects older small and toy-breed dogs. 

Louis, however, is only four years old. 

"When Louis presented at the clinic he had severe trouble breathing, a lung infection, he couldn’t eat and was really exhausted and not too far away from a respiratory arrest,” Dr Pepper said.

“A CT scan had confirmed Louis had the worst type of trachea collapse." 

With the guidance of real-time x-rays and a surgical camera inside Louis’ trachea, the veterinarians installed a leading-edge self-expanding Nitinol ‘stent’ to ensure the airway would remain open. 

“Surgical options for this type of collapse are very invasive, with prolonged recoveries and long-term complications, whereas as placing a stent is minimally invasive and requires no surgery,” Dr Pepper said. 

Other treatment options would not have been as successful, and so stenting has enabled the veterinary team to save Louis.

"Louis woke up from the procedure a new dog, able to breath properly for the first time in his life,” Dr Pepper said.

“He ate immediately and then slept extremely well – these dogs are often chronically sleep-deprived due to their severe respiratory obstruction. 

Louis was able to go home the next day.

The surgery team headed by Dr Stewart Ryan worked closely with the diagnostic imaging team, consultant cardiologist Dr Richard Woolley and internal medicine specialist Dr Lauren Lacorcia to enable the surgery. 

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